You are here

PhD Candidates

Jenna Burke
Geneen Fellow
Environmental, Social, and Governance Risk Performance:  Implications for Audit and Corporate Governance Research"
Dissertation proposal defense:
May 4, 2016
Committee Chair: Rani Hoitash (Bentley University)
Committee Members: Ari Yezegel (Bentley University), Udi Hoitash (Northeastern University)

Concerns regarding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues continue to rise. Media scrutiny of these issues has become prevalent, as highlighted by recent corporate scandals such as BP, Target, and Volkswagen. While tools and strategies for oversight of these issues are developing, our understanding of their efficacy and implications is limited. My dissertation will consist of three archival studies that investigate oversight of ESG-related issues. Taken together, these three studies contribute to an emerging accounting literature that has primarily focused on the disclosure and assurance of ESG information. I instead focus on the oversight of ESG-related risk and performance, which is an area of interest for practice. Specifically, I examine ESG-related performance as an outcome of certain governance structures and ESG-related risk as a determinant to both audit and governance responses. Using two new datasets that capture (1) the heterogeneity of board-level committees with ESG-related responsibilities, and (2) ESG-related reputation risk, I hope to contribute to an emerging area at the intersection of audit and corporate governance.

Joy Gray
“Internal Auditors and Information Technology Audits:  Exploring the Concept of the Integrated IT Audit”
Dissertation proposal defense: Dec 18, 2015
Committee Chair: Mohammad Abdolmohammadi (Bentley University)
Committee Members: Scott Boss (Bentley University), Gerrit Sarens (Universite Catholique de Louvain)

The practice of integrated auditing is defined by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) as auditing that looks at more than one aspect of the area under review; these aspects may include financial, operational, information technology (IT), regulatory, compliance, environmental, and/or fraud related audit objectives.  The objective of this dissertation is to examine the practice of IT audit within the internal audit function (IAF) in general, and integrated IT audit activities in particular, to increase knowledge of how businesses monitor and evaluate IT investments.  Increased understanding of the practice of integrated IT audit by the IAF will provide evidence of how internal auditors’ IT audit activities contribute to overall IT governance, an important subset of corporate governance.  This dissertation will consist of two studies, which are described in the following paragraphs.

Candice Hux
"Auditors' Use of Specialists in Audit Engagements: Implications for Audit Quality"
Dissertation proposal defense: April 27, 2016
Committee Chair: Jean C. Bedard (Bentley University)
Committee Members: Tracy Noga (Bentley University), Sandra Vera-Munoz (University of Notre Dame)

Auditors are increasingly using specialists on audit engagements. This trend responds to the growing complexity of accounting transactions (e.g., asset valuation, estimates) and the nature of clients’ operations (e.g. reliance on technology, transacting in foreign markets). These increased complexities are directly associated with increasing audit risk, and the use of specialists is one way auditors can address that risk. My dissertation unfolds in three studies that seek to address the overarching question of whether and how the use of specialists on audit engagements is associated with audit quality.

Paul LedouxLedoux
"Towards an Organizational Model of Excellence: A Neo-Aristotelean Approach to Business Ethics"
Dissertation proposal defense: May 9, 2012
Committee Chair: Anthony Buono (Bentley University)
Committee Member: Robert Frederick (Bentley University)

Paul’s primary research interests are in the field of Business Ethics with a focus on Virtue Ethics. His current work considers the appropriateness of using virtue ethics at the organizational level and develops a conceptual account of virtue ethics which can be applied at that level. Paul’s dissertation develops a model of a virtuous organization and investigates how the virtues are selected, developed, and exhibited at the organizational level.

Mark-David McLaughlin
"A Resource View of Information Security Incident Response" 
Dissertation proposal defense: May 19, 2016
Committee Chair: Janis Gogan (Bentley University)
Committee Members: W. Alec Cram (Bentley University), John D'Arcy (University of Delaware)

The subject of my proposed 3-paper dissertation is effective information security (InfoSec) incident response. I chose this topic because of its strong fit with the work I do in my full time position as a Team Lead in the Security Research and Operations group at Cisco. Private and public organizations, whether large or small, need policies and procedures in place to ensure that computing and networking equipment and software run reliably and that information assets are protected from unauthorized disclosure or inadvertent destruction. Unfortunately, despite efforts to prevent them, InfoSec incidents are frequent occurrences: in 2015, an overage of 160,000 daily occurrences of InfoSec incidents (across 10,000 large organizations) were reported. InfoSec incidents can disrupt operations; harm employees, customers, or business partners; degrade data quality; damage company or brand reputation; and cause financial losses. Thus far in my doctoral work with Bentley Professor of Information & Process Management, Janis Gogan, I have conducted a systematic, ten-year review of 89 information security studies published in the most prominent information systems journals (the AIS Senior Scholars Basket of eight journals) and a second systematic ten-year review of 13 studies (12 published outside the Senior Scholars Basket) that focused on InfoSec incident preparation and response. I have also conducted two field-based case studies addressing different InfoSec response issues.

Kenneth Mullane
"What to do Amid Virtual Team Disruption? Ethical Climate and Trust as Determinants of Virtual Team Member Effort and Performance"
Dissertation proposal defense: February, 2015
Committee Chair: Marcus Stewart (Bentley University)
Committee Members: Jill Brown (Bentley University), Staci Furst-Holloway (University of Cincinnati)

The purpose of my dissertation is to integrate and advance theory on ethical climate and trust within the context of virtual teams, which are ubiquitous in the modern workplace.  Although the effect of trust on individual behavior has been investigated in traditional, face-to-face teams, the influence of ethical climate at this level of analysis remains unexplored.  Using social exchange theory, my research contributes to the literature by considering how ethical climate interacts with trust within the context of a virtual environment amidst disruption. Specifically, I am utilizing a two study, multi-method approach to examine the influence of team members’ perceptions of a positive ethical climate on sustained virtual team member effort amidst team- or task-related disruptions.

Vasilia Vasiliou
"Increasing Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards:  Voices of Male and Female Directors in the U.S."
Dissertation proposal defense: June 9, 2016
Committee Chair: Susan Adams (Bentley University)
Committee Members: Patricia Flynn (Bentley University), Diana Bilimoria (Case Western Reserve University)

Academics and practitioners have long followed board composition, including the advancement of women onto corporate boards. However, despite decades of equal opportunity policies, labor market progress for women, and a wealth of data and research, women remain significantly underrepresented in such high-earnings, high-status positions. A recent literature has emerged that underscores the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards while discussing associated implications. This same body of literature highlights the “urgent need” for more scholarship and theoretical development on board diversity. To better understand the reasons behind the persistent underrepresentation of women on boards (WOB), this literature calls for the need to access boards directly for data, as opposed to focusing solely on human capital and firm characteristics. To address this need, this dissertation research will use a qualitative interview approach and employ grounded theory techniques to access both male and female directors. The objective is to investigate how and why corporate boards appoint members and, specifically, how and why they appoint female members.

Jessica Zinger
"Are Prediction Markets a Viable Solution to Common Business Challenges? Applications and Limitations of Corporate Prediction Markets"
Dissertation proposal defense: August 17, 2016
Committee Chair: Aaron Jackson (Bentley University)
Committee Members: Jeffrey Livingston (Bentley University), Greg Reilly (University of Connecticut - Storrs), Marcus Stewart (Bentley University)

Prediction markets are a relatively new phenomenon, having been introduced roughly 30 years ago as a way to leverage the market pricing mechanism in information aggregation.  Subsequent research has shown the markets, both in lab and field settings, provide accurate (and often superior) forecasts.  The bulk of research, to date, has been centered in the field of economics.  Despite numerous articles on the application of prediction markets in businesses (Hewlett-Packard, Google, Ford) the management literature has largely ignored the topic.  The proposed dissertation follows a three paper model to begin to address the perceived gap.  Taken together, the three papers bring the phenomenon of prediction markets to the management literature through discussions of application and limitations.  It is hoped that this work will expand the discussion beyond the technical aspects of the markets, and identify opportunities for management researchers and practitioners to leverage prediction markets.