Lost in a Crowd: Anonymity and Incivility in the Accounting Classroom


  • Laurie Swinney
  • Bruce Elder
  • Pat Seaton


This research examines the impact of anonymity on the level of incivility in the accounting classroom. A recent trio of tirades reported in the popular press has spotlighted the need to study factors contributing to bad behavior. Most Americans believe that incivility is a major social problem and have encountered incivility at work. Faculty have also encountered incivility in the classroom. Although the literature suggests that incivility is positively related to anonymity, to date no quantitative statistical evidence supports the relationship in the classroom. Our research investigates whether the level of classroom incivility is higher in settings were size of the classroom, college, or community provides a cloak of anonymity. Using data from a survey of U.S. accounting faculty, we find evidence that incivility occurs more frequently in large classes and that irresponsible student behaivors occur more often in large academic institutions and in large metropolitan areas. These findings imply that classroom incivilities may be minimized through faculty use of immediacy behaviors and measures designed to individualize students.







How to Cite

Lost in a Crowd: Anonymity and Incivility in the Accounting Classroom. (2010). The Accounting Educators’ Journal, 20(1). https://www.aejournal.com/ojs/index.php/aej/article/view/153