An Empirical Examination of the Need Profiles of Professional Accountants

Donna L. Street and Ashton C. Bishop
This study examines the motivational criteria--need for achievement (nAch), need for power (nPow), and need for affiliation (nAff)--of accountants. These criteria are examined to determine the dominant need of accountants and whether the need profiles differ significantly by type of employer, hierarchical level (manager versus nonmanager), and gender.

The results of the study indicate that nAch is the dominant motive of accountants. Accountants employed by large CPA firms, corporations, and the federal government are significantly higher in nPow than accountants employed by small CPA firms and state and local governments. In addition, accountants employed by CPA firms are significantly higher in nAff than accountants employed by corporations and the government entities. Comparisons of managers and nonmanagers indicate that accountants holding managerial positions are significantly higher in nPow and significantly lower in nAff than nonmanagers. The results indicate no significant differences in need profiles by gender.

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