This qualitative, grounded theory methodology study focuses on how tax professionals develop technical-tax expertise. The literature review, which examined expertise literature from 1869 through 2010, supports the assertion that expertise is learned over an extended period of time with appropriate types of practice. The expertise literature addresses the difficulty in distinguishing experts from experienced non-experts and suggests criteria that can be used to identify experts. The literature surrounding grounded theory methodology is explored including the history of grounded theory, the key elements of a grounded theory study, and a comparison of the Glaser and Strauss/Corbin methods.In the study, nine technical-tax experts, and three tax professionals who self-identified as non-experts were interviewed regarding their experience in developing technical-tax expertise. At first glance, these experts would appear to have little in common; however, under the surface, they had remarkably similar personal attributes--intelligence matched to the discipline, willingness to work hard, fascination with taxation, and tolerance of ambiguity. In addition, the environmental factors they faced (e.g. the economy, the U.S. tax laws, and the type of firm in which they were employed), helped explain the ease or difficulty they had in developing their expertise. Thus, their personal attributes made it likely that they would both excel and enjoy tax research and the environmental factors they faced either supported or impeded their opportunities to conduct tax research. The study concluded with the following three, interconnected theories on how professionals develop technical-tax expertise:
Theory 1: Professionals learn to be experts (progressing on the skill continuum from novice to expert) by engaging in progressive problem solving. For tax professionals, progressive problem solving occurs from conducting research to address real-work tax issues.
Theory 2: For each incident of tax research, the increase on the skill continuum is a function of knowledge and effort.
Increase on the skill continuum= <em>f</em>(knowledge x effort).
Theory 3: To gain expertise, a professional must repeatedly conduct research to address real-world tax issues. Tax professional will repeatedly engage in tax research to the extent they have the desire and opportunity.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2013. Major:Work and Human Resource Education. Advisor: Catherine Twohig. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 195 pages, appendices A-D.
Kuhlmann, Diane Orlich.
How do tax accountants develop technical-tax expertise? a grounded theory study.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.