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Student Research: Bentley Doctoral Programs in Accountancy and Business

Interim PhD Director: Professor Michael Quinn (

Bentley’s small and highly selective doctoral programs in accountancy and business combine the best features of European and American doctoral studies. Like European programs, Bentley’s offerings stress mentoring relationships with faculty along with independent research; like US doctoral programs, they emphasize the acquisition of subject-based and methodological knowledge.

The business degree is intentionally interdisciplinary, encompassing a core of economics, organization theory and information systems. The accountancy degree has a more traditional disciplinary focus but, like the business degree, requires coursework in business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Both provide method and methodology courses, including qualitative and quantitative that ensure students acquire the necessary research skills to conduct their own research.

In addition to a range of required core classes, the programs are tailored to the unique interests of the students and provide them with the opportunity to pursue independent study matching their research and career ambitions. Students achieve mastery of their area of specialization by working closely with faculty mentors – indeed, students are admitted contingent on a faculty member agreeing to serve as primary advisor. Students also understand the importance of teaching; they take a teaching seminar, shadow a class in the first year, teach it during their second year, and then teach two courses per year for the remainder of the program.

Although the university provides research stipends to many of its doctoral students, 40% are supported through external funding that the doctoral council has been able to source. This includes six students supported through the Accounting Doctoral Scholar’s Program, six through the Geneen Charitable Trust, five through the Rauch endowment, four through National Science Foundation research grants, and two by Bentley’s Center for Women in Business.

Bentley’s doctoral programs have matriculated 53 students since their launch in 2006, with 24 graduating. The graduates have secured positions at Brown, Bryant, California State Channel Islands, Clark, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International, Northeastern, Suffolk, Texas State and Villanova universities, Copenhagen Business School, Providence and Woodbury colleges, the College of Charleston, and the universities of West Virginia and Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

Bentley PhD Council Members

Michael QuinnEconomics – Interim Director, PhD Program
Mohammad Abdolmohammadi, John E. Rhodes Professor of Accounting, Accountancy
Jean Bedard, Timothy B. Harbert Professor of Accountancy, Accountancy
Pierre Berthon, Clifford F. Youse Chair of Marketing & Strategy, Marketing/IDCC
Cynthia Clark, Management
Daniel EverettDean of Arts & Sciences – ex officio
Dominique HaughtonMathematical Sciences
M. Lynne Markus, John W. Poduska Senior Professor of Information and Process Management, IPM
Joseph Newpol, Law, Tax & Financial Planning – Senate Chair ex officio
Michael Page, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs – ex officio
Roy (Chip) Wiggins III, Dean of Business and the McCallum Graduate School of Business – ex officio
Sam Woolford, Mathematical Sciences


Sample Doctoral Student Journal Publications

  • M.L. Markus and Quang (Neo) Bui. “Going Concerns: Governance of Inter-organizational Coordination Hubs.” Journal of Management Information Systems, 2012, vol. 28(4), pp. 163-197. (Named one of the “JMIS Dozen” on the occasion of JMIS’s thirtieth anniversary)
  • Patrick McHugh and A.L. Jackson. “Prediction Market Accuracy: The Impact of Size, Incentives, Context and Interpretation.” The Journal of Prediction Markets, 2012, vol. 6(2), pp. 22-46.
  • S.W. Woolford, D.M. Haughton, M. Li, L.P. Senne, Maria Skaletsky and A. Eshghi. “Enrollment Management in Graduate Business Programs: Predicting Student Retention.” Journal of Institutional Research, 2012, vol. 16(2), pp. 63-79.
  • Mari-Klara Stein, R.D. Galliers and M.L. Markus. “Towards an Understanding of Identity and Technology in the Workplace.” Journal of Information Technology, 2012, vol. 28, pp. 167-182.

Sample Proceedings and Presentations

  • Quang (Neo) Bui. “The Adoption and Diffusion of Enterprise Architecture: Rhetoric, Mechanisms, and Reinvention. Americas Conference on Information Systems.” Conference Proceedings, 2012, Seattle, Washington

  • Nate Cannon, J.C. Bedard and A.L. Schnader. “The Broker-Dealer Industry: Regulation, The Audit Market, and Internal Control Reporting.” Annual Meeting, American Accounting Association, 2012, Washington, DC

  • C.B. Williams, J. Fedorowicz and Martin Dias. “Factors in IT-enabled Collaboration in the Public Sector: The Neighbor Effect.” Americas Conference on Information Systems, 2012, Seattle, Washington

  • C.B. Williams, J. Fedorowicz, S. Sawyer, Martin Dias, R. Schrier and M. Tyworth. “Architectural Patterns of U.S. Public Safety Networks: A Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparison Analysis.” National Conference on Digital Government Research, 2012, College Park, Maryland

  • Joy Gray and J.E. Hunton. “External Auditors’ Reliance on Internal Auditors' ERP System Control Work: Examining the Interactive Effect of Reporting Relationship and Prior Involvement in the System Implementation.”  Mid-Year Information Systems Research Conference, 2012, Scottsdale, Arizona

  • M.A. Quinn and Luisa Melo. “Oil, Foreign Direct Investment and Corruption.” CYRUS Institute of Knowledge Conference, 2012, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • T. Babaian, W.T. Lucas and Mari-Klara Stein. “Evaluating the Collaborative Critique Method.” ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings, 2012, pp. 2137-2146, Austin, Texas

  • R.D. Galliers, Mari-Klara Stein and E.A. Whitley. “An Anatomy of European Information Systems Research: The First 20 Years of The European Conference on Information Systems.” 20th European Conference on Information Systems, 2012, Barcelona, Spain

  • Mari-Klara Stein, S.M. Newell, E.L. Wagner and R.D. Galliers. “Characterizing Work Practices in Packaged Software: A Metaphorical Analysis.” Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2012, Boston, Massachusetts

  • Mari-Klara Stein, S.M. Newell, E.L. Wagner and R.D. Galliers. “Continued Use of IT: An Emotional Choice.” International Conference on Information Systems, 2012, Orlando, Florida

  • Wilson Wong, G. Hua, D.M. Haughton and J. Stahl. “Using RFID-based real-time location systems to describe and understand social networks in the outpatient setting.” Society for Medical Decision Making Annual Meeting, 2012, Phoenix, Arizona

  • Wilson Wong, J.T. Pepe, J. Stahl and I.S. Englander. “A Collaborative Capstone to Develop a Mobile Hospital Clinic Application Through a Student Team Competition.” Information Systems Educators Conference, 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Wilson Wong and J. Stahl. “Exploring user resistance and technology adoption factors in healthcare.” Society for Medical Decision Making Annual Meeting, 2012, Phoenix, Arizona

Featured Doctoral Graduate: Kim Westermann, PhD Accountancy (2011) 

An assistant professor at Florida International University in Miami, Kim serves as a reviewer for both Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory and Issues in Accounting Education. She was recently selected to serve as a national co-chairman for the 2013-2014 Deloitte Trueblood Seminar for Professors.

Two components of Kim’s dissertation are currently under second-round revisions. “The Effect of Instruction Availability on Novice Auditor Task Performance” is an experimental paper under review at Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory. The paper examines how making available task instruction leads to differential performance on an audit task and finds that lower-knowledge learners’ performance is indistinguishable from higher-knowledge learners when they are aware that repeated instruction is not available and pay more attention to instructions. However, their performance is lower when they are aware that repeated instruction is available.

“Learning the ‘Craft’ of Auditing: A Dynamic View of Auditors’ On-the-job Learning Within Its Social Context,” under review at Contemporary Accounting Research, is co-authored with colleagues Jean Bedard (Bentley University) and Christine Earley (Providence College). This paper examines how auditors learn the technical aspects of their professional role while performing client engagements, and how that learning process has been shaped by changes in societal, economic and regulatory forces. The paper focuses on forces affecting the transfer of technical knowledge from supervisor (guide) to subordinate (learner) in the everyday work setting and uses evidence derived from semi-structured interviews with new and experienced Big 4 audit partners. The paper is illustrative of the research area and methodology that Kim is evolving towards since graduating at Bentley, namely collecting data through qualitative methods and subsequently examining auditor perspectives within their social context.

Featured Doctoral Graduate: Mari-Klara Stein, PhD Business (2013)

Mari-Klara is now a tenure-track assistant professor at the IT management department of Copenhagen Business School. Her dissertation research examines emotional and identity-related processes in IT use. Many current accounts of IT use offer an under-personalized view, where human emotions and identity seem to play little or no role in the emergence of the complex behaviors that characterize the individual’s work with IT. Her research stream addresses this under-personalization by examining the role of emotions and identity in the formation of IT use patterns as well as the potential for managerial interventions to steer IT use by attending to emotional and identity-related issues. Interestingly, the research suggests that managers can often ‘undo’ many of their well-intended direct intervention efforts (e.g., offering training or support) by being unaware of the indirect meta-messages they send and the effects of these messages on how users feel about themselves and new technologies. Her program of research contributes to the on-going theoretical development of a personalized account of technology use.

Mari-Klara’s recently published paper in the Journal of Information Technology (2012, vol. 28, pp. 167-182) “Towards an Understanding of Identity and Technology in the Workplace” with Bentley colleagues Bob Galliers and Lynne Markus, explores the relationship between professional identity and IT in a workplace context. The findings suggest that IT artifacts – by being increasingly present in and part of many professional’s everyday work activities – enter the self-narratives of these professionals as landmarks or points of reference around which the self and others are positioned and preferred professional identities are performed. These narratives allow professionals to appropriate the ‘involuntary’ aspects of technologies and express a preferred self (and their subjective agency) around that.