Original Research - Special Collection: Leadership in Emerging Economies

Developing accounting students as responsible leaders: A workshop on social innovation

Remerta Basson, Gretha Steenkamp
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 55, No 1 | a4335 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v55i1.4335 | © 2024 Remerta Basson, Gretha Steenkamp | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 October 2023 | Published: 30 April 2024

About the author(s)

Remerta Basson, School of Accountancy, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Gretha Steenkamp, School of Accountancy, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


Purpose: As accountants are often business leaders, it is crucial that accounting students are equipped to become responsible leaders. Thus, accounting students should be taught to value citizenship, for example, through exposure to social innovation as an expression of personal citizenship. The research aim of this study was to determine whether students perceived a social innovation workshop with subsequent reflection as effective in developing citizenship as a responsible leadership value during the accounting curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach: Students who attended a social innovation workshop and carried out a subsequent reflection on citizenship were asked to complete a purposively designed online questionnaire, which gathered their perceptions on the workshop, social innovation and personal citizenship.

Findings/results: Students perceived a workshop on social innovation with subsequent reflection as helpful in developing citizenship as a value. Students suggested that citizenship should be incorporated into the technical curriculum and that opportunities for service learning should be provided.

Practical implications: Higher education institutions may draw on the findings in developing their citizenship curriculums amid the challenges of large class sizes and budget constraints. It is suggested that students enrolled in accounting programmes be provided with specific guidance to develop their reflective abilities.

Originality/value: As student voice on responsible leadership and citizenship values in management education was mostly absent from literature (especially in emerging economies), this study obtained the perceptions of South African accounting students on this matter. Moreover, the study identified knowledge regarding social innovation as possible activator for developing students’ personal citizenship and enabling responsible leadership.


citizenship; personal citizenship; responsible leadership; social innovation; accounting students; student perceptions; workshop; reflection

JEL Codes

I25: Education and Economic Development; M14: Corporate Culture • Diversity • Social Responsibility; M49: Other

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education


Total abstract views: 215
Total article views: 175

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.