School of Graduate Studies

Dissertation Defenses

Our Doctorate of Business Administration is a 60-credit program that allows professionals to maintain their full-time careers and complete their degree in three years. Students attend classes one weekend each month for two years, and engage in online interactions in between classes. After two years of coursework, students complete a dissertation that contributes to business practice. The cohort model has proved to be an important source of perspective, networking, and support for our students.

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The DBA program is pleased to invite you to the final dissertation defense of Steven Schilhabel.  The final defense will occur on Thursday, April 4th, 2024 starting at 1045 am in Timmerman Auditorium.  Please see the abstract below.  Please do attend if you can.


Steven A. Schilhabel

Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair

The use of blockchain technology gained prominence with the increasing popularity of cryptographic money, with people, organizations, and associations applying various innovations in blockchain to tackle novel business and cultural issues. Public interest in blockchain has expanded recently as digital currencies have become more stable and consistent. While a large volume of descriptive work on blockchain exists, there is a clear need for theoretical and empirical research on the barriers, drivers, and intent to adopt blockchain. This dissertation seeks to address this important research gap through two essays.

The first essay includes a structured literature review from a behavioral information technology viewpoint, examining the drivers and barriers influencing the intention to adopt. This was a mixed-methods multi-step process. First, my own experience was used to create an initial model. Next, the most cited peer-reviewed articles were reviewed, and the model was revised. After that, additional peer-reviewed articles were examined until saturation on the constructs was achieved. Another update to the model was then completed. In the final stage, MaxQDA was used to analyze peer-reviewed articles quantitatively. Identifying the most used constructs and variations in the naming of similar constructs. With this completed, the research model was finalized.

Using the antecedents, decisions, and outcomes (ADO) framework, this literature review identified four antecedents (distributed, cryptography, consensus, and immutability) and two barriers (behavioral and technical) to blockchain adoption.

The second essay develops and tests a nomological network of blockchain adoption; expanding on the literature review in the first essay, The model posits that distinctive drivers of consensus, distributed nature, cryptography & immutability, and barriers (technical & behavioral) influence the adoption of blockchain technology. Further, this dissertation introduces cryptocurrency bias, which is the latent bias towards cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency bias is posited to play a moderating role in influencing the relationship between drivers and the adoption of blockchain technology. The model was empirically validated first through qualitative interviews and then tested through quantitative survey-based empirical analysis.

The findings result in a new, richer research model that will allow scholars to advance their knowledge and understanding of the adoption of blockchain technology. The findings from this study have important implications for academics and practitioners.

Academics can use the findings from this study to understand how bias affects both the adoption of blockchain technology and potentially other emerging technologies. Practitioners can learn which factors they need to focus on to achieve adoption, and scholars will understand a new variable related to cryptocurrency bias.

Keywords: Blockchain, cryptocurrency, crypto bias, fsQCA, cryptography, distributed nature, consensus mechanism, immutability

The DBA program is pleased to announce thatEdgard Delgado will defend his dissertation on Monday, February 5, 2024, starting at 2:00 p.m. The final defense will take place in Timmerman of Hyland Hall. You can see the abstract below. You can attend from the College Facebook page here



Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair


Prior studies have established that information systems, when integrated into the business with careful consideration, serves as a positive factor that leads to efficiency and productivity. When organizations lack the ability to modernize their information systems, their operations are then run by resource-intensive legacy systems. In academic research, this aspect of continuing to rely on traditional practices, procedures, and resources has been linked to a phenomenon known as inertia. Extending the theory of inertia to the context of technology, this dissertation seeks to understand the antecedents and influences of technology inertia in public-sector organizations through two essays.

Essay 1 explores the antecedents of technology inertia within a public sector agency. I apply the Technology, Organization, and Environment (TOE) framework to examine the continued use of legacy systems and technologies. A case study approach was used to gain valuable insights from key stakeholders. Findings show that technological factors such as technology availability and characteristics, organizational factors such as top management support and resource availability, and environmental factors such as competition intensity and technology infrastructure influence the decision to adopt technology.

Essay 2 explores the influence of technology inertia on organizational learning, and subsequently on organizational effectiveness and innovativeness within public agencies. I also examine the role of change management in moderating the relationship between technology inertia and organizational outcomes. A cross-sectional survey was performed, and PLS structural equation modeling was used to assess the research model. Findings show that technology inertia has a positive influence on the dimensions of organizational learning (commitment to learn, open-mindedness and shared vision), and these dimensions have a positive influence on organizational effectiveness and organizational innovation, highlighting the mediating role of organizational learning. However, change management did not have a moderating influence on the relationship between technology inertia and organizational effectiveness and innovation.

Findings from this dissertation have several important academic and practitioner implications. This research clarifies and highlights the antecedents of technology inertia, and the important role of technology inertia in influencing organizational outcomes such as organizational effectiveness and innovativeness. From a practitioner standpoint, as organizations continue to use legacy systems, this dissertation provides nuanced insights into the role of technology inertia in influencing organizational outcomes.

Keywords: Technology inertia, organizational innovation, legacy information systems, organizational effectiveness, organizational learning, change management.

The DBA program is pleased to announce that Tobin Anderson will defend his dissertation on October 30th, starting at 12:30 p.m. The final defense will take place in Timmerman of Hyland Hall. You can see the abstract below. You can attend from the College Facebook page here



Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair


The value of consumer gratitude as a powerful and enabling concept in people’s daily lives is receiving growing attention in both general and academic circles. Gratitude can increase relational bonds and induce beneficial reciprocal actions, while delivering benefits to businesses. Firms that can engender feelings of gratitude from their consumers can differentiate themselves from their competitors and improve results. These practical benefits notwithstanding, academic literature does not seem to offer a consistent and comprehensive application of the consumer gratitude construct in the business domain, leading to diminished understanding and sub-optimal performance results.

This dissertation seeks to provide a comprehensive theory of consumer gratitude by focusing on two aspects. First, the dissertation uncovers and examines a complete representation of the underlying dimensions of the construct. It reveals a more comprehensive and nuanced multi-dimensional construct to guide both academics and practitioners. Second, this research seeks to build a model of the key antecedents, consequences, and moderators of consumer gratitude in a nomological network. It models a robust network of both direct and indirect antecedents and consequences with two new indirect constructs. A primary survey instrument utilizing confirmatory factor analysis, historical and new measures, and structural equation modeling was used to confirm and validate the dimensions, measurements, and relationships.

Essay 1 findings establish the multi-dimensionality of consumer gratitude, consisting of five dimensions: positive emotional state, appreciation, personal connection, desire to reciprocate, and desire to share good fortune. Essay 2 findings show that company characteristics – preferred structural RM investments, indirect stakeholder initiatives, and consumer characteristics – assessment of company gestures, have a positive influence on consumer gratitude, although the hypothesized moderating influences of consumer characteristics were not found to be significant. Consumer gratitude has a positive influence on consumer loyalty, purchase intentions, positive word-of-mouth, and support for company causes. This consistent and comprehensive representation of the consumer gratitude construct and its nomological network will contribute to greater understanding in the academic community, and greater practical relevancy in the business world.

Keywords: Consumer gratitude, Positive emotional state, Appreciation, Personal connection, Desire to reciprocate, Desire to share good fortune, Indirect stakeholder initiatives, Consumer’s assessment of company’s gestures, Consumer support of company causes.

The DBA program is pleased to announce that Melissa Nelson will defend her dissertation on October 6, 2023, starting at 2:30 p.m. The final defense will take place in Timmerman of Hyland Hall. Below is the abstract of her presentation. You can attend from the College Facebook page here



Dr. Avishek Bhandari, Dissertation Chair


Water pollution and water scarcity combine to create a formidable business risk. Yet many corporations based in the United States (U.S.) do not disclose water risks. In partnership with the Big 4 accounting firms, the World Economic Forum (2020) produced a report outlining metrics to enable companies to measure and disclose substantive information about their water impacts. This dissertation addresses the question: What are the effects of water risk disclosure on earnings management? Publicly traded, U.S. companies that responded to CDP’s annual water security survey from 2010-2022 are investigated to answer this question.

Drawing on information, voluntary disclosure, and signaling theories, as well as ethical considerations, the current study predicts and finds firms that voluntarily disclose water risk enjoy less earnings management than firms that do not disclose. Better performing firms publicize signals envied by firms with lower water risk disclosure. This suggests that water reporting supplements existing information in financial reports and leads to reduced information asymmetry between managers and stakeholders, hence decreasing management’s propensity to manipulate earnings. Also proposed is that corporate ethical culture influences a firm’s adoption of water-related disclosure. Demands by stakeholders for greater transparency and accountability help to make a company’s reported information more complete and meaningful and socially responsible firms are likely to respond, leading to enhanced overall reporting quality.

The present study further investigates the moderating effects of three influences: the degree of top management commitment, strength of corporate governance, and procurement of external assurance. Higher degrees of top management commitment or the “tone at the top” set by the upper echelon is posited and found to enhance the negative association between water risk disclosure and earnings management behaviors. The strength of corporate governance is also hypothesized and found to magnify the negative effect between the water risk disclosure quality and earnings management. With strong monitors in place, managers’ discretion is minimized, thereby reducing manipulations. Lastly, external assurance is predicted and found to enhance the negative relationship between water risk disclosure quality and earnings management. Credible disclosures, assured through a third party, verify the validity of a company’s reported information, both financial and nonfinancial. The study’s predictions are supported by the main analysis, and prove robust to a series of tests.

The importance of understanding how water risk disclosure affects financial reporting quality has implications for users of corporate information, such as auditors, investors, and policymakers. This paper extends information, voluntary disclosure, and signaling theories in an application of corporate water disclosure. Overall, this research has implications to support increased incentives for corporations to voluntarily disclose water risk and mitigation efforts.

Keywords: water security, water risk, water risk disclosure, accruals quality, earnings management, information theory, voluntary disclosure theory, signaling theory

The DBA program is pleased to announce a final dissertation defense. Emily Zoet will present her dissertation on September 15th, 2023, starting at 8:30 am.  The defense will take place in Hyland Hall 2101. You can attend from the College's Facebook page here



Dr. Avishek Bhandari, Dissertation Chair


Do voluntary climate disclosures affect municipal bond ratings? Cities play a critical role in determining the trajectory of climate change. The major rating agencies have affirmed their use of climate information in their credit evaluations as well as indicated their preference for cities that safeguard against climate risk. Drawing on information theory, voluntary disclosure theory, legitimacy theory, and signaling theory, this study investigates whether the level of city climate disclosures and the quality of such disclosures are associated with higher municipal bond ratings. Additionally, using both legitimacy theory and signaling theory, this study examines the differentiating effects of disclosure quality on cities with high levels of disclosure versus low levels of disclosure. For purposes of this study, disclosure quality is defined in terms of a city’s climate action, specifically mitigation and adaptation activities. Using a novel dataset of city-level information, this study finds that voluntary climate disclosures are positively associated with municipal bond ratings. This finding suggests that rating agencies use climate information in their rating evaluations and respond to voluntary climate disclosures favorably. The study also finds that disclosure quality is positively associated with bond ratings, which suggests that rating agencies respond more favorably to higher quality disclosures. Finally, the study finds that the level of disclosure moderates the relationship between disclosure quality and bond ratings such that the positive association between disclosure quality and bond ratings is stronger for cities with high levels of disclosure. This finding suggests that the value relevance of disclosure quality to rating agencies is stronger for cities with higher levels of climate disclosure. Overall, the study contributes to the voluntary climate disclosure and municipal bond rating literature as well as assists both city officials and municipal bond investors by revealing the impact of climate information on bond ratings. Additionally, results from this study help to determine that specific climate actions and policies affect bond rating decisions, providing valuable information to city officials, policymakers, and municipal bond market participants.

Keywords: city(ies), climate change, disclosure quality, environmental disclosure, Information Theory, Legitimacy Theory, municipal bond rating, Signaling Theory, voluntary disclosure, Voluntary Disclosure Theory

The DBA program is pleased to announce a final dissertation defense. Patrice Achu will present his dissertation on August 25th, 2023, starting at 10 am.  The defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium, Hyland Hall. You can attend from the College's Facebook page here

Internal Audit Function Effectiveness:

Investigating Antecedents and Aftereffects

Patrice M. Achu

Dr. Jodi Gissel, Dissertation Chair


This dissertation includes two related essays. First, I synthesized the current literature on internal audit function (IAF) effectiveness to develop a comprehensive model based on the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Standards to measure indicators (antecedents) and IAF effectiveness. This model can guide future research on how IAFs may better contribute to organizations and help practice better implement effective IAFs. I then empirically test that model and leverage the IAF effectiveness measure to investigate the impacts of IAF effectiveness and a quality assurance and improvement program (QAIP) reviews on the probability that management pressures IAFs to omit or suppress significant audit findings.

I used data from the Common Body of Knowledge in Internal Auditing 2015 dataset (CBOK 2015) for my analyses in the second essay. In the empirical test of my proposed model, I expected and found compliance with IIA Attribute Standards related positively to IAF effectiveness. In investigating aftereffects of IAF effectiveness, I expected effectiveness and QAIP reviews would each negatively impact the likelihood that management pressures IAFs to suppress significant audit findings in order to conceal damaging information, such as fraudulent activities or significant financial misstatements. My findings provided some evidence that effective IAFs are less likely to face suppression requests. However, my findings did not provide sufficient support that IAFs subject to QAIP will be less likely to face the pressures to suppress findings from reports. In both essays, I discuss opportunities for future research and the practical implications of my research for academia and the internal audit profession.

The DBA program is pleased to announce a final dissertation defense. Betty Carew will present her dissertation on June 19 th, starting at 10 am.  The defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium, Hyland Hall. You can attend from the College's Facebook page here



Betty N. Carew

Dr. Jimmy Peltier, Dissertation Chair


The digital era has transformed how B2B firms need to engage with customers and stakeholders to develop brands. Social media (SM) provides an opportunity for B2B firms to co-create brand value and develop sustainable brands by engaging business customers in online SM platforms. This dissertation responds to the call from the research community to provide a better understanding on how B2B firms engage customers on SM to contribute to the co-creation of brand value (Essamri et al., 2019; Iglesias et al, 2020; Gustafsona et al., 2021). Research also calls for developing a framework with theoretical support that incorporates SM as a strategic tool throughout a firm’s customer engagement process for brand value co-creation (Essamri et al., 2019; Iglesias et al, 2020; Cartwright et al., 2021; Gustafsona et al., 2021). This dissertation contributes to the discipline of marketing, strategy, and management in the digital age. Our study  helps close the research gap by providing insight on how B2B buyers and sellers interact on SM platforms to form relationships that add value to brands. We propose a framework that provides insights on the types of brand engagement activities required to co-create brand value with business customers on SM. The framework enables firms to digitize their brand engagement processes and develop brands that provide a competitive advantage. The paper also provides supporting theories and opportunities to advance future research in B2B SM brand engagement and development.

This dissertation uses two essays to accomplish the following: (1) Develop a framework for SM firm brand engagement. (2) Conceptualize the SM firm brand engagement construct. (3) Address the antecedents and outcomes related to SM firm brand engagement (4) Provide an empirical analysis to support our SM firm brand engagement framework.

Essay one proposes the following definition for SM firm brand engagement based on literature: SM firm brand engagement drives brand value co-creation within SM platforms by integrating organization led processes and activities that support developing brand partnerships, nurturing brand passion, and bridging gaps in brand meaning with business customers. We propose a B2B SM brand engagement framework and identify our SM firm brand engagement constructs as developing brand partnerships, nurturing brand passion and bridging brand meaning. The framework also includes a comprehensive list of antecedents based on three categories such as firm, industry and business customer factors. The outcomes within our framework are identified as business customer engagement, value co-creation, and brand performance.

Using the service-dominant logic theory and customer engagement theory, essay two develops and tests a subset of the framework in essay one. The model in essay two includes our SM firm brand engagement activities (developing brand partnerships, nurturing brand passion and bridging brand meaning), outcomes (brand value-co creation, and brand performance) and SM marketing strategic orientation as the key antecedent. Our quantitative study uses surveys to collect data from marketers and brand managers in B2B firms. We use Smart PLS to conduct our statistical analysis to understand the impact of SM marketing strategic orientation on SM firm brand engagement tactics (developing brand partnerships, nurturing brand passion and bridging brand meaning). Our statistical analysis also provides understanding of the differential effects of SM firm brand engagement tactics on brand value co-creation and performance.

The DBA program announces the final defense of DBA student Rizvana Zameeruddin. She will defend his dissertation on Monday, May 8, 2023 starting at 9am in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland Hall.  You can attend from the College Facebook page here



Dr. Avishek Bhandari, Dissertation Chair 


Based on gender socialization theory, this study provides empirical evidence on the association between female board representation and opportunistic insider trading. More specifically, the study argues that female directors’ morality and risk aversion traits set the tone at the top that deters insiders from trading on private information. The study finds that female board representation on a company’s board has a negative and statistically significant impact on opportunistic insider trading. The main finding is robust to heterogeneity concerns, selection bias, alternative measures, alternative model specifications, reverse causality, and omitted variable bias. The study also employs Difference-in-Differences (DiD) and advanced machine learning approach to confirm the causality argument that female board representation is a significant predictor of opportunistic insider trading. The study also finds that the negative effect of female board representation on opportunistic insider trading becomes less important in firms with strong governance and high managerial risk aversion, which suggests that female board representation substitutes the role of governance and risk aversion mechanisms in a firm.  

Keywords: Gender socialization theory; Female directors; Morality; Risk aversion; Opportunistic insider trading

The DBA program announces the final defense of DBA student David Rollins. He will defend his dissertation on Monday March 20, 2023 starting at 9 am in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland Hall.  You can attend from the College Facebook page here

Organizational Data Capabilities Mediating Effect on Organizational Data Cultures Relationship on Firm Performance: Controlling for Firm Size

Rollins David A.

Dr. Andrew Ciganek, Dissertation Chair


Data-driven decision-making capabilities provide a substantial source for improving firm performance (Brynjolfsson et al., 2011). Collecting data from production systems offers a large amount of data from multiple sources. Technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) and operational technology such as sensors and actuators provide abundant data. The proliferation of data collected from production equipment gives organizations a remarkable ability to make data-driven decisions. Firms with limited resources are more likely to miss opportunities to employ data to their benefit. This study gathered data from manufacturing firms throughout the United States, seeking a large sample of small and medium-sized manufacturers and a substantial sample of large manufacturers. The findings reflect the importance of data usage on firm performance and the significance of firm size and age on data analytic capability. Surprisingly, the corporate vision of data use relationship with performance is not significant, as is the relationship between data security and data usage.

The DBA program announces the final defense of DBA student Eric Barber. He will defend his dissertation on Friday January 27, 2023 starting at 1 pm in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland Hall.  You can attend from the College Facebook page here


Eric Barber 

Dr. Jon M. Werner, Dissertation Chair


This study examines the effects of professional networking and burnout on the organizational and professional commitment of Human Resource professionals, as well as the potential moderating relationship of professional networking on the relationships between job burnout and organizational and professional commitment. This study is a unique investigation of HR professionals and seeks to advance research on social capital and burnout by providing evidence of the positive effects, as well as moderation through professional networking channels such as LinkedIn forums, professional memberships in organizations like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), or other HR support work groups. In particular, this study examines the effects of professional networking on the relationships between burnout, professional, and organizational commitment.

In this study, professional networking had a significant positive influence on the relationship between burnout and commitment.The results provide insight into factors that assist HR professionals in lessening the effects of burnout, while also increasing organizational and professional commitment.

Burnout research has focused on a variety of occupations, mainly service occupations, but not much attention has been paid to HR professionals, who are often the link between managers and employees, and can be the mediators and facilitators of difficult conversations and employment actions. HR professionals have become more integral in organizations’ strategies, processes and protocols. Burnout and lack of both professional and organizational commitment from this group of employees could be detrimental to organizations. Utilizing OLS to examine these relationships, burnout significantly impacted both professional and organizational commitment.

The DBA program is pleased to let you know that DBA candidate Chris Harper will defend his dissertation on Friday, December 9th, starting at 230 pm.  The final defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland Hall.  You can attend from the College Facebook page here




Dr. Hamid Vakilzadeh, Dissertation Chair 


This study investigates implications of social distance mandates on a local public accounting firm’s financial statement practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although prior literature has studied voluntary remote work programs using numerous perspectives and myriad industries, this is the first investigation of government-mandated remote work arrangements on a local CPA firm during a pandemic. Using unique, proprietary data, I examine the impact of a remote work modality on issuance delays, engagement fees, and both the level and distribution of professional effort invested by engagement professionals. I find that a remote work modality resulted in lower effort, increased delay, and diminished engagement fees. Results should inspire further investigation by both practitioners and scholars.

Keywords: COVID, pandemic, telework, remote work, work-from-home, social distancing, auditor effort, CPA, local firm, firm management, audit fees, audit delay, attestation

The DBA program is pleased to let you know that DBA candidate Harun Musa will defend his dissertation on Friday, November 4th, starting at 215 pm.  The final defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland Hall.  You can attend from the College Facebook page here


 Harun Musa

 Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair 


Healthcare uses Locating Capabilities Technologies (LCTs) such as Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) and Real-time Location Systems (RTLS) to track assets and people. Healthcare firms have struggled to understand LCTs’ impact on firm performance. This dissertation explores the effects of LCTs by applying the Dynamic Capabilities Theory and testing the hypothesized relationships. My dissertation will consist of two essays.

In Essay 1, I focused on exploring LCTs' influence on healthcare organizations' financial performance by analyzing secondary data from healthcare firms that had and had not deployed LCTs, using a matched-pair approach. I conducted Independent Sample t-tests and Difference in differences (DID) analysis to compare the two groups. The results indicated that healthcare firms using LCTs did worse based on three financial measures: return on assets, net operating profit margin, and net income margin.

In Essay 2, I investigated the relationships between LCTs and healthcare performance by analyzing survey data from respondents with current or prior experience in healthcare decision-making.  Drawing from the Dynamic Capabilities Theory, I theorized: (1)  location-based intelligence (LBI) capability as a second-order construct containing four lower-order constructs (location infrastructure capability, asset tracking capability, patient and staff locating capability, and information visibility capability), (2) LBI capability directly and indirectly positively affected healthcare performance (employee, patient, and technology benefits), (3) business process automation (BPO) mediated the relationship between LBI capability and healthcare performance, (4) managerial capabilities (MC) had a direct and positive effect on BPO, which moderated the relationship between LBI capability and BPO, (5) employee and patient healthcare performance is a second-order construct comprised of employee and patient healthcare benefits, and (6) hospital characteristics such as size and location positively moderated the relationship between BPO and healthcare performance. The research model tested survey data from healthcare staff in the U.S with current and prior experience in decision-making or using health information technology. The analysis results show that (1) LBI capability is a second-order construct that directly and indirectly affects healthcare performance. (2) BPO mediates the relationship between LBI capability and healthcare performance. (3) although managerial capabilities do not moderate the relationship between LBI capability and BPO, they have a positive and direct effect on BPO. (4) employee and patient healthcare performance is a second-order construct. (5) hospital size positively moderates the relationship between BPO and employee and patient healthcare performance. And (6), hospital location positively moderates the relationship between BPO and healthcare performance in technology.

This study’s findings have significant research implications regarding locating capabilities technologies (LCTs) impacting healthcare performance.

Keywords: Locating Capabilities Technologies, Location-Based Intelligence, RFID, RTLS, BLE, WiFi-tracking

The DBA program is pleased to announce that Tim Hager will defend his dissertation on Thursday, October 20th starting at 11 am. The final defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland. You can attend from the College Facebook page here



 Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Ph.D., Dissertation Chair


As legislative actions, such as the Affordable Care Act, and technological innovations have increasingly looked to provide improved healthcare delivery in the United States (US), the desire for quality of life, overall health, and, notably, patient access to healthcare has become extremely important in people’s lives. Building on path dependency theory, agency theory, and prior healthcare access research, this dissertation provides a research model of patient access by postulating and empirically validating the factors associated with patients seeking healthcare.

Essay 1 focuses on understanding patient behaviors when seeking healthcare in distinct periods before and after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). I conduct four separate analyses of secondary data using binary logistic regression of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to understand whether there are differences in healthcare-seeking choices before and after legislation shifts. The findings reveal the differences in patients’ choices regarding patient access across the time periods. In Essay 2, I draw upon agency theory, the strength of ties, and technology acceptance theories to test a research model of healthcare-seeking differences between veteran and nonveteran groups. Binary logistic regression is used, with patient access as the dependent variable, and critical variables related to economic costs, social embeddedness, and technology access as independent variables. I theorize that veteran groups have stronger socially embedded ties and are more apt to use technology when seeking healthcare than nonveterans. Furthermore, I posit that age and gender impact health-seeking, such that younger persons have a demonstrably more significant impact on social embeddedness and use of technology. The research model is tested using secondary data from the NHIS for 2016–2019. The findings confirm the role of social embeddedness and technology use in seeking healthcare.

Findings from this dissertation have important academic and practical implications for patient access to healthcare and veteran access to healthcare and help explain whether there are deficiencies in veterans accessing healthcare compared with nonveterans. Notably, the findings from this dissertation have practical significance to Department of Veteran Affairs healthcare decision-makers to help understand veteran preferences, areas for further exploration, and healthcare provision. Conclusions from this dissertation outline the need for further study into patient access to healthcare aspects that will overall increase the access to healthcare and the use of healthcare by patients. One key recommendation is to better understand and encourage use of technology and social embeddedness of patients to activate themselves seeking solutions to their healthcare from healthcare providers.

Keywords: patient access, healthcare-seeking behaviors, veteran healthcare, patient affordability, healthcare access methods.

The DBA program is pleased to announce that Oliver Degan will defend his dissertation on Monday, October 10th starting at 11 am. The final defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland. You can attend from the College Facebook page here

POLITICS AND TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION: antecedent and moderating factors INFLUENCING technology orientation and technology innovation performance


Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair 


 The political discourse in the United States has carried tremendous division over the last few years and throughout the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. Corporate CEOs have not been immune to this political division and have often found themselves (openly) aligning with one side. Although CEOs have permanently been politically affiliated, recent years have brought this phenomenon into the limelight. So naturally, the question of how the CEO’s political characteristics influence an organization becomes an important research question to be examined. Prior research in management has examined CEO political affiliation and its influence on organizational-level outcomes such as business performance. However, as technology takes center stage in many organizations, the effects of CEO political characteristics on technology innovation and performance require examination. Still, they have not received research attention in prior literature.

This study instilled clarity into this phenomenon by studying 256 human resources professionals and their perception of the CEO’s liberal tendencies. The results of this study empirically show significant effects of the CEO’s political orientation on the organization’s technology orientation with increased influence on technology innovation performance.

A partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) analysis was performed to find support for the various relationships in the hypothesis.

This study’s findings provide new consideration for the company’s board of directors and human resources hiring managers to find CEOs that positively influence technology orientation and are more prone to delivering a higher level of technology innovation performance.

Finally, this study provides much-needed guidance on the importance of the CIO reporting directly to the CEO to promote an organizational environment that is willing to change to accelerate technology innovation performance.

 Keywords: CEO, Political Affiliation, Technology Orientation, Innovation Performance, Willingness to Change, CIO, Reporting Relationship.

The DBA program is pleased to announce that Deborah Beyer will defend her dissertation on August 31st, starting at 10 am. The final defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland. You can attend from the College Facebook page here



 Dr. Zaifeng Fan, Dissertation Chair


In recent decades, rising economic policy uncertainty coupled with increasing levels of political polarization have impacted financial markets and by extension, investors in those markets. Literature has mainly focused its attention on one of these factors or the other, while few studies to date have examined their joint effects on stock market volatility. Yet politics and the economy are profoundly intertwined; they must be considered in tandem. Through a two-essay format, the objective of this dissertation is to 1) investigate the combined impact of economic policy uncertainty and partisan conflict on stock market volatility, and 2) study the impact of partisan conflict in particular on politically sensitive industry volatility.

Findings from Essay 1 provide evidence that economic policy uncertainty increases volatility whereas partisan conflict reduces it. A deeper examination reveals that partisan conflict’s dampening effect exists only during periods of political gridlock. Essay 2 results show that partisan conflict also reduces industry-level volatility. Moreover, partisan conflict has a greater impact on reducing high politically-sensitive industry volatility compared to industries with low political sensitivity. Results from both studies are meant to inform government policymakers, analysts, and investors of the effects these politically-related forces have on equity market volatility.

The DBA program is pleased to announce that Linda Olszewski will be defending her dissertation on August 11th starting at 10 am. The dissertation will take place in the Timmerman Auditorium of Hyland Hall. You can attend from the College Facebook page here



 Dr. Andy Yu, Dissertation Chair


&The challenges organizations are facing, often imposed by the environments in which they operate, are reaching new heights. It is known that innovation is imperative if an organization wants to thrive continually. Yet, how organizations cultivate their innovative capabilities in response is growing more complex and questions remain, specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family firms, given their resource limitations and unique organizational context. This dissertation is composed of two essays exploring such complexity by examining an intricate relationship between firms’ temporal cognition, strategic behaviors, and organizational resources shaping their innovative capabilities.

The challenges organizations are facing, often imposed by the environments in which they operate, are reaching new heights. It is known that innovation is imperative if an organization wants to thrive continually. Yet, how organizations cultivate their innovative capabilities in response is growing more complex and questions remain, specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family firms, given their resource limitations and unique organizational context. This dissertation is composed of two essays exploring such complexity by examining an intricate relationship between firms’ temporal cognition, strategic behaviors, and organizational resources shaping their innovative capabilities.

Essay 2 studies the relationship between a family firm’s long-term orientation (LTO) and relative-exploration orientation (REO) in the situation of family involvement (i.e., family management and ownership). I drew on the literature on LTO and socioemotional wealth (SEW) to theorize that there is a positive relationship between LTO and REO and that there are contrasting moderating effects of restricted SEW priorities held by family managers versus extended SEW priorities held by family owners. Using CATA to test my research model, I content-analyzed shareholder letters pulling from a public family business sample of 959 firm-year observations from 2004 to 2013. Findings showed a positive relationship between LTO and REO and a negative moderating effect of family management.

Keywords: Resource orchestration, organizational slack, organizational ambidexterity, innovativeness, family firm, long-term orientation, socioemotional wealth, SME, CATA

The DBA program is pleased to announce that DBA student Larry Joseph Barnes will present his dissertation on Friday, June 24th, starting at 10 am.  You can attend from the College Facebook page here



 Dr. Hamid Vakilzadeh, Dissertation Chair


 This study investigates the effects of auditors’ Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation and Internal Control Weaknesses (ICW) and Financial Reporting Quality (FRQ), represented by discretionary accruals and real earnings management. After using two prominent measures of financial reporting quality in the literature, I find that CFE designation is negatively associated with internal control weaknesses and positively associated with discretionary accruals and real earnings management. Further analyses support our main findings and suggest CFE’s find more ICW’s because of anti-fraud training, allowing them to conduct higher-quality audits. Higher-quality audits leads to greater Financial Reporting Quality. I contribute to the literature by evaluating the impact CFE designation into the quality of audit financial statements. The results benefit should be informative to investors, shareholders, regulators, academic researchers, audit practitioners and anyone who uses financial statements to make a business assessment.

The DBA program is pleased to announce that DBA student Neil Johnson will present his dissertation on November 22 nd, starting at 1 pm.  You can attend from the College Facebook page here

Productivity of Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid: A Neural Network Analysis of the Solid Waste Informal Sector in India

 Neil S. Johnson

Dr. Sameer Prasad, Dissertation Chair


In developing countries, solid waste levels have continued to climb so quickly that municipalities have been unable to handle the increasing quantity of waste. Amidst the bleak setting of uncollected waste littering the streets, an informal solid waste processing chain based on ragpickers has evolved. Ragpickers earn income scavenging mountains of waste and organizing their pickings for sale. Understanding the complex interrelationships within the ragpicker community could help ragpickers increase their income. Researchers have yet to look at nonlinear interactions among group size, literacy, receptiveness to NGO suggestions, and resource level and their effects on the productivity of processing of various types of solid waste, including recyclable, biodegradable, and inert waste. To capture these nonlinear interactions, I used an artificial neural network (ANN). An ANN does not operate with preconceived assumptions about data patterns. Instead, an ANN freely models any data pattern, capturing complex nonlinear relationships among variables. As is the case in many nontraditional business areas, it was challenging to collect rich information regarding ragpickers, so data were limited. Bootstrapping, oversampling, and an ANN were used to capture nonlinear interactions and overcome limitations of the small data set. Capturing nonlinear interactions in a small data set in this way was novel and could be a model for researchers in other nontraditional business domains wishing to uncover new relationships.

Keywords: ragpicker, nonlinear interactions, neural network, small data set


The DBA program is happy to announce that AnnaMaria Bliven will defend her dissertation on Friday, November 5 th starting at 1030 am.  You can also watch this final defense from the College Facebook page here



     Dr. Aditya Simha, Dissertation Chair


     The sustainability of the relationship between online employers and remote employees depends on ongoing trust and security (Mackenzie, 2010; Peters, Den Dulk, & De Ruijter, 2010; Wojcak, Bajzikova, Sajgalikova, & Polakova, 2016).  Establishing and maintaining this trust involves a mechanism by which both parties operate in synchronous action, much like when two partners dance. Trust and security in this relational mechanism may fail at times, and when this happens, the dance is over; or is it? As discovered in the study by De Clercq et al. (2018), Willpower may be the factor that keeps this dance in step.

     This research builds upon two theories, the Social Exchange Theory and Organizational Support Theory, to develop factors exploring the impact willpower may have on the continuance of allowing personnel to work at home. Investigating the antecedent attitudes of online employers and the relationship between absenteeism, communication, collaboration to the moderator situational willpower and its effect on long-term employee retention is Model 1.

    Model 2 studies the relationship between antecedent attitudes of remote employees, emotional exhaustion, isolation, and perceived organizational support to the moderator situational willpower and its effect on long-term job retention. The data for both studies is collected using a mixed-method providing a 360-degree perspective. Using a combination of surveys, interviews, and ethnography allows for greater insight into the attitudes leading to actions and the relationship mechanism by which this remote working dance takes place between the online employer and the remote employee. The results from the combined study will provide insight into the aspects of the remote working relationship which may foster the dance between online employers and remote employees to continue.

     Keywords: Online employer, work at home (WAH) employee, absenteeism, collaboration, communication, emotional exhaustion, isolation, perceived organizational support, situational willpower, long-term employee retention, long-term job retention




     Dr. Aditya Simha, Dissertation Chair


    The DBA program is pleased to announce that DBA student Katherine Manthey will be defending her dissertation on Tuesday October 12 starting at 130 pm.  The final defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium in Hyland.  You can also watch the final defense from the College Facebook page here

    As the saying popularized by American football coach Knute Rockne goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The real question becomes what is the force that keeps the tough going while others quit? This paper evaluates the role of individual resilience in answering that question within an employment context. Taking the position of resilience as a personal resource that employees possess in varying degrees, Hobfoll’s conservation of resources (COR) theory (Hobfoll, 1989) suggests that employees sensing a threat to their resource of resilience may not keep going after all but alter their situation to protect their resources. Yet others seem to use their experiences to grow their store of resilience; a corollary to the COR theory suggests that these individuals may have more resources to invest in the first place (Hobfoll, 1989, Bakker & Demerouti, 2017). This is the question addressed by this study of employees in the Claims division of a property and casualty insurance company. Employees in the Claims division routinely deal with people who have emotions ranging from shock to distress, despair, and even anger. Quantitative methods are used to assess levels of personal resilience to both in-role emotional labor efforts and commitment to staying in that occupation.

    Keywords: resilience, empathy, emotional labor, work engagement, occupational commitment, insurance claims, property and casualty insurance industry


    The impacts of Antecedents on Supply Chain Performance


     Dr. Andrew A. Ciganek, Dissertation Chair


    The Technology, Organization, Environment (TOE) framework has been extensively studied in the context of information technology. However, the TOE framework has not yet been utilized to examine determinants of supply chain performance. This study aims to investigate the complex linkages which exist in supply chain performance via the mediating roles of supply chain integration using transaction cost economics, trust theory, resource-based view, resource dependence, and contingency theories as guide. We employed partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) using a two-stage disjoint approach, concentrating on reflective-formative type of higher order constructs. We reviewed the literature to find relevant metrics for similar constructs and applied established scales to assess constructs. A large-scale study was conducted with over 200 senior strategic executives of manufacturing companies. Supply chain integration had positive direct effects on supply chain performance, which was significant and supported. Technology, Organizational Culture, and Environmental Uncertainties had positive impacts on supply chain performance through the mediating roles of supply chain integration that were significant and supported as well. The implications of the study findings and directions are provided for future research.


    Keywords:TOE, Customer Integration, Supplier Integration, Internal Integration, Supply Chain Performance, Disjoint Approach, Second-Order Constructs, Higher Order Constructs, Partial Least Squares, Hierarchical Component Models






    Dr. Jimmy Peltier, Dissertation Chair


    The DBA program is pleased to announce that DBA student Barbara Barney-McNamara will be defending her dissertation on Tuesday October 12 starting at 130 pm.  The final defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium in Hyland.  You can also watch the final defense from the College Facebook page here

    In the changing sales landscape, social selling strategy poses opportunity for salespeople to take advantage of mobile technology and social media to connect with customers. This dissertation uses two essays to first conceptualize the social selling constructs and then address the antecedents and outcomes associated with social selling and then to provide empirical analysis to support the model. It further seeks to provide a definition of social selling to be used to guide future study.

    Essay one proposes the following definition:  Social selling integrates personal branding, information exchange, networking, and social listening into all stages of the sales process using social media, CRM, and salesforce technology. Based on a comprehensive literature review, it identifies the social selling constructs of networking, information exchange, social listening, and personal branding. This conceptual essay also provides comprehensive lists in three categories of antecedents based on individual, company, and industry factors. In addition, buyer engagement, value co-creation, and salesperson performance were identified as the outcomes of social selling.

    Using service-dominant logic (SDL) and social networking theory, essay two develops and tests a model based on the aforementioned social selling activities and outcomes with organizational culture as the antecedent. Using Smart PLS, the findings show that organizational culture directly impacts the use of all social selling activities, as well as value co-creation. And that networking, information exchange, and personal branding also positively relate to value co-creation, while information exchange and social listening impact buyer engagement. Further value co-creation was shown to relate to buyer engagement and both value co-creation and buyer engagement have a positive impact on salesperson performance.

    Salespeople today are using the new technologies to create efficiencies in the sales process. Along with customers’ ability to research and become knowledgeable before sales contact, these efficiencies shorten the sales cycle, and some steps take place without direct interaction between the salesperson and the customer. The results of this study fill a gap in current literature by providing a clear definition of social selling and providing statistical analysis that supports the four social selling constructs.



     Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair

    The DBA program is pleased to announce that Steve Liegl will be defending his dissertation on Monday September 27th starting at 10 am.  The final defense will take place in Hyland 4303.  You can watch the final defense from the College facebook page here


    Traditionally, organizations have provided the necessary task-related devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets) for employees. However, recent years have seen alternative devices belonging to employees or other sources used in corporate settings for completing work tasks. With the desire for flexible work conditions and “always being connected,” Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have become ubiquitous. Building on adoption theories and prior BYOD research, this dissertation seeks to create a foundational model for evaluating the factors associated with BYOD adoption and use.

    In Essay 1, I focused on  understanding and enumerating  the patterns of BYOD use in corporate settings based on various user-level factors over a period of time. I conducted time-series analyses on secondary data of employees’ systems captured in their database to demonstrate the change over time and provide future forecasting of BYOD adoption.  Findings show that in an organization that has a Bring Your Own Device program, there are varying levels of individual usage, regardless of device type, and receiving a financial incentive can have an impact on adoption and use. 

    In Essay 2, I drew upon Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST) and tested a research model of BYOD adoption and use. I theorized that security, data ownership, privacy, and financial factors influence exploratory and exploitative task and technology adaptation of BYOD. Further, I posit that such adaptation will positively impact BYOD use. The research model was tested using a survey of employees on their use of BYOD in corporate settings.  Findings show that the antecedent factors have a significant influence on exploratory and exploitative task and technology adaptation, which in turn influence BYOD use within the organization, . Therefore, this study highlights the mediating role of task and technology adaption factors, demonstrating the significance of adaptive structuration in the BYOD context.

    Findings from this dissertation have important academic implications to the BYOD literature, extending the application of AST to the context of BYOD. Notably, findings from this dissertation have practical significance to help organizations understand data ownership, security considerations, and financial incentives which encourage BYOD adoption and use.

    Keywords: BYOD use, Task adaptation, Technology Adaptation, Adaptive Structuration Theory, Security Controls, Data Ownership, Financial Incentives.



    Dr. Zaifeng Fan, Dissertation Chair

    Jeff Jump will defend his dissertation on Friday, September 17 th, starting at 10 am.  The defense will take place in Timmerman Auditorium.  You can still watch the final defense from the College facebook page here


    Dairy commodities have experienced tremendous price swings over the past few decades. The high price volatility has been partially blamed for the bankruptcy of 30% of U.S. dairy industry (including farmers and manufacturers). Yet, the study of dairy market volatility has been limited. This dissertation attempts to provide a better understanding of volatility in the dairy futures market by presenting two essays. Essay 1 uses multivariate GARCH models that incorporate macroeconomic variables to investigate the return comovement and volatility spillover effect among four dairy commodities (butter, cheese, milk, and dry whey) futures. Essay 2 studies the impact of USDA public wholesale price announcements and trading activities upon dairy commodities and class III milk price volatility




    Frederick P. Dewald III

    Dr. Zaifeng Fan, Dissertation Chair

    August 5th starting at 2pm.  Live-streamed 


    Using hand-collected fund manager race data, I examine the current status of minority managers in the mutual fund industry. I investigate manager characteristics and performance differences between minority (Asian, Black, Hispanic Latino) and White managers. My results show that minorities are underrepresented in the fund management industry, especially Black and Hispanic managers. On average, 86.8% of single-manager funds are managed by Whites, while 8.3%, 2.7%, and 2.3% are Asian, Black, and Hispanic managers, respectively. Minority managers manage more international funds, while White managers manage more growth-focused funds. I show evidence that minority managers are younger and more educated, with shorter tenure and a lower percentage holding a CFA designation. The funds managed by White managers are larger in size, have a higher turnover ratio, and have greater exposure to market risk. Minority managed funds have higher monthly fund flows and take on greater idiosyncratic risk. I find no significant difference in fund returns or risk-adjusted abnormal returns (alpha).  These results are robust to various analytical methods. Essay 2 examines the gender impact with a broader spectrum of fund types and studys the joint effect of race and gender related to the aforementioned metrics. The data shows 89.21% of all funds and 90.24% of actively managed funds have been managed by males. I find that females, are younger, have less tenure, lower levels of education, are more likely to hold a CFA designation and have attended top tier schools. Female managers are more likely to manage international funds.  I discover that funds managed by males are larger, older, exhibit higher turnover ratios, and have higher levels of fund risk. Male managers are more likely to manage growth-focused funds. I find no significant difference in fund returns or risk-adjusted abnormal returns (alpha) utilizing Jensen’s alpha. There are few significant differences in fund performances as it pertains to the gender and interaction of race and gender.  The findings of this study can improve our understanding of mutual fund performance in general. More importantly, this study provides timely and imperative information to understand and address the lack of diversity in the mutual fund industry.

                Keywords: Mutual Funds, Race, Diversity, Gender, Fund performance.



     Dr. Avishek Bhandari, Dissertation Chair

      August 9th starting at 8am.  Live-streamed 


    Organizational ambidexterity is a corporate strategy where a firm simultaneously seeks to pursue exploration and exploitation (March, 1991). Despite being described as one of the most interesting subjects in strategy research (O’Reilly & Tushman, 2013), accounting and finance scholars have not yet extensively explored this topic. In accounting, studies on organizational strategy have looked at the effects of exploitation and exploration on financial reporting quality (Bentley et al., 2013; Hsieh et al., 2019), audit quality (Bentley et al., 2013; Bentley-Goode et al., 2017), and tax accounting (Higgins et al., 2015). But none of the studies analyze the impact of ambidexterity on accounting outcomes. Similarly, on the finance end, studies have looked at how ambidexterity affects firm performance (Fu & Morris, 2014; Han & Celly, 2008; Hill & Birkinshaw, 2014; Lubatkin et al., 2006; Stubner et al., 2012; Uotila et al., 2009) but there hasn’t been any work that explains how ambidexterity relates with better financial performance.

    Contributing to the above-stated literature and filling the highlighted gaps, this dissertation seeks to answer two research questions: First, “does organizational ambidexterity affect financial reporting quality?” Second, “does organizational ambidexterity affect investment efficiency?” The dissertation consists of two papers, each answering one of the research questions.

    The first paper addresses the relationship between ambidexterity and financial reporting quality. The paper hypothesizes that ambidextrous firms reduce agency problems, have better performance, and are less risky, thus will engage in less accounting manipulation and have higher financial reporting quality. The study uses machine learning to measure ambidexterity (Bonsall et al., 2021; Li et al., 2020) and the discretionary accrual method to measure financial reporting quality (Kothari et al., 2005). The paper finds a positive and significant relationship between ambidexterity and high financial reporting quality. The paper introduces March’s (1991) organizational strategy typology into accounting research and extends current accounting and strategy research by showing ambidexterity impacts accounting outcomes.

    The second paper addresses the relationship between ambidexterity and investment efficiency. Specifically, the paper highlights how ambidexterity relates to better performance by analyzing investment efficiency between ambidextrous and non-ambidextrous firms. The second paper also uses machine learning to measure ambidexterity (Bonsall et al., 2021; Li et al., 2020). Following Benlemlih & Bitar (2018), Biddle et al. (2009), and Chen, Sun, Tang, & Wu, (2011), the paper measures investment efficiency using the deviation from the expected investment levels approach.   The paper finds that ambidextrous firms show the least amount of deviation from ideal investment levels thus have better investment efficiency. The findings contribute to the literature by showing how ambidexterity leads to better performance. In additional analyses, the paper finds that ambidexterity specifically leads to better investment efficiency by reducing overinvestment. The findings have implications for practice as they provide guidance on what managers and consultants should consider when deciding firm strategy.



     Dr. Avishek Bhandari, Dissertation Chair

    Thursday, July 29th , starting at 1130 am.   Live-streamed 


     Accounting conservatism reflects the judgment and potential bias allowed per accrual-based accounting by choosing to disclose “bad news” ahead of holding a higher bar for reporting “good news.” Financial reporting aggressiveness is a strong focus of current research; I argue that examining accounting conservatism, representing the other side of the financial reporting quality spectrum, is equally important. Most research has focused on the consequences of accounting conservatism, in contrast to my study, which examines potential antecedents.

    Essay one of my dissertation illuminates the relationship between community social capital and accounting conservatism. Community social capital is proxied by the social norms and networks of the firm's headquarter location and is collected on a county basis. The reputational pressures of social norms may restrain managerial rent-seeking behaviors, thereby resulting in increased accounting conservatism. Social networks facilitate information exchange, thus reducing information asymmetry and possibly reducing the need for accounting conservatism. Hence, the effect of community social capital on accounting conservatism, including the potentially opposing influence of social norms and networks, creates an empirical question and motivates my study. My research extends literature concerning various firm-specific factors associated with accounting conservatism by uniquely examining the influence of the qualitative characteristics of social capital. The results of my study indicate high community social capital is associated with lower levels of conditional accounting conservatism. Hence, implying the contracting benefits of high community social capital negate the additional contracting benefits of conditional accounting conservatism.

    Essay 2 of my dissertation studies the intangible trait of corporate trust and the associated choices about using accounting conservatism. Trust is the reliability and honesty of a relationship. My study measures trust by developing a comprehensive dictionary of trust-related words and phrases via natural language processing known as machine learning. I examine a large sample of firm-year text data from the Q&A (question and answer) section of earnings calls. Corporate demonstration of trust may act as a potential substitute for accounting conservatism, for example, in the context of contracting theory. In contrast, trust may complement corporate accounting conservatism strategies, such as part of the overall corporate culture and risk aversion theory. Motivated by this potential dichotomy, my study explores the relationship between trust and accounting conservatism. My results indicate higher levels of firm trust are associated with lower levels of accounting conservatism, which supports the tendency of trust to act as a substitute for accounting conservatism leanings. My study adds weight to prior research by examining trust and further delineating its relationship with conditional and unconditional accounting conservatism. My study complements and extends text analysis research. To my knowledge, it is the first study to develop a corporate tone of trust dictionary via machine learning to examine its relationship with accounting conservatism.



    Dr. K. Praveen Parboteeah, Dissertation Chair 

    Thursday, June 24 th, starting at 1030 am.   Live-streamed 


    Champions make critical contributions to innovation by neutralizing resistance and orchestrating the effort and resources necessary to advance nascent ideas from promising concepts to fully realized products ( Howell & Higgins, 1990a). Research has found that successful innovation outcomes are closely correlated to the incidence of specific behaviors exhibited by champions, who promote innovations within organizations (e.g.  Howell, 2005Taylor, Cocklin, Brown & Wilson-Evered, 2011Yams, 2016). Furthermore, the likelihood of achieving successful outcomes is proportional to the degree and frequency with which these behaviors manifest (e.g.  Walter et al., 2011van Laere & Aggestam, 2016).

    This information is valuable in determining which individuals to empower or promote within an organization when prior information about an individual’s capacity and propensity for these behaviors exists. However, no research has yet addressed the practical challenges of managers who wish to hire individuals with championing potential from a pool of unknown applicants. In such situations, a manager’s job is challenging because there is no history with which to predict individual potential for championing behaviors, nor reliable information to gauge the degree to which individuals have this potential.

    Organizations with more effective champions are better suited to exploit opportunities in the marketplace and successfully capitalize upon them – making champion selection arguably one of the most important organizational undertakings ( Barczak, 1995). Yet, despite clear benefits,  a priori selection of champions in practice remains an ambiguous task, as the predictors of the behaviors that characterize higher performing champions remain unidentified and largely unexplored through empirical research ( Shea & Belden, 2016).

    This research addresses this gap in two parts. The first part examines emotional intelligence (EI) as an antecedent to innovation championing behavior (ICB) and uses linear regression analysis to test this relationship with survey data. Drawing upon Penrose’s ( 1959) Resource-Based View of the firm, I develop propositions about the characteristics of effective champions, and particularly, about the influence of EI on championing behaviors.

    The second part investigates how dimensions of national culture influence the relationship between EI and ICB through the lens of Gelfand’s et al. ( 2006) multi-level Theory of Cultural Tightness-Looseness. Given the proposed contingency between EI and ICB and knowledge that individual expressions of behavior can vary greatly within and across cultures ( Steers & Sánchez-Runde, 2017Triandis, 1994Tsui, Nifadkar & Ou, 2007), the impact that the strength of societal norms and conventions and the threat of sanctions have on the EI-ICB relationship is examined. Using linear regression, survey respondents’ adherence to socio-cultural norms are analyzed with respect to their respective EI and ICB scores, producing empirically validated insights into the moderating effects of this aspect of culture relative to EI and ICB.



    Dr. Andrew Dahl, Dissertation Chair


    Thursday, May 20th at 11:00 am.   Live-streamed

    Advertising on the internet is growing at the fastest rate of any medium today. However, advertisers are struggling with understanding consumers’ preferences and how to effectively reach and relate to them. There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness and preference of consumers when it comes to personalized marketing. Generation Z is the newest adult cohort and is estimated to account for 40 percent of all consumers in the United States. However, marketers have not started to focus efforts on understanding this cohort’s preferences for online advertising in general, and specifically personalized marketing efforts. Social influence and the theory of planned behavior provide insight into how a consumer’s attitudes influence behaviors. The research model was tested using a survey of 471 Generation Z students. This research study contributes to the limited knowledge on the preferences of Generation Z consumers for personalized marketing leading to advertising avoidance and brand avoidance when marketers use non-personalized advertising, and the resulting effects on brand loyalty, while expanding on existing theories of social influence and theory of planned behavior.



    Dr. Maxwell K. Hsu, Dissertation Chair


    Omnichannel for retail organizations has grown significantly over the recent decade. Retailers are challenged to find ways to connect with tech-savvy consumers for repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth referrals. The digital decade has introduced many purchase and communication options such as buy online and ship to consumer, buy online and ship to store, along with social media interactions and the integration of all these channels creates a need for a more seamless transaction to the customer. The Covid-19 crisis has certainly revealed the advantages of omnichannel, especially in its capacity to satisfy customer needs for flexible but also reliable shopping experiences; for the inability to physically shop was limited by the virus and the ability to shop online with delivery increased. In retail, the holy grail is customer trips to the location; the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted those issues as many retailers without omnichannel implementations have gone bankrupt and those retailers that have implemented omnichannel options could overcome the challenges posed in our current climate.

     The challenge for retailers today is that with greater channel options, the more the complex the store environment. Retail stimuli, such as price, store atmosphere, service quality, and product assortments are as important as the integrated channel synergies. A clean store, with great service, competitive attractive prices and optimal product assortments remains top priority as does the need to integrate seamless transactions and channel options. The purpose of essay one is to propose a theoretical framework that will combine the physical brick-n-mortar store attributes combined with omnichannel elements to support store traffic in terms of revisit intentions. Built upon the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) and the stimulus-organism-response (SOR) framework (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974), the proposed conceptual model will give researchers the ability to empirically examine how all the stimuli combined are necessary for improved customer experiences, satisfaction, and revisit intentions. The framework will adopt both the stimulus-organism-response (SOR) framework along with the theory of planned behavior. Ensuring a seamless customer journey, both offline and online, is critically important to assure supplier and retailer relationships (Ailawadi & Farris, 2017), including measuring how successful the brick-n-mortar supports the online sales component.

    One retailer that is experiencing challenges with customer trips is convenience stores. Convenience stores have been slow to respond to the digital decade. Research on the convenience store industry from a consumer perspective is lacking and this lack of consumer academic research on convenience stores is a notable premise of this study. Essay two will apply the theoretical model developed in essay one to customers of convenience stores. The intention of the empirical study is to explain the convenience store’s consumer behaviors/experiences and to figure out how to improve revisit intentions with certain omnichannel aspects. In addition, customer insights into the convenience store environment will help convenience retail practitioners better understand the relationship among customer preferences, hedonic or utilitarian experiences, satisfaction, and revisit intentions. The convenience store industry, with limited capital, must appreciate what channel options will supply them highest return on investment. The industries takeovers have led to many different IT systems that are difficult to integrate and are aging.

    By applying the conceptual model developed in essay one to the convenience store industry, one can confirm through rigorous analysis of customer preferences in convenience stores and identify if they are more hedonic-oriented versus utilitarian-oriented and what elements in the store may add or detract from the overall customer satisfaction and revisit intentions. As previously mentioned, the conceptual model developed is based on the theory of planned behavior and the stimulus organism response framework (Ajzen, 1991; Mehrabian & Russell, 1974). Customers in convenience stores are not returning; could the issue be the stimuli in the store that is leading to decreased visits? Will certain stimuli such as omnichannel help with more of a hedonic customer experience to enhance satisfaction and revisit intentions? Focusing on in-store stimuli, such as price, product assortment, service quality and store atmosphere (overall cleanliness and food cleanliness), combined with a digital platform that support synergistic digital omnichannel options, this research will uncover the customer profile of a convenience store and the needed changes the retail industry needs to overcome their apocalypse.



    Dr. Paul Ambrose, Dissertation Chair


    The marketing landscape has grown complex and fragmented due to the growth of digital touchpoints. The proliferation evolves into siloed, depersonalized, and less effective touchpoints causing discord and broken relationships that result in disengaged customers. To address research and practice needs, we theorize, conceptualize, and empirically validate Touchpoint Orientation (TO), a multi-touchpoint approach to effectively position relevant and personalized touchpoints to establish strong firm-customer relationships. This research offers a framework that leverages antecedent of TO Proactiveness and TO Technology to enhance desired outcomes of customer engagement (CE), trust (T), loyalty (CL), and customer satisfaction (CS). Study 1 supplemented the TO theoretical perspective by gaining support from the practitioner’s perspective, achieved using grounded theory and semi-structured interviews of 21 marketing and sales professionals, academicians, and customers. Study 2 used 2x2x3, a scenario-based experiment in the context of firm-customer touchpoints, by employing 636 consumer participants. It established empirical support for an interaction effect of TO Proactiveness on the relationship between TO Technology and outcome variables (CE, T, CL, and CS) such that the impact of AI-Enabled TO on outcome variables is stronger for Reactive TO than Proactive TO. Our research offers a touchpoint positioning approach for practice and expands the customer engagement framework (Brodie et al., 2011; Vivek et al., 2012).



    Dr. Bakhtear Talukdar and Dr. Avishek Bhandari, Dissertation Chairs


    CEO political ideology refers to whether the CEO’s personal belief system is aligned to conservativism (Republican party) or liberalism (Democrat party). The Upper Echelons Theory, UET (Christensen, et al. 2015 and Hambrick and Mason, 1984) shows how the board and CEO apply personal beliefs to firm decision-making. This study includes two essays. The first essay reviews the impact of the CEO’s political ideology on wealth effects from changes in the levels of idiosyncratic and systematic risk. Idiosyncratic risk is the expected firm specific loss when the loss exceeds the Value-at-Risk (VaR) level (Yamai and Yoshiba 2005) and systematic risk is the risk inherent in the market. No prior literature examines this linkage. The second essay analyzes differences in stock market rewards when new products are announced given the CEO’s political ideology. In particular, the study reviews the impact on firm stock performance by assessing the cumulative abnormal returns (CAR). Prior studies have not linked CEO political ideology with CAR and firm new product announcements. Both essays are expected to inform shareholders and Boards of Directors that Republican CEOs provide positive wealth effects for firms when idiosyncratic and systematic risk changes and that market rewards are more favorable for Republican CEOs when new products are announced.



    Dr. Jimmy Peltier, Dissertation Chair


    Consumers are comfortable with social media and accept firms occupying the same digital space. They consume and create content in social media at varying levels as some consumers more readily engage with firms online than others. Those consumers may not only communicate with the brand, they may develop a brand relationship as a consequence. The progression of brand relationship may develop from brand involvement to brand advocacy where consumers speak positively on the brand’s behalf without compensation. Knowing the consumer factors that lead to online consumer engagement and having a better understanding of branding outcomes will help firms to more effectively plan and execute a social media marketing strategy. Although many studies have considered antecedents, consequences, and measures of online consumer engagement, a comprehensive review of current studies with recommendations for future research is needed to have a better understanding of online consumer engagement. Essay 1 addresses this need.

    In addition, research is needed to examine social media dispositions and social media goals as antecedents of consumer engagement in social media as well as a progression of brand engagement outcomes as a consequence. Essay 2 fills the gap by investigating the effect of consumer antecedents, namely social media dispositions (social media information sharing and social media trust) and social media goals (social media information seeking and social media experience) on consumer engagement. The foundation of the study is grounded in uses and gratifications theory. Further, the study considers the effect consumer engagement has on brand engagement including brand involvement and brand advocacy. Regression analysis and structural equation models (SEM) was used to analyze the data from the completed surveys. The results provide implications for firms including how to more efficiently spend on social media marketing by targeting consumers who are more likely to engage online with appropriate content strategy leading to brand advocacy.



    Dr. K. Praveen Parboteeah, Dissertation Chair


    Organizations continue to be challenged with ethical dilemmas that call into question not only the moral fiber of the organization but the ethical behavior of the individual leaders within the organization. Such dilemmas persist in attracting practitioners and scholars to gather contributing evidence to provide potential preventative solutions and practices. This dissertation focuses on ethical leadership as it relates to the organization and the Leader-Leader relationship. The first discovery is made by proposing that the ethical climate of an organization is impacted by ethical practices of human resource management (HRM) functions specifically the performance appraisal (PA) process and how human resource professionals’ (HRPs) leadership influences the behavior within the organization. The second area of investigation proposes Social Learning Theory (SLT) as a theoretical foundation for investigating the moderating effect that ethical leadership has on the trust relationship between leaders within an organization. This research addresses two key issues. First, it contributes to further understanding how organizations and their leaders impact ethical dilemmas by focusing on the HRM functions, specifically the PA process, within the organization and establishing ethical accountability. Second, organizations can begin to recognize how critical the leader-leader relationship is in influencing behavioral outcomes such as trust recognizing that role modeling is a critical part of establishing and defining the level of trust between leaders.



    Dr. Aditya Simha, Dissertation Chair


    This two-essay study investigated two growing areas of interest related to employee stress: citizenship fatigue and the “dark side” of workplace friendships. Essay one hypothesizes that person-organization fit is negatively related to citizenship fatigue and that citizenship fatigue is positively related to turnover intentions and negatively related to organizational commitment. Essay two hypothesizes workplace friendships are negatively related directly to psychological detachment and work-life balance, while positively related to emotional exhaustion. Both studies applied the conservation of resources (COR) theory and utilized a cross-sectional research design of employees from diverse organizations in a midwestern town collected over T1 and T2. The relationships of the constructs were analyzed via regression analysis and the PROCESS macro in SPSS. Essay one had all hypotheses supported, while essay two had none. Suggestions for future research and implications for practitioners are provided.

    Keywords: Citizenship Fatigue, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Workplace Friendship, Psychological Detachment, Well-Being, Exhaustion, Work-Life Balance, Conservation of Resource (COR) Theory, Border/Boundary Theory



    Dr. Bakhtear Talukdar, Dissertation Chair


    The chief executive officer (CEO) is the face of an organization. Nonetheless, since the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the importance of the chief financial officer (CFO) has increased (Alkhafaji, 2007; Schminke, Arnaud, and Keunzi, 2007). The CEO and CFO are the top two executive positions on the top management team (Hambrick and Mason, 1984). Essay One examines similar characteristics of the CFO and CEO against various firm performance metrics, with emphasis on cash cycle and operating cycle. Cash cycle is the number of days it takes a company to convert its investment in inventory to sales and back into cash. Operating cycle is sum of inventory cycle and receivable cycle. The theory of cash management (Gitman, Moses, and White, 1979) emphasizes the importance of cash flow management as a means for a company to maintain its solvency. The responsibility to maintain solvency primarily belongs to the CFO.

    The performance metrics have not been attributed to any particular characteristics of either the CFO or CEO. This analysis examines which attributes contribute to a CFO or CEO having more influence on firm performance.

    Essay Two continues the study of CFOs and CEOs. I analyze the impact of the CEO’s and CFO’s social capital network on tail risk (defined here as market risk: the average return below the 10th percentile of the yearly distribution of the predicted returns from the market model, and idiosyncratic risk: the average return below the 10th percentile of the yearly distribution of the residuals from the market model). The CEO and CFO are the most dominant members of the top management team, driving organization outcomes by way of strategic initiatives (Amoozegar, Pukthuanthong, and Walker, 2017). Relationships between the CEO, CFO, and a firm’s stakeholder groups form to create a social network that can evolve into social capital (Kanihan, Hansen, Blair, Shore, and Myers, 2013; Pappas, Ongena, Izzeldin, and Fuertes, 2017). I test whether the CEO and CFO, with high social capital, can reduce the probability of their company stock persistently landing in the bottom ten percent of yearly returns.

    Top management team is supported by upper echelons theory (Hambrick and Mason, 1984). Social network is supported by social capital theory (Lin, Burt, and Cook, 2001). Tail risk is supported by extreme value theory (Fisher-Tippett, 1928). There is a gap in the literature void of these three variables being examined together. Analyzing the relationship between CEO and CFO social networks and tail risk is important because extreme negative returns will have a negative effect on market capitalization and valuations. In addition, analyzing the relationship between the C-suite members’ social network and tail risk will provide an indication of the network’s persuasive ability, for example, to obtain additional financing.

    My research questions are as follows:

    1. Which CFO / CEO attributes contribute to greater success as indicated by firm performance measurements?
    2. Can the CFO and CEO parlay their social capital network to keep their company stock from perpetually landing in the bottom 10% of yearly stock price return distributions?



     Dr. Aditya Simha, Dissertation Chair


    The American education system is often regarded as an engine of social mobility (Bowen, Kurzweil, Tobin, & Pichler, 2005).  However, research shows that the higher education system can instead play a major role in perpetuating social inequalities (Radunzel, 2018; Stephens, Fryberg, Markus, Johnson, & Covarrubias, 2012; Covarrubias et al., 2018).  First-generation college students often lack the social and cultural capital of their peers, and graduate at much lower rates than those whose parents have obtained a bachelor’s degree.  This study uses an experimental research design to evaluate an intervention strategy (summer bridge program), grounded in self-efficacy, designed to reduce the gap in college success between first-generation students and their peers.  Differences in self-efficacy development among males and females are examined and explored in greater depth through a second qualitative study, using semi-structured focus group interviews.  Imposter Phenomenon and Stereotype Threat are incorporated to highlight gender differences in self-efficacy.  Contributions will inform retention strategies in higher education, specifically designed to support first-generation college students.



    Dr. Jon M. Werner, Dissertation Chair


    Every day, hundreds of college interns join organizations as the race for highly skilled talent escalates. Two-thirds of college graduates now have at least one internship experience, with nearly fifty percent of interns becoming full-time employees in their sponsoring organization (National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2019). If internships are the nexus for an organization's entry-level jobs, why is there scant empirical evidence on the impact of interns in today’s environment of agile, work teams? This dissertation examines how interns impact work teams based on newcomer socialization theory and the influence of positive expectations on enhancing performance and productivity building on the Pygmalion and Galatea theories. A mixed methods approach is used, whereby both qualitative and quantitative methodologies are used in two related essays (Onwuegbuzie & Corrigan, 2014).

    Essay One consists of two parts or studies. Study one is an interpretative study that seeks to extend the theories of newcomer sensemaking and sensegiving (Weick, Sutcliffe, & Obstfeld,2005) to interns as organizational newcomers. The research evaluates the cues and signals that are sent by team leaders and team members to interns and the cyclical process of interpretation and proactive behaviors. Within the socialization framework, interns adapt and perform which reinforces the commitment of social inclusion - you are one of us. Study two (in Essay One) provides quantifiable evidence that interns have a positive impact on work teams based on team leaders and team members average impact rating.

    Essay Two emphasizes newcomer socialization theory and broadens the conceptual framework to examine the relationships of newcomer/interns, team leaders, and team members during the process of social adjustment. A three-month field study was conducted among diverse work teams – with full responses from 71 interns, 45 team leaders, and 40 team members in manufacturing, technology, and professional services firms. Building on the Pygmalion and Galatea theories, the model defines the relationship of expectations from newcomer/interns, team leaders, and team members on intern empowerment and role performance mediated by social exchanges (Chen & Klimoski, 2003; Chen, 2005). Intern performance expectations had a significant, positive influence on social exchanges with his or her team leader, team member, and the intern’s sense of empowerment. Furthermore, team leader and team member performance expectations positively influenced their ratings of intern role performance.

    This dissertation seeks to expand the body of knowledge of newcomer socialization and to develop a greater understanding of the interdependent process between newcomer/interns, their social context, and their relationships among team leaders and team members. Furthermore, it answers the call from practitioners to quantify the strategic value of internships. Keywords: Newcomer Socialization; Sensemaking; Pygmalion and Galatea Theory; Internships



    Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair


    Companies continue to invest in project management approaches as they increase the likelihood of project success, help advance firm strategies and value, thereby increasing competitive advantage. Increasingly, mature organizations are investing in Project Management Offices (PMOs) to streamline managing of projects, and to avoid pitfalls and failures in project management. However, if PMOs are touted as the solution to the project failure problem, then why are the overall project results still so dismal? To address this research problem, this dissertation evaluated PMO performance using social capital theory, by theorizing and testing the impacts of social capital from both linear and non-linear perspectives. Further, antecedent constructs namely PMO role, locus of control and PMO structure were hypothesized to have differential impacts on PMO social capital. Finally, this study utilized organizational culture theory to hypothesize that organizational culture will have a moderating influence on the relationship between social capital and PMO performance. The study was empirically validated using 209 completed surveys of active PMO participants. Structural equation modeling using Partial Least Squares (PLS) was used to test the hypothesis.

    The study findings reveal that social capital has both a linear and an inverted curvilinear effect on PMO performance. The afore-mentioned antecedents contribute to the creation of social capital, and the evaluation of social capital's distinct dimensions provides valuable insight into the impact on PMO performance. Additionally, the study findings also show that culture negatively moderates the effect of social capital on PMO performance.

    These findings inform the extant literature on PMOs by shifting focus from the decision choices and boundary conditions of the PMO to its value proposition. This dissertation empirically validates that there exists an optimum level of social capital in driving PMO performance, providing a divergent perspective to the typical positive linear effects associated with social capital. The study also offers an alternative perspective on organizational culture and its impact on performance. Findings from this dissertation also have implications for practitioners, as it highlights the importance of PMO structure, control, and social capital in achieving superior PMO performance.

    Keywords: Project Management Office, PMO, social capital, relational social capital, cognitive social capital, structural social capital, PMO performance.



    Dr. K. Praveen Parboteeah, Dissertation Chair


    Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) are federal governed, tax incentivized plans that distribute equity shares of the business to its employees. These types of plans are growing in popularity and are currently underserved in the academic literature (Blasi, Freeman, & Kruse, 2013). While it is widely believed that these types of plans create a highly engaged workforce which drives increased firm performance, this is still highly disputed in the literature (Kim & Patel, 2017). The purpose of this research is to examine the ESOP phenomenon to determine if ESOPs truly impact employee engagement through the ownership mentality construct. This dissertation utilizes social exchange theory and alignment theory to theorize that ownership mentality partially mediates the employee engagement model. Further, using critical mass theory, from physics, this study postulates that firm size negatively influences the relationship ownership mentality has with the antecedents oh employee engagement. The research model is tested using three different models: a) primary literature model, b) primary NBER model, and C) secondary NBER mode. Data for the secondary research model was obtained from a survey funded by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) from 2002 to 2005. The primary research models were tested using a 2020 survey, conducted for this dissertation, of employee owners and non-employee owners, to show that employee ownership had a direct correlation to employee ownership mentality. Employee ownership mentality was then tested in Saks’ (2006) antecedents and outcomes of employee engagement model for partial mediation of the employee engagement relationship. Lastly, critical mass theory was used to establish a moderation effect on ownership mentality based on firm size. The research found support for all its hypotheses, ESOPs do lead to ownership mentality, ownership mentality does partially mediate the employee engagement model and that as firm size increases there is an impact on the ownership mentality relationships. Findings from this study have important implications for research and practice. It provides the framework for all future ESOP research and it provides better guidance to ESOP managers on how to maximize their most important resource, their team.


    Ronald L. Pegram

    Dr. Jimmy Peltier, Dissertation Chair


    Researchers and policy-makers have reviewed the effects that entrepreneurship has on wealth creation across various regional contexts. Typically, entrepreneurship has been associated with higher levels of prosperity and is often the best ‘cure’ for socioeconomic ills within a community. However, the United States (U.S.) has seen a peculiar phenomenon in that minority-owned firms tend to underperform white-owned firms in general. This disparity hampers both the economic prosperity for the affected groups and the U.S., overall.

    The literature does present reasons why minority firms under-perform white firms in general. Some explanations for the performance gap between minority and white firms are: (1) differences in wealth levels between minority and white business owners, (2) location of many minority businesses in primarily minority and low-income areas, (3) evidence of racism in lending decisions made by banks and importantly, (4) the propensity for many minority entrepreneurs to be ‘discouraged borrowers’, who need money but do not apply for loans. Of these various reasons, the discouraged borrower phenomenon is of particular interest for this study because being a discouraged borrower is a cognitive bias that may be reformed. As such, it is a factor that a minority entrepreneur can be aware of and control much easier than is the case with the other factors, such as lower wealth levels, or uneven playing fields because of racism.

    The psychological reasons for discouraged borrowing have not been extensively studied in the literature, and are virtually silent with regard to minority entrepreneurs. This dissertation fills this gap by examining three constructs with the opportunity to explain discouraged borrowing and its impact on performance: (a) how varying levels of entrepreneurial orientation (EO) affect minority entrepreneur levels of discouraged borrowing (b) how varying levels of EO influence the trust levels of minority entrepreneurs for partners of different ethnicities (c) and how the trust levels of minority business owners for business partners who are not of the same ethnicity (co-ethnic) influence social capital and ultimately firm performance. EO is used because strategic orientation is critical for a firm’s success and high levels of EO have been shown to be associated with higher levels of firm performance. An argument will be made that higher levels of EO are also associated with higher levels of both trust and performance for minority entrepreneurs.

    This dissertation uses two models – the first is a multivariate model to show the direct effects the sub-dimensions of EO have on a minority entrepreneur’s propensity to be a discouraged borrower and firm performance. The second is a structural equation model (SEM) to show the role that Interracial Distrust plays in influencing a minority entrepreneur’s social capital, willingness to use bank loans, and firm performance.

    The dissertation provides evidence that EO and Interracial Distrust are competing factors – EO has positive association with firm performance both directly (as shown in the multivariate model) and indirectly but through several channels (as shown in the SEM model). Conversely, Interracial Distrust appears to be negatively correlated with any of the channels associated with greater firm performance. This suggests that although Interracial Distrust may well be a learned response to negative behaviors with white partners who engage minority entrepreneurs, care must still be taken on the part of the minority entrepreneur to adopt productive relationships with external business partners and bankers for the greatest odds of success.


    Amanda Remo

    Dr. Chih-Chen Lee, Dissertation Chair


    A core professional value of the accounting profession is the dedication to the public interest. The purpose of this study is to examine factors that impact attitudes towards the core professional value of public interest dedication. This study finds CPAs who have higher professional commitment have a greater degree of public interest dedication. This study also finds CPAs employed in smaller public accounting firms are more professionally committed than CPAs employed in larger public accounting firms and firm size moderates the relationship between professional commitment and public interest dedication. I find professional commitment positively correlates to public interest dedication but only for CPAs in smaller public accounting firms. This study does not find that job function (taxation, audit and assurance, and advisory) impacts public interest dedication. This study contributes to the existing literature by examining factors that impact the attitudes towards public interest dedication.


    Ahmad M. Kabil

    Dr. Andrew Ciganek, Dissertation Chair


    With the expansion of using Decision Support Systems (DSS) in making strategic business decisions and the wide spectrum of stakeholders affected by such usage, the need for considering ethical issues in the system arises. Despite the growing use of DSS, numerous scandals due to unethical decisions have been reported. Several scholars recommend considering ethical attributes along with the business attributes that are usually employed in the design of DSS. However, the balanced fit between DSS and both business and ethical requirement attributes has not been investigated. The current research is of an exploratory nature to investigate the impact of achieving such balanced fit on system performance. The scope of the study focuses on enterprise resource planning (ERP)-based DSS.

    A research model leveraging the theory of Task-Technology Fit (TTF) is proposed to examine the impact that attaining a balanced fit between ERP-based DSS and both business and ethical requirement attributes has on perceived system performance. A large-scale study was conducted using a random sample of IT practitioners in private commercial companies in the U.S. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of ERP adoption in the world and should offer insights relevant to practitioners in organizations worldwide. Existing scales were adapted and used for most constructs that comprise the research model, while a q-sorting procedure was conducted to develop and validate new constructs. The survey was pilot tested and revised before participants were solicited for the large-scale study.

    The data analysis was conducted in three phases: Descriptive Statistics and Scale Reliability, Multi Regression Modeling, and Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS=SEM). The results show that most ERP-based DSS implementations place a greater emphasis on business requirement attributes over ethical requirement attributes, which results in lower levels of a system’s balanced fit. Organizations that equally emphasize and have a balanced fit between business and ethical attributes have a significant impact on the perceived system performance. Achieving a balanced fit accounts for more variance in perceived system performance than focusing on business or ethical attributes alone. The company’s ethical environment has a positive effect on achieving a balanced fit between business and ethical attributes.

    This dissertation contributes to the DSS literature in three ways. First, it demonstrates empirically the need for achieving a balanced fit of DSS to both business and ethical requirement attributes. Second, it extends TTF to “Task-Technology Balanced Fit.” Third, it adds a new concept of “Ethics-Governance-by-Design” to the DSS research area.

    Keywords: DSS; ERP-based DSS; Theory of Task-Technology Fit (TTF); Task-Technology Balanced Fit (TTBF); Ethics-Governance-by-Design.


    Eric Swan

    Dr. James Peltier, Dissertation Chair


    Technology is re-shaping the patient-provider relationship. Digital health tools such as electronic medical records, patient portals, and telemedicine provide patients the opportunity to engage with healthcare systems remotely at their convenience. Telemedicine, a platform that allows patients to be seen by a provider remotely with audio and video capabilities, shows great potential for the future of healthcare delivery with increased access, convenience, continuity of care, and cost savings. While there is strong promise for telemedicine, implementation by healthcare organizations and adoption by patients have been slower than expected. Previous research has examined telemedicine usage through the technology acceptance model (TAM) and diffusion of innovation (DOI). While these theories have found initial results, they lack in providing conceptual and empirical frameworks that explain value creation and the relational elements of telemedicine. This research builds upon these theories, using elements of TAM, DOI, and SERVQUAL to develop factors exploring patients’ attitudes towards telemedicine usage. Two theoretical models are proposed and examined utilizing Service Dominant Logic (SDL) to extend our knowledge of the role of the patient as value co-creator. Specifically, this study tests the direct relationships of six attitudinal factors that influence patients’ likelihood to use telemedicine. In addition, the examination of antecedents and relationships of telemedicine attitudes provide further insights into the complex nature of digital health. Multiple linear regression and structural equation modeling (SEM) provide analysis of survey results from over 1,000 healthcare patients exploring value co-creation in the telemedicine context.

    This study provides implications for marketing and health literature regarding value co-creation in telemedicine. First, this study offers empirical insights into patients’ attitudes towards telemedicine. Previous studies have not fully examined the impact of patient attitudes on telemedicine usage. In addition, patient attitudinal measurement items are developed and tested that can be utilized for future research. Second, SDL foundational premises offer insights into telemedicine value creation through the lens of the patient. Specifically, this study explores the role of the patient as value co-creator, determiner of value, resource integrator, and initiator of propositions as value-in-use. Further, this study examines the role of value proposition configurations in the development of TM value co-creation. Third, results indicate patients tech savviness significantly influences all TM usage attitudes in the Model 2 framework including relative service quality, access, care uses, impact on patients, and likelihood to use. These findings align with SDL recognizing the importance and role of patients’ operant resources in value determination and usage decision-making. Finally, the examination of antecedents and relationships of telemedicine provides further knowledge into the multi-faceted and complex telemedicine decision-making process.



    Dr. James Peltier, Dissertation Chair

    Friday, May 17th, 9:30 a.m. | Hyland 2203


    This study proposes an empirical model to investigate organizational learning’s (OL) and entrepreneurial orientation’s (EO) impact on the external relational network (ERN) engagement and firm performance of minority ethnic businesses (MEBs). Multivariate regression analysis and structural equation modeling (SEM) are used to examine the individual and combined relationship of the variables. The study population comprises African-American, Asian, Latino, and Native-American business owners located in the U.S. Midwest region area. The results indicate that OL and EO incentivize MEBs to engage with ERNs to extract knowledge-based resources to gain superior performance.




    Dr. Dennis A. Kopf, Dissertation Chair

    Friday, May 17th, 11:00 a.m. | Hyland 2203


    This dissertation is a two-paper mixed methods study exploring the micro and macro operations of the for-profit higher education industry. The analysis comprises of one-on-one interviews and an electronic survey; utilizing a sample of current and former for-profit higher education employees. Paper one focuses on the ethics of salespeople specifically looking at ways for-profit college recruiters’ (salespeople) rationalize their (un)ethical behavior through neutralization techniques. Techniques of Neutralization can affect ethical intentions, allowing for (un)ethical behavior to occur (Serviere-Munoz & Mallin, 2013). Paper two focuses on organizational ethical climates of for-profit higher education institutions utilizing stakeholder theory (Donaldson & Preston, 1995) along with organizational ethical climates (Wimbush & Shepard, 1994; Cullen, Parboteeah & Victor, 2003). The paper specifically, investigates if stakeholders have an impact and put pressure on organizational ethical climates in for-profit higher education institutions. The second study explores if converting for-profits into nonprofit higher education institutions has an effect on organizational ethical climate compared to publicly traded for-profit higher education institutions.

    The analysis comprised of exploratory sequential mixed method design; utilizing a sample of current and former employees of for-profit higher education institutions. Model one findings from the interviews indicated that neutralization techniques were utilized by salespeople within the for-profit higher education industry and those techniques resulted in (un)ethical behavior. Specifically, results from the quantitative analysis show that four of the five techniques of neutralization were valid and significant measures (denial of responsibility, denial of victim, condemn the condemner and appeal to higher loyalties) while denial of injury measure did not satisfy the validity check. From a macro perspective common themes from interviews suggested that stakeholders did have an impact on the organization’s ethical climates. The quantitative study resulted in an alternative model that added employee engagement as the dependent variable. Overall, the quantitative data proved that ethical climate does have a significant impact on various moderating and independent variables. Ethical climate negatively impacts denial of injury and stakeholder pressure. Where ethical climate positively impacts ethical intentions directly and employee engagement indirectly. The impact of internal and external stakeholders within the organization is a negative relationship on ethical intentions and employee engagement.

    Mike Chitavi Dissertation Defense, Thursday March 22 at 12:30pm in Timmerman Auditorium


    This three-essay dissertation examines contemporary issues in Algorithmic Trading (AT) along the Pathway of commodities futures. The Pathway is defined as a route, formed by linked securities in the same or a different exchange (i.e., the Chicago Board of Trade has linked futures of soy bean, meal, and oil futures—also called the Soybean Complex[ 1]).

    In reviewing the technology and capital markets microstructure innovation, empirical studies find that the AT's technology is important to understanding how an algorithmic trade is processed by an exchange, the different types of trading, the objectives and challenges. Studies conclude that AT is data-driven and heavily reliant on cutting edge infrastructure (Treleaven et al., 2013). Most recently, capital markets infrastructure innovations have created a new AT strategy called High-Frequency Trading (HFT), which is defined as an investment strategy aimed at making profits by rapidly buying and selling securities, with a typical holding period of seconds or milliseconds (Brogaard, Hendershott, & Riordan, 2014). The main emphasis within generic AT is holding periods that are in minutes, days, or longer, whereas HFT, by definition, holds its position for a very short horizon and tries to close the trading day in a neutral position (Brogaard et al., 2014).

    Within the agricultural commodities sector, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that soybean crop production has exponentially grown since the 1950s, while within the grains derivatives markets, research finds that soybean futures price discovery is dynamic and evolving (Adrangi, Chatrath, & Raffiee, 2006; Han, Liang, & Tang, 2013; Mitchell, 2010; Rechner & Poitras, 1993; Simon, 1999; Tinker, Gerlow, Irwin, & Zulauf, 1989). According to research by Joseph (2014), new information entering the grains futures markets is quickly and efficiently incorporated into security prices. Furthermore, Lehecka, Wang, & Garcia (2014) suggests, price gains or losses are gone in ten minutes. Alongside this, the introduction of algorithmic trading and its profitability has spurred interest among traders and academic researchers. Consequently, AT studies are finding improved price discovery, while other studies are raising concerns about hikes in volatility and market impact, among other challenges (Aı̈t-Sahalia & Jacod, 1999; Brogaard, Hendershott, & Riordan, 2014; Chaboud, Chiquoine, Hjalmarsson, & Vega, 2014; Pirrong, Aı̈t-Sahalia, & Jacod, 1999).

    Chapter 2 examines whether or not information transfer differs in the spot and futures markets along the commodities futures Pathway during contango and backwardation. Prior research (Brooks, Rew, & Ritson, 2001; Chen, Lee, & Zeng, 2014; Chow, McAleer, & Sequeira, 2000;Judge & Reancharoen, 2014; Nicolau & Palomba, 2015;Pindyck, 2001;Weron & Zator, 2014) finds links between spot and futures prices. This literature has focused on the spot and futures price linkages.  For simplicity, Contango is defined as the spot prices being less than the futures prices, while backwardation is the reverse. As the chapter demonstrates, the review of contango and backwardation along the Pathway allows an investigation on additional scholastic areas.

    Chapter 3 examines the Pathway along the commodities futures markets by combining information transfer and how it relates to futures prices. It evaluates the joint dynamics of information transfer across different counter-claim markets of futures by estimating the speed and direction of information and prices within the Pathway. This study will contribute to the arbitraging trader’s holistic understanding of price discovery among commodities that are linked and provide a better understanding of the direction and movement of price and volume across markets. This will contribute to the body of literature on AT price discovery across markets.

    Chapter 4 is a study of whether AT strategies along the commodity Pathways are profitable. Earlier studies in commodity futures trading showed mixed results. For example dynamic strategies were found to improve portfolio performance; but introduced significant complexity (Fung & Hsieh, 1997). Other strategies demonstrate that the annualized returns of futures traditionally have shown zero returns. More recent studies by Erb and Harvey (2006) contradicts this finding, and demonstrates that futures portfolios can act like equity portfolios with profitable returns. The results of this study may be important because the isolation of profitable trades may help traders to devise better cross-market trading strategies to achieve higher portfolio returns and lower risk exposure .

    Collectively, these three essays examine information transfer and pricing dynamics within the Pathway of commodities futures. Therefore, this study contributes to the study of securities interconnectedness and the cross-markets feedback-effects that are conditional to information transfer, price dynamics, and the innovated microstructure. It will also contribute to the body of knowledge of spot and futures market, the cross-market linkages, the debate on contango and backwardation and price discovery. This will also advance the practitioner’s trading techniques.

    Chair: Dr. Pascal Letourneau

    [1]The Soybean Complex refers to “the commodity futures market for soybeans, soybean oil (soyoil) and soybean meal.” Source: Barkley’s Comprehensive Financial Glossary, located at



    Dr. Balaji Sankaranarayanan, Dissertation Chair
    Monday, Nov. 6th, 1:00 p.m. | Timmerman Auditorium

    Recent attention upon patient satisfaction within healthcare has increased the complexity of organizational management in hospitals. Recent regulatory changes such as the Medicaid Value Based Purchasing program no longer allow leaders to focus only upon health outcomes and fiscal bottom lines; a critical concern is the perception of the health care experience from the patient perspective. This dissertation seeks to theorize and build a nomological network of antecedents to patient satisfaction from distinct theoretical perspectives, to move towards a theory of patient satisfaction, and to contribute to and extend existing work in healthcare research. To this end, this dissertation will first examine patient satisfaction as an outcome variable, seeking to establish a robust and consistent outcome variable. Second, this research will introduce the concept of patient-technology fit, expanding previous research on task-technology fit to the patient experience. Finally, a direct examination of the impact of electronic patient portals upon patient satisfaction is posited to help explain health information technologies and their impact upon satisfaction. Primary survey instruments will be used to assess patient satisfaction scores, as well as utilization of existing scales to measure key variables. Structural equation modeling will be used to explore these relationships.

    Keywords: Patient Satisfaction, patient-technology fit, electronic patient portals



    Dr. Pascal LeTourneau, Committee Chair
    Wednesday, Nov. 22nd, 8:00 a.m. | Timmerman Auditorium

    The predictability of inflation, deflation, and stagflation is an important issue because economists and policymakers in the Federal Reserve, whose responsibility it is to shape and guide policy, need methods to determine the direction and size of changes in policy positions. A current gap in the applicable body of knowledge is that, despite adding a commodity index to adjudicate the ‘price puzzle’ in some vector autoregression (VAR) analyses, the reason for doing so has yet to be specified. A commodity index typically contains a mix of several elements, such as all precious metals, oil, produce, etc. The current literature shows much discussion on the non–theoretical uses of VARs, as well as structural VARs (SVARs) but there are still perplexing anomalies and, few studies have been conducted over serious economic downturns. However, in this study, a method of grounded theory was used to develop VARs that included a US version of gold lease rates (GLRs) in lieu of a commodity index that spanned two decades inclusive of the Great Recession. This study also explores the endogeneity associated with inclusion and exclusion of commodity related explanatory variables within VAR models.



    Dr. K. Praveen Parboteeah, Dissertation Chair
    Wednesday, Nov. 22nd, 2:00 p.m. | Timmerman Auditorium

    Annually, since 2010, United States employees within the nursing profession experienced annual workplace violence rates more than nine times the national average (US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011, 2016). This rate, since 2010, was rivaled only by law enforcement patrol officers and correctional officers at more than 18 and 22 times the national average, respectively (US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011, 2016). However, Andersson & Pearson (1999) suggests the majority of workplace aggressive behavior is a less extreme form termed incivility. Porath & Pearson (2013) suggests 98 percent of the employees they studied over a 14 year period were the object of this less extreme form. Extant research suggests workplace incivility leads to a 78 percent decrease in organizational commitment, a 66 percent decrease in performance, a 48 percent decrease in “work effort,” a 47 percent absenteeism rate, a 38 percent reduction in work quality, and a 12 percent job turnover rate (Porath & Pearson, 2013). Furthermore, the annual monetary cost to the health care industry of job turnover among nurses is estimated at $11,581 per nurse (Lewis & Malecha, 2011).
    The affect of incivility among nurses has been found to lead to emotional exhaustion (Laschinger, Finegan, & Wilk, 2009) and adversely impacts subordinate trust in their manager (Pearson, Andersson, & Wegner, 2001). Subordinate emotional exhaustion (Cropanzano, Rupp, & Byrne, 2003) and lack of trust in their manager (Brower, Lester, Korsgaard, & Dineen, 2008) have been shown to have an adverse impact on subordinate task performance, organizational citizenship behavior, organizational commitment, and intention to quit. While health care industry specific incivility intervention stratgies have been proposed (Leiter et al., 2012, 2011), a sustained and constructive impact has not prevailed within the health care industry (US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011, 2016). However, manager ethical leadership has been shown to have a constructive impact on subordinate emotional exhaustion (Mo & Shi, 2015) and subordinate trust (Brown & Mitchell, 2010). Hence, this study addressed two research questions in the setting of United States health care between nurse managers and nurse subordinates. Firstly, structural equation modeling was used to analyze 211 nurse subordinate survey responses gathered across 42 US states constructed from published scales to quantify the mediating effects of subordinate interpersonal trust and emotional exhaustion between nurse manager incivility and nurse subordinate outcomes of affective organizational commitment and intention to quit. Secondly, this study demonstrated the potential of nurse manager ethical leadership to almost completely neutralize the adverse impact of perceived nurse manager incivility on nurse subordinate affective organizational commitment and intention to quit. Study limitations are discussed and future opportunities for further research are offered. Contributions to academia and practice are also presented.



    Dr. Rashiqa Kamal, Dissertation Chair
    Monday, Oct. 30th, 3:00 p.m. | Timmerman Auditorium
    Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) offers a new framework for organizations to take a portfolio view of risk management with a goal to minimize the occurrence of enterprise-wide risks to achieve organizational objectives. Due to potential benefits related to ERM program implementation, many companies, particularly those in the finance and insurance industries, have invested significant capital resources in embracing this new concept. As important as is prior research in helping to understand the benefits of ERM adoption, there are still questions from both practitioners and academics about the overall efficacy of the ERM framework.
    Therefore, this dissertation outlines two plausible areas related to the value of ERM program that prior research has done little. First, to investigate whether or not the quality implementation of ERM program reduces the risk of financial statement manipulations by companies, thereby increasing the quality of reported accounting information used by the public. Second, this paper examines whether or not a quality ERM program influences external auditors’ assessments of the risk profile of companies in the conduct of an audit. These assessments by the auditor are examined from the perspective of audit fees and audit report lags associated with the annual financial statement of companies.
    In analyzing these issues, this study focuses on insurance companies using a set of ERM scores published by Standard & Poor’s on insurance companies covering the period 2010-2015 to measure the quality ERM adoption. Other secondary data required for the study are obtained from COMPUSTAT and Audit Analytics. A fixed effects regression model and a generalized method of moments (GMM) estimator are respectively utilized to analyze the questions related to the purpose of this paper and to perform robustness test.
    Evidence from the study shows that high-quality enterprise risk management programs contribute to improving the quality of financial statement reporting. Also, evidence from the study indicates that high-quality risk programs implemented by companies may influence auditors’ actions in the conduct of an audit.



    Dr. Abbie Daly, Dissertation Chair
    Thursday, Nov. 2nd, 9:30 a.m. | Timmerman Auditorium

    Providing insights into managerial actions represents an ongoing objective and important contribution of business and accounting research. Leasing activities, given their magnitude and importance to operations and financing mix choices, provide a rich context for gaining insights into managerial decision-making and the related financial statement impacts. Further, given the significance of leased operations to retail firms, these chapters and their related hypotheses and activities emphasize on the actions of retail firms’ management. This dissertation outlines three separate, but related, papers (presented as Chapter 2, 3, and 4) exploring financing and operating managerial decision-making in the context of lessee retail firms.
    Chapter 2 explores managerial actions and related financing decisions in anticipation of an impending change in accounting policy. This chapter employs an ex ante study approach to gauge the nature, timing, and extent of managerial actions before the mandated implementation date of a new leasing standard. Specifically, this study explores whether, and the degree to which, retailers have reduced other debt obligations to accommodate the additional lease liabilities that will be reflected as a result of the new standard.
    Chapter 3 studies managerial actions and related operating decisions by examining the degree to which operating lease expenses and the related lease commitments exhibit “stickiness” characteristics. This chapter presents an approach that uses, and builds on, the methodologies of the seminal work of Anderson, Banker, and Janakiraman (2003) where they found that a firm’s SG&A expenses increase more with a sales increase than those expenses decrease with an equivalent sales decline.
    Finally, Chapter 4 presents an instructional case study and supporting materials that provide a link from the applied archival research studies to pedagogical approaches whereby managerial actions can be modeled by students. The case study asks students to make decisions about lease commitments and debt obligations in light of the impending leasing standard and its potential balance sheet impacts. The supporting materials provide a “scaffolded” design whereby students engage in classroom activities and are provided support to build the competencies necessary for analysis and presentation of the expected financial statement impacts. The case also requires students to make recommendations for managerial decisions. Together these chapters, which comprise the dissertation, seek to offer a unique approach whereby applied research is meaningfully and purposely connected to pedagogical materials.