Thanks to a connection from Barbara Kimmel with Trust Across America – Trust Around the World, I had an opportunity to work with Curtis C. Verschoor, an author, researcher, speaker and more, on an article about generational changes and the impact on accounting educators. Our article was recently published in the Accounting News Network, and it is entitled: Ethical Attitudes Differ Among Generations: Implications for Accounting Educators.
In working with Curtis on this article, transparency stands out (again) as a very real (and welcomed) trait of our new social and connected world.
Some of the statistics point to how Millennials are active in reporting wrongdoing within organizations. There is a difference in what is viewed as unethical and the difference relates to the use of social media. Millennials are unafraid to connect with others within an industry, customers, and then share company information – good and bad – through social networks.
Millennials also may be more likely to look the other way if it means saving jobs. The purpose and cause orientation of Millennials play a role in this view.
A few highlights from our article in Accounting News Network.
Accountability for wrongful or harmful decisions is almost immediate.
“When trust is betrayed, a multiplier effect arises to quickly determine responsibility and identify people who are accountable. Consequently, repercussions come quickly and, at times, even too quickly. The danger arises that many may make snap judgments without having all relevant information.”
Collaboration is built into the social channels.
“If expertise is needed for a given project, there is likely someone in their social network to engage and provide help. If there is a potential challenge with a boss or a co-worker, it is efficient to get advice from individuals within their social network. Collaboration is an innate attribute of social channels.”
Security of information is a paramount consideration.
“The increasing reliance by organizations on digital means for gathering, analyzing and storing information results in increased risk of loss or theft of data thought to be secure. Legislation has also increased penalties for breaches in security. Accounting students particularly need to focus attention on both physical security and digital security to avoid the risk of considerable financial and reputational losses.”
Presentation methods may need modification.
“Educational programs need to move away from long, formal presentations and move to interactive approaches. Social and scenario-based training fits with the social mindset of Millennials, but need to be defined and delivered in shorter, more frequent clips. To make points more relevant, real-life scenarios should replace longer case studies and place the Millennial in the middle of the scenario as it unfolds, showing the impact of the decisions made.”
Generational shifts always occur.
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“Millennials have solid perspectives on the role of trust and social good. With added efforts in how educators approach ethical standards and discussions, there is a great opportunity to raise the level of conduct and trust as this new generation continues to enter the workplace.” Accounting News Network, Winter 2014
The transition from generation to generation always creates change and an opportunity to enhance the way we learn and embrace trust and ethics.
Through the decades, the speed to accountability increases as news travels quickly and to many more places than before. Transparency is a reality. Educators and leaders need to embrace how this reality impacts the classroom and workplace.
This is all good news, especially since much of the change is wrapped in a strong desire to improve society.
Are you ready to embrace the new world of trust and transparency?
Join the Conversation
A Generational Shift in Teaching Accounting and Ethics
This is a great article, Jon.
There are so many shifts going on that are identified here, and several of them really resonate. “Using Social Channels for Collaboration” is an important one, and I believe that everyone needs to get on that bandwagon. It’s an effective tool that is here to stay.
The other one is “Presentation methods may need modification.” I’ve thought this for years! I’m so tired of long presentations and long case studies…I have a short attention span and limited time – just get to the point! This is a trend long overdue and we will all benefit from folks giving presentations that are are specific and pithy.
Agree, LaRae. Presentations are so 80s! We need to mix up the way we deliver content and determine ways to foster conversations as well as critical thinking. It is time! Thanks. Jon
Jon, I’ve been amazed at the power of social channels to build collaborative relationships. It’s exciting to see that it’s not just millenials who can embrace that. Terrific post.
Thanks, Karin. Social channels can be leveraged for much more and people across generations are beginning to do this more. Thanks! Jon
Reflecting on a lot of what you wrote, Jon. Today, two are sticking with me. Social channels for collaboration… There is definitely a difference between posting a thought and walking away and using social channels to engage, brainstorm and discuss ideas and challenges. I wish that all generations would engage on social more in this way!
The other one is with respect to training and presentations. Years ago I worked on live business simulations that put the learner in the middle of the scenario. They were on their feet, no reset button, and their decisions had implications. More importantly, there was not one right way to be… it allowed each individuals to be who they were within the simulation. I wonder if on-line gamification and business simulation allows the same level of instant learning and engagement as real-life interactions. Food for thought!
Appreciate your insights and experiences, Alli. I agree completely on both fronts. Turning social channels into collaborative initiatives is a huge opportunity. This will definitely continue to unfold in a positive way.
On the education front, scenario-based training is essential. This allows future generations to experience the cause-effect of decisions, a very valuable element in many situations.
Thanks again for your thoughts. Great additions! Jon