Educational Research

Educational Research (ISSN:2141-5161) Vol. 2(8), pp. 1317-1329  August 2011         
Copyright © 2011 International Research Journals




“What would Sartre say?” using existentialism to inform teaching thought and practice in accounting and management

Kieran James and Rex Walsh

School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba Qld. 4350, Australia. Tel: +61 7 46311456.

*Corresponding author Email:

Received 16 June, 2011; Accepted 03 August, 2011


This paper considers, in a series of reflections, how existentialist philosophy might be used to inform the teaching and management of the traditionally conceptualized and conventionally elective “soft” university courses of Accounting Theory, Business Ethics, Critical Management Studies, and Sustainability. We draw upon key existentialist philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Søren Kierkegaard, and G. K. Chesterton as well as music by the influential and sociologically significant UK “first wave of punk rock” bands The Sex Pistols and the Clash. The purpose is to explore the locations from which the teaching of accounting and management might offer critical evaluation on the interactions of the individual (e.g. student and teacher) and society (example employment as “an accountant” or “a manager” in business, the profession and academia).


Keywords: Accounting education, Business ethics, Chesterton, Existentialism, Management education, Nietzsche, Punk rock music, Sartre.

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