James Wakefield is a Senior Lecturer at the UTS Business School in the Accounting Discipline Group. He researches in two areas, accounting education and management accounting. James’ accounting education research focuses on the application of technologies to improve student engagement and learning outcomes in introductory accounting. In particular he investigates the implications of technologies including synchronised lecture slides with integrated quizzes, social media, student screencasting, online peer review forums and tablet computing enabled annotation and sharing technologies. James’ research accounting education research is the subject of a number of publications in accounting and education journals. The use of tablet computing enabled annotation and sharing technologies is the subject of a paper titled "The impact of an iPad-supported annotation and sharing technology on university students' learning”, published in Computers & Education in 2018 and earlier receiving the best paper award (accounting education stream) at the 2016 AFAANZ conference.
James’ management accounting research focuses on the control and performance of international operations, the use of rolling budgets and the implications of social media exposure on incentive systems. His paper titled “An investigation of wholly-owned foreign subsidiary control through transaction cost economics theory” was published in Accounting & Finance in 2016 and earlier received the best paper award (management accounting stream) at the 2012 AFAANZ conference. His emerging work examines of social media in the workplace and the role of incentive systems in this context and is funded by an AFAANZ Research Grant and UTS Business School Research Grant.
James teaches and coordinates undergraduate introductory accounting and also teaches postgraduate management control systems. James was awarded the 2017 UTS Learning and Teaching Award for Individual Teaching for "a sustained approach to enhancing student engagement and performance in introductory accounting and beyond". He, as part of the introductory accounting team, has also been awarded an OLT Group Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, the UTS Learning and Teaching Group Award, Accounting Discipline Group Teaching Prize and grant funding for the application of new technologies to improve student engagement and learning.
James has been a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford (Saïd Business School), Monash University (Department of Accounting), University of Southern California (Leventhal School of Accounting) and Luiss University Rome. James completed the International Teachers Programme (ITP) in 2017.
Prior to joining UTS James worked in auditing at a big four accounting firm and at a large multinational retailer in stock administration.
Can supervise: YES
International operations; management control systems; organisational performance; accounting education.
Introductory accounting; management accounting; management control systems.
© 2017 AFAANZ. While educational technologies can play a vital role in students' active participation in introductory accounting subjects, learning outcome implications are less clear. We believe this is the first accounting education study examining the implications of student-generated screencast assignments. We find benefits in developing the graduate attributes of communication, creativity and multimedia skills, consistent with calls by the profession. Additionally, we find improvement in final examination performance related to the assignment topic, notably in lower performing students. The screencast assignment was optional, and the findings suggest a tailored approach to assignment design related to students' developmental needs is appropriate.
Wakefield, J, Frawley, JK, Tyler, J & Dyson, LE 2018, 'The impact of an iPad-supported annotation and sharing technology on university students' learning', Computers and Education, vol. 122, pp. 243-259.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd iPads, or more generally tablet computers, have received rapid and widespread uptake across higher education. Despite this, there is limited evidence of how their use affects student learning within this context. This study focuses on the use of a tablet by the instructor to support the annotation and in-class sharing of students' work to create a collaborative learning environment within a first year undergraduate subject. This paper reports the results of an empirical study looking at the effect this tablet technology has on student performance using a sample of 741 first-year accounting students. The study uses data from enrolment and attendance records, end of semester examination results and student perceptions from a survey. Results indicate that class sharing of the instructor's and students' annotation of homework through the use of a tablet is associated with an improvement in student performance on procedural or equation-based questions as well as increased student engagement. However, contrary to expectations, the introduction of in class annotations was associated with a decline in student performance on theoretical, extended response questions. The authors argue that affordances of the tablet, when used in a student-centred way, can introduce a bias towards some kinds of interactions over others. This large-scale study of in-class tablet use suggests that though the tablets may be positively associated with student engagement and satisfaction, caution must be exercised in how the use by the instructor affects the classroom environment and what students learn. These findings have particular relevance to university learning contexts with equation-centric subjects such as those in Business and STEM.
Giacobbe, F, Matolcsy, Z & Wakefield, J 2016, 'An investigation of wholly-owned foreign subsidiary control through transaction cost economics theory', Accounting and Finance, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 1041-1070.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper investigates the management control systems used by multinational corporation headquarters to control wholly-owned foreign subsidiaries. Our theory development is based on transaction cost economics. First, we conduct a series of exploratory interviews, providing an insight into the context, and second, we provide empirical evidence based on cross-sectional survey data. Our results indicate that activity traits (uncertainty, asset specificity and post hoc information impactedness) have significant implications on control choices, in particular the control archetype combinations chosen by headquarters, although not all results are consistent with theory predictions. Our findings are supported by extensive alternative testing.
Sudhakar, A, Tyler, J & Wakefield, J 2016, 'Enhancing Student Experience and Performance through Peer-Assisted Learning', Issues in Accounting Education, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 321-336.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This study examines the effectiveness of an online peer review forum (forum). The study allows comparisons to be made between different forum scenarios. The forum was introduced, over a series of semesters, in a first-year accounting screencast assignment: from no forum, to an optional forum, to a compulsory forum. Students indicated that the compulsory forum, underpinned by more structured guidelines for providing feedback, was more beneficial in facilitating improvement in their assignment quality and learning outcomes. We observed improved student performance where a forum was made available. This result is stronger where the use of the forum was optional relative to where it was compulsory. We surmise that this was caused by a higher proportion of exemplar screencasts being posted by more motivated and confident students in the optional forum, creating higher perceived expectations across the total student population. Our findings suggest that more structured feedback through the forum does not necessarily lead to higher performance, even though students value more structured constructive and critical comments as part of their learning experience. These findings highlight the importance of carefully considering forum design and assessment guidelines when embarking on peer review learning initiatives.
Peters, M, Wieder, B, Sutton, S & Wakefield, J 2016, 'Business intelligence systems use in performance measurement capabilities: Implications for enhanced competitive advantage', International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, vol. 21, pp. 1-17.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The purpose of this study is to better understand how the quality of a Business Intelligence (BI) system improves the diagnostic and interactive dimensions of management control systems (MCS), thereby enhancing performance measurement capabilities, which in turn are positively associated with competitive advantage. Integrating theory from performance measurement, organizational learning and the knowledge-based view of the firm, a theoretical model is developed that considers three concepts of BI quality (infrastructure integration, functionality, and self-service) and the roles they play in enhancing diagnostic and interactive performance measurement capabilities. Data collected via survey from 324 CEOs and CFOs provides support for the theorized effects of BI quality on performance measurement capabilities. These capabilities in turn are positively associated with competitive advantage.
Frawley, JK, Dyson, LE, Wakefield, JA & Tyler, JV 2016, 'Supporting graduate attribute development in introductory accounting with student-generated screencasts', International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 65-82.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In recent years educational, industry and government bodies have placed increasing emphasis on the
need to better support the development of 'soft' skills or graduate attributes within higher education.
This paper details the adoption of a student-generated multimedia screencast assignment that was
found to address this need. Implemented within a large introductory accounting subject, this optional
assignment allowed undergraduate students to design, develop and record a screencast so as to explain
a key accounting concept to their peers. This paper reports on the trial, evaluation and redesign of this
assignment. Drawing on data from student surveys, practitioner reflections and descriptive analysis of
the screencasts themselves, this paper demonstrates the ways that the assignment contributed to the
development and expression of a number of graduate attributes. These included the students' skills
in multimedia, creativity, teamwork and self-directed learning. Adopting free-to-use software and
providing a fun and different way of learning accounting, this novel approach constitutes a sustainable
and readily replicable way of supporting graduate attribute development. This paper contributes
understandings that will be relevant to both researchers and practitioners.
Dyson, LE, Frawley, JK, Tyler, J & Wakefield, J 2014, 'Facilitating Enhanced Learning in Tutorials through Tablet Computing Enabled Sharing and Annotation Technologies', Transactions on Mobile Learning, vol. 3, pp. 22-26.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The purpose of this study is report on a trial of tablet computing enabled sharing and annotation technologies in an Introductory Accounting subject. These technologies allow student homework to be photographed using a tablet computer (iPad in our study), shown to the class instantaneously through a data projector and annotated live by the tutor, along with student participation, using the tablet computer. These technologies are intended to address calls for more student–centred approaches to learning, moving away from the didactic approach that dominates much of accounting
education. Two focus group sessions were conducted to explore the effectiveness of the technologies, with the first group from a class where the tutor used the iPad and the second from a class where
there was no iPad use. The findings from the focus groups suggest that in the class where the iPad
was used, there was a far greater ability to focus on the questions and problems students were facing,
a lot more material could be covered, student felt more comfortable participating because they could
see their fellow students faced similar challenges and they were far more likely to complete
homework prior to class. Overall this indicates there were significant benefits for students.
Giacobbe, F & Wakefield, J 2010, 'Corporate Embeddedness and Control Choices'.
Sundin, HJ, Brown, DA, Wakefield, JA & Ranganathan, J 2009, 'Management control systems in a non-enterprise network: The greenhouse gas protocol initiative', Australian Accounting Review, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 93-102.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
A study explores the use of management control systems in a unique multi-stakeholder collaborative network, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative (GHGPI). The primary objective of the GHGPI was to harmonise greenhouse gas accounting practices through the development of one international standard. The central problems in the collaboration were the multiple differing stakeholder ideologies and the practical challenges of a geographically dispersed network being able to work together. To overcome these problems, MCS were designed around socio-ideological, planning and administrative controls. The GHGPI faced the problems of the collaboration not having a financial or profit objective, high levels of uncertainty about outcomes, conflicting stakeholder ideologies, and the practical issue of enabling a geographically dispersed network to work together. Collaborations are becoming popular forms of organising people and resources because they enable multiple stakeholders to be involved in projects. Despite the benefits, however, the issue of conflicting stakeholders' views may arise (Cleland 1986; Jugdev and Müller 2005) and put the achievement of project outcomes at risk. The case of the GHGPI provides insights into the management of such challenges, because it was such a large and ultimately successful multistakeholder collaboration. The insight from the analysis of the GHGPI can be applied not only to accounting standard developments, but more broadly to various other forms of collaboration
Wakefield, J & Frawley, J 2018, 'What impact does social media disruption have on introductory accounting student performance?', European Accounting Association Annual Congress, Milan, Italy.
Bhimani, A, Sivabalan, P, Soonawalla, K & Wakefield, J 2016, 'Beyond Budgeting adoption challenges - an analysis of operating and strategic tensions through the rolling budget', Monforma Conference, Sofitel, Melbourne.
Dyson, LE, Frawley, JK, Tyler, J & Wakefield, J 2015, 'Introducing an iPad Innovation into Accounting Tutorials', Communications in Computer and Information Science, World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning, Springer, Venice, Italy, pp. 217-228.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This study reports on the second phase of a trial to change tutorials in an Introductory Accounting subject into more interactive, student-centred learning experiences using an iPad combined with sharing and annotation technology. The technology allows student homework to be photographed, shown to the class instantaneously through a data projector and annotated live by the tutor using the iPad, with student input. The innovation addresses calls from the Accounting Profession for educational approaches which use technology in imaginative ways to engage students and shift from the didactic paradigm that has dominated so much of accounting education in the past. The approach has the advantage that only one iPad is required per class and is used in conjunction with free software: it is thus cost effective and scalable to the large numbers of students enrolled in the subject. The trial reported in this paper involved two classes conducted with the iPads and two traditional classes without. Evaluation comprised observations of the four classes and a survey of the students regarding their experiences in the tutorials. The results revealed that the use of the technology did not of itself transform the classes into interactive, student-centred events: the teaching style of the tutor to a large extent determined how the iPads were used and how much interaction occurred. However, students in classes with the iPads were mostly enthusiastic about their use, even if the results of the survey generally failed to show statistically significant differences between the classes with iPads and those without.
Frawley, JK, Dyson, LE, Tyler, J & Wakefield, J 2015, 'Building Graduate Attributes using Student-Generated Screencasts', Proceedings of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education Conference (ASCILITE2015), Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, ASCILITE, Perth, Australia, pp. 100-111.
Giacobbe, F., Matolcsy, Z.P. & Wakefield, J.A. 2013, 'Some evidence on management control system choices based on a transaction cost theory approach', British Accounting and Finance Association Annual Conference 2013, British Accounting and Finance Association, Newcastle, UK.
Matolcsy, Z.P., Giacobbe, F. & Wakefield, J.A. 2013, 'Some evidence on management control system choices based on a transaction cost theory approach', EAA 2013 36th Annual Congress, European Accounting Association, Paris, France.
Wakefield, J.A. & Giacobbe, F. 2012, 'Control of wholly owned foreign subsidiaries: A transaction cost economics approach', British Accounting and Finance Association Annual Conference 2012, British Accounting and Finance Association, Brighton, United Kingdom.
Giacobbe, F., Matolcsy, Z.P. & Wakefield, J.A. 2012, 'Control of wholly owned foreign subsidiaries: An integrated approach', AFAANZ Conference, AFAANZ, Melbourne, Australia.
Wakefield, JA, Frawley, JK, Dyson, LE, Tyler, JV & Litchfield, AJ 2011, 'Increasing Student Engagement and Performance in Introductory Accounting through Student-Generated Screencasts', AFAANZ Conference, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, AFAANZ, Darwin, Australia, pp. 1-27.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The paper reports the findings of a trial of student generated screencasts in an introductory accounting subject. This paper examines the effect of this screencast project on student engagement and performance. The effect on student engagement is examined using data from a pre and post screencast project student survey and performance effects examined by analysing the performance of students completing and not completing the project. The results of the study suggest the screencast project facilitated higher student engagement and performance. These findings have important implications for integrating technologies such as screencasting to facilitate enhanced learning outcomes in introductory accounting subjects.
Wakefield, J.A., Giacobbe, F. & Booth, P.J. 2010, 'Challenges and controls associated with establishing a wholly owned foreign subsidiary in a transition economy', British Accounting Association Annual Conference 2010, British Accounting Association Annual Conference 2010, British Accounting Association (BAA), Cardiff City Hall.
Giacobbe, F., Wakefield, J.A. & Booth, P.J. 2010, 'Challenges and controls associated with establishing a wholly owned foreign subsidiary in a transition economy', 33rd Annual Congress European Accounting Association Programme, European Accounting Association (EAA), Istanbul, Turkey.
Booth, P.J., Giacobbe, F. & Wakefield, J.A. 2009, 'Controlling newly established foreign subsidiaries in transition economies', 2009 AFAANZ Conference Website, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, AFAANZ, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 1-29.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper invest igates the management control system choices exercised by a multinational corporation headquarters to control a newly established wholly owned foreign subsidiary located in a t ransition economy. Specifically t his paper aims to identif y what the core ch allenges of establishing and operating subsidiaries in transition economies are and how these are addressed t hrough the mult inational headquarters' management control systems. A case study is conducted of an Eastern European based subsidiary owned and controlled by a multinational corporation origi nating from South-East Asia. The challenges of operating the subsidiary in the transition economy are reported, which primarily ent ail cultu ral differences, lack of experience, lack of external integration and recruitment issues. Preliminary f indings indicate that the management control system primarily util ises personnel and results controls, which appear to address operational and management challenges.
Wakefield, J.A. & Giacobbe, F. 2008, 'The implications of motive divergence on international joint venture management control systems and performance', 2008 AFAANZ/IAAER Conference website papers, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, AFAANZ, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-30.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
International Joint Ventures (IJVs) are increasingly regarded as an important means of international expansion. A large body of literature has investigated the key characteristics of IJVs, however most of the research has been exploratory rather than confirmatory. This paper has developed a model to investigate (i) the effect of parent partner motive divergence and parent partner resource contributions to IJVs on parent partner management control systems (MCS) choices, (ii) the impact of parent partner resource contributions to IJVs on parent partner motive divergence and (iii) the impact of parent partner motive divergence and parent partner management control system choices on IJV performance. The data for this paper was gathered from a cross sectional survey questionnaire which collected data from Australian based parent partners of IJVs operating abroad. The results provide confirmatory evidence that motive divergence has a significant impact on performance and some impact on parent partner management control system choices. Resource contributions made by parent partners to IJVs was also found to have a significant impact on parent partner MCS choices and motive divergence. These findings provide confirmatory evidence of exploratory results and sound suggestions to the world of practice.
Matolcsy, Z & Wakefield, J 2015, 'The Association between Viability Related Factors and Control Package Choices in the Context of Foreign Subsidiaries'.