Tag Archive: Business

Embedding Sustainability into Practice: Redesigning Management Accounting Curriculum in Higher Education (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

This study explores how higher education can enable the management accounting curriculum to include sustainability content and learning outcomes to encourage future accountants and leaders to use such information in organizational decision-making. IT examines current systems thinking theories, and studies how the leverage points available through the management accounting function may assist organizations to embed sustainability into daily practice. To support this transformation, the research reviews the knowledge-base, activities, and tools of management accounting and suggests how to incorporate sustainability principles and criteria into the curriculum within a community college in British Columbia (BC) that has established sustainability as a strategic goal. Action research interviews explore how the management accounting curriculum within the school of business could be enhanced to support organizations—and by extension society—in embedding sustainability into practice, and identifies recommendations for curriculum re-design at the department level, and key elements of change-making to enable IT.

An analysis of earnings management: A comparison of seven countries (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

This article examines the systematic differences in earnings management including the possible impact of cross-country differences in culture on earnings management in seven countries: India, Hong Kong (China), Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. A set of traditional financial variables (firm performance, business cycles) and cultural variables (Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism, Power Distance) were used to test the hypotheses developed in this paper. Regression results indicate both the traditional financial variables and cultural variables can explain the choices of accounting accruals in different countries when the Jones Model serves as a dependent variable. Also, the Jones Model provides the most statistical explanatory power in the regression model on the international level. This paper’s primary contribution to the existing literature is the thorough analysis of discretionary accruals and their relationship to traditional financial variables and cultural variables using a large data set.

Relationship between employees’ beliefs regarding training benefits and employees’ organizational commitment in a petroleum company in the State of Qatar (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

The study examined the relationship between senior staff Qatari national employees’ beliefs regarding training benefits as measured by Noe’s and Wilk’s (1993) benefits of employee training and employees’ organizational commitment as measured by Meyer’s and Allen’s (1997) three-component model of organizational commitment. The study addressed the research question: What is the relationship between employees’ beliefs regarding training benefits and employees’ organizational commitment in a petroleum company? This relationship was assessed through a quantitative associational research design. From the study site, Qatar petroleum, a total of 283 responses were analyzed using stepwise regression analysis. The findings suggest that, first, there is a positive relationship between employees’ beliefs regarding training benefits, as measured by personal; career; and job related benefits, and employees’ organizational commitment, as measured by affective; continuance; and normative commitment, in a petroleum company. Second, personal benefits of employee training and age (i.e. a demographic factor) are the best predictor of affective and normative commitment. Third, career benefits of employee training and years of service (i.e. a demographic factor) are the best predictor of continuance commitment.

Essays on organizational design (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

We examine organizational design in three different settings. In the first setting, we examine the optimal level of asymmetric information between an informed manager and an uninformed principal. We find that the principal’s profitability is non-monotonic in the manager’s private information. In the second setting, we examine an outsourcing decision and show that outsourcing to a supplier is optimal when the cost of the task being outsoucced is significant, and the supplier can shoulder large liabilities without additional compensation. The final setting studies the efficiency of an auction to allocate a scare resource within a firm. We find that the auction yields approximately 90% of the profits available under the optimal second-best mechanism.

Decision-making strategies used by California school districts’ chief business officials in the selection of construction management services as a project delivery system for construction projects over five million dollars (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

Purpose. The four study purposes within selected K-12 public school districts with school construction projects funded by 1998 Proposition 1A General Bond funds were: 1) to describe criteria utilized by selected CBOs to obtain approval of CM as the project delivery system for school projects funded by 1998 1A General Bond funds; 2) to describe factors which support CM projects in selected districts; 3) to describe factors which hinder CM projects in selected districts; and 4) to describe methods used to measure outcomes of CM as a project delivery system for school construction projects in selected districts in four areas: a) project delivery time; b) desired level of quality; c) project budget; and d) project owner satisfaction. Methodology. This study was descriptive. A questionnaire was developed to guide data collection. Each of the eight chief business officials who were purposively selected was interviewed. Qualitative methods were used for collecting and reporting results. Findings. The key finding from the study suggest school districts select construction management services to: 1) control cost and bring project in within budget; 2) provide schedule flexibility to bring project in on time; 3) provide owner with shared construction management responsibility. Conclusions. When responses were summarized, key findings resulted: there is no one preferred project delivery system. Study respondents recommend analysis of: 1) type of project, 2) size of project, 3) budget, 4) in-house knowledge and skills, and 5) completion timeline chief business officials used to select a project delivery system. With strong district administration support and continuous in-depth training programs, staffs acquire training and skills in order to: 1) explore available delivery options, 2) identify and communicate important role responsibilities, and 3) establish guidelines which successfully measure the outcomes. Recommendations. As a result of the study, the researcher recommends ongoing training in the area of school construction management. Essential skills were deemed necessary in selecting an appropriate project delivery system.

Learning how to learn from each other: The educational possibilities of a company work improvement team (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

The purpose of this study was to contribute to our understanding of work improvement as conducted by a manufacturing improvement team, and in particular, to our understanding of the role that reflection might play in team members learning and the success of the initiative. An Agricultural marketing cooperative, owned by member food-processing cooperatives, was selected as the site for this study because tasks and reflection on practices might be more observable in work done by natural competitors engaged in cooperation. The following questions guided this research: 1) How do team members prospectively and retrospectively describe and understand their project work and the role that learning plays in achieving project objectives? 2) What work tasks are actually performed by the team during their work together, and how do the tasks compare with those prescribed by the literature? 3) According to Schons ladder of reflection, which “rungs” of reflectivity are engaged by or accessible to project team members while conducting their improvement work? 4) How, if at all, does teamwork performed at different rungs of reflectivity seem to connect with a qualitatively more or less comprehensive kind of learning? Open-ended qualitative interviews were conducted with all team members immediately before, immediately after, and then again seven weeks after teamwork sessions. Interviews were analyzed along with data from observation and tape-recording of the teams meetings and review of relevant documents. Participants hold expansive prospective aspirations about what the group might accomplish, hoping or even expecting that teamwork will identify problems at “root cause” of the work process under review. Despite the expansive aspirations, the teamwork process effectively narrows the scope of its work. IT redefines an “adaptive” challenge problem known, solution and implementation unknown; learning required) into a “technical” one problem, solution and implementation known; learning not required). IT also prevents reflection from taking place at any but the lowest rungs. The groups suppression of a single dramatic instance of higher rung reflection is crucial to its maintaining a narrower focus that produces success as a modest procedural remedy rather than a substantive engagement of systemic improvement.

Individual and situational factors affecting transfer of training in a call center environment (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

In the past 35 years, the average U.S. corporation expenditure per employee on training has increased over ten-fold, yet research studies covering the same time period estimate that only 10-15% of skills and knowledge acquired during training actually transfer to the job. A study was conducted using Mathieu and Martineaus model of training motivation to better understand which factors predicted for motivation to transfer learning on the job in a call center environment. Participants from a large mid-western insurance company call center n = 195) participated in a longitudinal study to determine the relationship of individual factors, situational factors, and reaction to training with motivation to transfer training. Pre training survey scales measured variables motivation to learn, locus of control, self-efficacy, learning confidence, managerial support, organizational support, and job support. Post-training survey scales measured reaction to training and motivation to transfer training. Pearson correlation, hierarchical multiple regression, and factor analysis were used to understand correlation among the predictor variables and between the predictors and the criterion variable motivation to transfer. Results indicated that while all variables of interest correlated with motivation to transfer in Pearson tests, only situational factors and reaction to training predicted for transfer motivation when entered into the final hierarchical multiple regression model.

Middle manager leadership competencies in China: Perceptions of MBA and EMBA students at Nankai University (Education Papers posted on March 24th, 2013 )

The purpose of the study was to measure students’ perceptions of the importance of leadership competencies to the success of middle managers in China; investigate the relationships between those perceptions and the participants’ demographic backgrounds; and explore the perceived effectiveness of developmental activities as these contributed to middle managers’ leadership competencies. Utilizing a modified U.S. competency model, the researcher developed, translated, validated and distributed a questionnaire to MBA and EMBA students at Nankai University, China. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression were used to answer the research questions. Study findings revealed that all of the leadership competencies were perceived to be important to the success of middle managers in China. The top five most frequently identified competencies were: Accountability, Team Building, Relationship Management, Continual Learning and Conflict Management. Significant regression results were found between the independent variables (age, gender, highest position held, program enrolled, size of organization, ownership of organization, business type of organization) and two competency categories (Results Driven, Business Acumen). The most effective leadership development activity was “special projects or assignment within one’s own job responsibilities”, while the least effective activity was “computer based learning”. Based on the study findings, recommendations were proposed to current and potential middle managers, executives and HR departments, education institutes, government and future researchers.

Developing 21st century public leaders: Competency-based executive development (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

The government of the United States faces many challenges in the 21 st century. One of the most pressing relates to its human capital. Concern about the looming wave of retirements and the managerial capacity of federal agencies has prompted numerous studies and reports calling for improved programs of executive development that are targeted to, among other things, the new environment of growing globalization and networked governance. These studies have questioned the adequacy of current leadership competency models for executive development. After reviewing theories and history of leadership development, two phases of research were conducted in order to compare recommendations for updated competency models and the actual models used in the federal government. The first phase involved the use of the conventions of meta-analysis in which a systematic search of the literature identified all scholarly studies since 1990 that have recommended distinct competencies. Fifty-eight such studies on competencies were identified; twenty-four of which specifically addressed leadership competency models. The second phase entailed elite interviews with the directors of executive development within all federal departments, as well as the within department agencies and of independent agencies with more than 10,000 employees. These interviews identified the competency models now being used by each department or agency to guide executive development and education efforts. This research provides an analysis of the patterns of divergence between the latest expert models) of competencies and the current practices of the U.S. government and offers recommendations for Chief Human Capital Officers on executive development.

Factors that affect succession in African American family-owned businesses: A case study (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

A great deal of literature confirms the fact that small family-owned businesses rarely extend beyond the founder of the business. This study explored and identified factors that helped to create a successful family business transition for two African American family-owned businesses in the San Antonio area. One family experienced working through a well thought-out succession plan that successfully passed the mantel from one generation to the next, while the other family experienced going through an unexpected, unplanned business succession that was also successful. Understanding the factors that help create a successful family business transition is difficult because there is very little scholarly research that has an in-depth focus on the African American family business. The research design used was a Phenomenological Qualitative Historical Case Study. The findings revealed that both families success may be attributed to factors such as being raised by both of their parents and being taught family values, hard work, responsibility, and accountability. Self-preservation, the first law of nature, was taught to make them aware of the importance of taking care of self first, so they could take care of others. As children, they watched their parents at work, which gave them the opportunity to shape and mold their own work ethic with a strong family influence. Most of the children in both families were socialized into the family business and never worked elsewhere. Both families were very active in church and made the church the center of their Social life. All of the family members had mentors and/or role models as a child, at school, and at work. The researcher concludes that IT is important to note a plan for succession should consist of three elements, all of which mush precede the actual succession by a few motions. A plan for succession occurred in one case; however, in the second case, IT occurred several months after succession took place.