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Dissertation Defenses


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.

Previous Defenses


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.