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Research Seminar Series - Notes from a Nation Builder

The Edwards School of Business hosts a monthly research seminar series on a variety of business research topics. Browse below for upcoming and past events for more information:

 

Date

Presenters

Title

February 9, 2024

Dev Mishra Firm-level climate sentiments and implied cost of equity capital

Abstract: In a sample of U.S. firms, we find strong evidence that firms’ ex-ante expected returns are decreasing in a novel proxy of climate change sentiments of earnings conference call participants, suggesting that investors demand higher returns from their investments in firms carrying brown perceptions and lower returns from those with green perceptions. We utilize the variation in regionwide public opinion about scientists’ beliefs regarding the occurrence of global warming as an instrument, as well as a two-step GMM to address potential endogeneity issues. Our findings support the theoretical insights in recent work of L. Pástor, R. Stambaugh, and L. Taylor. Sustainable investing in equilibrium. Journal of Financial Economics 2021 and early work of R. Heinkel, A. Kraus, and J. Zechner. The effect of green investment on corporate behavior. Journal of Financial Quantitative Analysis, 2001.


Co-Authors: Katsiaryna Salavei Bardos, Fairfield University & Hyacinthe Y. Somé University of Sherbrooke

 

Date

Presenters

Title

January 12, 2024

Vicky Parohl

Understanding the Impact of High School Environments on Post-Secondary Student Success

Abstract: This study explores the impact of the high school environment on a student’s involvement at the high school level and subsequently at the post-secondary level, and how the high school environment influences student transitions and academic success in postsecondary education (PSE). The study, employing a sequential mixed-method approach, analyzes data from 55 first-year, direct-entry students across diverse high school settings. The research explores correlations between high school and post-secondary grades, revealing stronger links for students coming from urban communities. While there was a relationship between high school environment and student involvement, there was no significant correlation between student involvement and a student’s high school average. The study found that there was a moderate positive correlation between time spent on homework in high school and subsequently in PSE, as well as hours spent on homework in PSE and term 1 average. Recommendations emphasize leveraging student data to tailor support mechanisms for specific incoming student populations. This research contributes valuable insights for PSE faculty, advisors, and admissions officers, offering practical strategies to manage student expectations, foster habits of involvement, and reconsider definitions of success, ultimately enhancing the transition experience for students entering PSE.

 

 

 

Date

Presenters

Title

December 8, 2023

Hamed Samarghandi

Can Regulating Transportation Increase Supply Chain Resiliency in The Canadian Prairies?

Abstract: Supply chain disruption can occur for a variety of reasons, including natural disasters or market dynamics for which resilient strategies should be designed. If the disruption is profound and with dire consequences for the economy, it calls for the regulator’s intervention to minimize the impact for the betterment of the society. We consider a shipping company with limited capacity which will ship a group of products with heterogeneous transportation and production costs and prices and investigate the minimum quota regulation on transportation amounts stipulated by the government. An interesting example can happen in North American rail transportation market, where the rail capacity is used for a variety of products and commodities such as oil and grains. Similarly, in Europe supply chain of grains produced in Ukraine is disrupted by the Ukraine war and the blockade of sea transportation routes, which puts pressure on rail transportation capacity of Ukraine and its neighboring countries to the west that needs to be shared for shipping a variety of products including grains, military, and humanitarian supplies. Such situations require a proper execution of government intervention for effective management of the limited transportation capacity to avoid the rippling effects throughout the economy. We propose mathematical models and solutions for the market players and the government in a Canadian case study. Subsequently, the conditions that justify government intervention are identified, and an algorithm to obtain the optimum minimum quotas is presented.

 

Date

Presenters

Title

November 24, 2023

George Tannous

Market Reaction to Announcements of Class Action Lawsuit Settlements

Abstract: This presentation explores the contentious landscape of class action securities lawsuits (CASLs), sparking prolonged debate. CASLs arise when corporate governance in a publicly traded company fails, leading to accusations against officers for violating securities laws. Shareholders seek damages, often resulting in a wealth transfer from existing shareholders to claimants who’ve divested from the implicated company. Settlement beneficiaries, typically shareholders retaining shares, experience a net loss due to the cash compensation reducing share value. In cases where shareholder-claimants are the sole beneficiaries without associated costs, the litigation payments to remaining shareholders become a zero-sum game. CASLs incur high agency costs, legal fees, and administration expenses, estimated at 25%-35% of the settlement amount, resulting in significant net losses for continuing shareholders. Despite debates on the necessity of these costs, researchers argue they are crucial to supplement corporate governance and align management interests with shareholder welfare, emphasizing ongoing discussions on effective approaches to address these complexities.

Date

Presenters

Title

October 13, 2023

Min Maung

State Religion and Entrepreneurial Financing in a Cross Section of Countries

Abstract: We find robust evidence that presence of state religions reduces entrepreneurial financing in a large cross section of countries. Religious practices such as church attendance increases entrepreneurial financing in countries without state religions, a finding consistent with social capital and networking perspectives. However, in countries with state religions, the effect of religious practices is largely insignificant. Religious beliefs, on the other hand, have a weakly negative effect on entrepreneurial financing, regardless of the sample. The reduction in financing in countries with state-sponsored religions likely comes from the cultural environment associated with the presence of state religions.

 

Date

Presenters

Title

September 8, 2023

Han-Up Park

Balance Sheet Strength in the Oil and Gas Industry: Saving for a Rainy Day or Making Hay While the Sun Shines

Abstract: Accounting plays a strategic role when accounting-based measures are used to set, communicate and execute strategy. In this paper, we describe and test a strategic role of accounting in the dynamic context of cyclical industries. Specifically, we examine how a strategic emphasis on balance sheet strength influences firm decisions and performance over time. In a series of discussions with industry insiders and through readings of disclosures for prominent oil and gas companies in Canada, we identify two groups of firms based on how they use accounting-based measures to respond to and manage industry economic cycles. One group of firms grows aggressively when oil prices are strong and funds are available – “making hay while the sun shines,” while the other group grows conservatively to build balance sheet strength – “saving for a rainy day.” Through analysis of production and financial data, we first document that rainy day companies, which focus on balance sheet strength evidenced by higher cash flows to debt over time, grow less quickly than making hay companies, except in periods following sharp price declines. Then, we compare the two groups of companies and find that rainy day companies buy assets (oil reserves) at lower prices on average and operate more efficiently than making hay companies. Our analysis brings attention to the strategic role of accounting and highlights balance sheet strength as a strategic marker for firms in cyclical industries.

Co-Authors: Dr. Mark Anderson and Yan (Vicky) Ma, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary

This research project originated from conversations with Canadian oil and gas executives seeking insights into successful upstream operations and investment. In this talk, I’ll outline our research approach and share key findings.

Date

Presenters

Title

May 12, 2023

Leslie Martin, Michael Cottrell and Vanessa Ellis Colley

Exploring ethical space for understanding and reconceptualizing business education programs for Indigenous students and future business partnerships

Abstract: Employing case study methodology, our goal in this qualitative research was to determine the degree to which ‘ethical space’ is present within the Edwards School of Business and to explore the value of that concept for improving retention and success for Indigenous students. The primary objectives included: (i) exploring the degree to which ethical space is present within classrooms; (ii) identifying the key indicators that may assist in establishing ethical space; and (iii) delineating ways in which ethical space may contribute to a more sophisticated and transformational reconciliation Indigenization within the organization.

Our research involved interviewing six Indigenous students who shared their insights and experiences within their classrooms. We found that overall, students’ experiences were positive. However, while some of the students indicated having one or more Indigenous instructors, the course content that they have covered to date is void of Indigenous teachings. An alarming finding was that though, for the most part ethical space exists in the classrooms, some students were reluctant to self-identify as they were concerned about repercussions. Emanating from the findings we recommend that more Indigenous content be added to the curriculum; increase social events to encourage networking and that a stronger connection within Indigenous communities be developed to foster business education.

Co-Presenters: Dr. Michael Cottrell, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair, College of Education and Dr. Vanessa Ellis Colley, College of Education

April 14, 2023

Hamed Samarghandi

Scheduling Patients and Managing Complaints in a Cardiology Clinic: A Constraint Programming Approach

Across the world, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are among the leading causes of death. In Iran, approximately 46% of all reported deaths are estimated to be related to CVD. This presentation focuses on the patient scheduling practices of a private cardiology clinic in Tehran, Iran. Several complaints from the patients and staff members of the clinic are reviewed. The study shows that patients in the clinic are classified into six main groups; the steps each group must undergo in the clinic, as well as the time related to each operation, are measured. A constraint programming model is developed to schedule the patients and rectify the complaints. The computational results based on 30 days of actual clinic data reveal that the proposed model manages to significantly improve efficiency measures and is successful in resolving the causes of complaints. Furthermore, the developed constraint programming generates optimum solutions in a rather short period of time.

March 10, 2023

Lorelei Nickel

The Pursuit of Integrity

In recent years integrity has emerged as an institutional value, behavioural expectation, and student learning goal within post-secondary undergraduate business school programs. Despite an increased emphasis on ethics training in the educational, organizational, and legal realms, ethical failures, scandals, and human rights violations continue to occur. Many questions remain as to what must be done to support integrity development and facilitate the ethical conduct of business school graduates in today’s complex world. In this presentation, I will share findings from my doctoral research titled The Pursuit of Integrity: Using Undergraduates’ Conceptions of Integrity to Inspire Teaching and Learning Innovation in a Post-Secondary Business School Context. This research uncovered insights that could be used by business school educators seeking new ways to help students develop a deeper, more transformative understanding of integrity during the educational process. Specifically, I will introduce the conceptual model that I developed from my research findings which visually depicts increasingly advanced ways of understanding integrity. I will also highlight several guiding principles and considerations to help inform individual teaching practice, support curriculum design, and provide a foundation for the creation of a program level integrity development pathway at Edwards.

January 13, 2023

Abdullah Mamun

Does Non-profit Motive Affect Provisioning for Loan Losses? Evidence from U.S. Credit Unions

Abstract: We examine loan loss provisioning in credit unions utilizing both quarterly and annual frequency data for a sample of about 9800 U.S. Credit Unions (CUs) from 2002 to 2021. We provide compelling evidence suggesting loan loss provisioning at CUs is largely driven by earnings smoothing, and current and past period’s delinquent loans, supporting incurred loss model of loan loss provisioning. However, we do not find support for the expected loan loss model for loan loss provisioning. Overall, this evidence likely reflects the fact that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)’s mandate for covering historic loan loss is quite explicit, while provisions applicable to expected loan losses are unclear, flexible, and are not explicit. Unlike the vast literature covering loan loss provisioning in commercial banks, we examine and find a strong positive link between provisions for loan losses and the current period charge-offs. This evidence echoes that the mandate in the NCUA’s supervisory guidelines commands the current period charge-offs as an important control in modeling loan loss provisioning. We also find high-growth CUs wait to adjust loss provisions upward relative to their low-growth peers. Furthermore, CUs’ lending practices underwent hardly any noticeable change during the Financial Crisis and COVID19 pandemic, consistent with their service motive and resolve to make them equally available in times of economic hardship.

Authors (alphabetical): Shantaram Hegde (U.Conn), Abdullah Mamun (U of S) and Dev Mishra (U of S)

December 9, 2022

Joseph Schmidt

Attracting More (Qualified) Applicants: Using Natural Language Processing to identify Attractive Job Advertising Themes

The competitive advantage of an organization is linked to the quality of employees it attracts, with some arguing that recruitment is the “most critical human resource function for organizational success and survival” (Taylor & Collins, 2000, p. 304). Although scholars have made progress in understanding how factors such as compensation, organizational image, and perceived fit with the job requirements can influence applicant attraction to organizations, there are significant gaps in our understanding of how organizations position themselves to attract qualified applicants and how applicants make decisions about which jobs to apply for. Therefore, the purpose of this research program is to understand how organizations market their “employment brand” to potential employees and how different sources of job information (e.g., job advertisements versus Glassdoor ratings) influence applicant decision-making processes. In this presentation, I will discuss one of the studies from our research program where we applied a relatively new and highly efficient approach to computer-aided natural language processing (transformer learning) to develop machine learning algorithms to identify themes in a sample of 14,000 job advertisements. I will also provide preliminary evidence about how job advertisement messaging influences the size and quality the applicant pools based on data from a sample of 538,776 applicants. I’ll close by discussing implications of the study and our plans for future research.

October 14, 2022

Ann Liang

Open Access, Predatory Publishers and
Journal Quality

Agenda:
• Open Access Publishing and Resources
• The dark side of popular Publishers
• Open Access Resources
• Predatory Publishers
• How to spot them before they spot you
• How do you know if it’s a good journal?
• Journal Impact Factors
• Citations Report

September 16, 2022

Dev Mishra

Both sides of the CEO-to-Employee Pay Ratio: Evidence from COVID19 Pandemic

Using COVID19 as the exogenous test of CEOs’ ability and the publication of CEO to-employee pay ratio (pay-ratio) as a corporate event, we attempt to further understand the income inequality debate surrounding executive pay in corporate America. We find that announcement period returns negatively or trivially varied with pay-ratio prior to COVID19 crisis, however, they increased in the size of pay-ratio during COVID19 periods, with more favorable sensitivity for larger and weak CEO power firms. Further, high pay-ratio firms demonstrate stronger operating performance, higher value, and lack evidence supporting institutional investors ‘voting by their feet’ post-announcement. Our findings imply that bargaining power of more talented managers in CEO labor market is a plausible driver of high pay-ratios in recent years.

 

Date

Presenters

Title

May 6, 2022

Barb Phillips, Regan Schmidt, Dionne Pohler, and Vince Bruni-Bossio

A Letter to the Editor: How to Avoid Desk Rejection, Win Reviewing Awards, and Become an Editor Yourself

Meet the Editor Panel Discussion

April 22, 2022

Dana Carriere

Balancing Indigenous and Western worldviews and approaches to achieve economic prosperity

Drawing on her Master of Arts research, “Lac La Ronge Indian Band: Pursuing pimâcihowin (making a living) to achieve mitho-pimâtisiwin (the good life),” Dana discusses the importance of Cree culture and worldview in contemporary Indigenous business and economic development in Northern Saskatchewan. This study explored community members’ perceptions of Cree culture and northern ways of life and uncovered that Cree worldview and principles continue to influence individual and community goals, decisions, and actions when pursuing economic prosperity and self-sufficiency. Dana incorporates her research into the classroom and expands on it by exploring Cree worldview and principles which inform an Indigenous approach to business and economic development for many Indigenous communities. This Indigenous approach is often balanced with Western approaches to business and economic development, which brings together diverse perspectives and values to find a common path for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, communities, and organizations to achieve economic prosperity and advance economic reconciliation.

March 18, 2022

Shan Wang

Understanding the Following Behavior of Sellers in Social Marketplaces: A Structural Holes Perspective

Sellers in social marketplaces actively engage in following behaviors in online communities to build social capital and gain information and opportunity. However, extant research has repeatedly reported a negative effect of following on seller performance, raising questions about sellers’ ideal following strategy. Intrigued by this question, this research draws on the theory of structural holes to examine sellers’ following and its value implications. An empirical study of 1,023 Etsy sellers and their followees indicates that the structural holes in sellers’ followee networks have a significant, positive effect on their sales performance. Such effects are stronger for sellers with more product diversification, more prominent followees, and lower followee status heterophily.

January 21, 2022

Dionne Pohler

The Relationship Between Government Policies and Organizational Outcomes During COVID-19

We undertake a data-driven exploration of the impact COVID-19 had on organizations by analyzing closed and open-ended survey responses collected from a large representative panel of Canadian business owners, senior leaders, and managers at four different time points during the pandemic. We document the primary concerns expressed by different organizational leaders, how their organizations were impacted, and how their organizations responded and adapted to the crisis. Some organizations struggled to survive, while others were relatively unaffected or even thrived. Many organizational leaders identified ineffective government management of the crisis as a primary concern, though businesses that were unaffected or thrived viewed government actions more favourably. We rely on institutional knowledge of government restrictions and supports, as well as several different data analytic methods, to develop an inductive theoretical model of the relationship between government policies and organizational outcomes and responses to COVID-19. Theoretical implications for organizational research on extreme crisis contexts as well as practical implications for governments and organizations to consider in managing future crises are discussed.

December 10, 2021

Scott Walsworth

Determinants of Research Productivity During the Pandemic: Empirical Evidence from Canada and Australia

A survey conducted in 14 universities across Canada and Australia administered during the spring and summer of 2020 canvased faculty about the transition to work from home. While productivity decreased across the 2,500 researchers surveyed, important differences exist. The halls of academia abound with anecdotal accounts suggesting that compared to their male counterparts, female academics assumed a disproportionate degree of domestic responsibility as the pandemic caused schools, daycares, and eldercare facilities to shut down. Indeed, the results point to a steeper reduction in productivity for women; however, the greatest reduction is associated with primary caregivers, regardless of gender, although women are much more likely to play this role. Interestingly, the age or the number of dependents are not important determinants of research productivity. The results suggest that the inherent flexibility enjoyed by academics is potentially a spurious benefit for academics with significant domestic duties, which may be especially problematic for women working from home. The implications for understanding ‘covid narratives’ in tenure and promotion case files are considered.

November 19, 2021

Han-Up Park

Nudging Towards Better Earnings Forecasts

Even professionals making judgments under uncertainty resort to heuristics, such as herding, to help in their decision making (Kahneman 2011). Nudges—simple, costless, yet powerful tools—have been deployed within the public and private sectors to gently steer people away from or towards certain decisions (Thaler and Sunstein 2008; Halpern 2015). We test the effects of a simple nudge designed to reduce herding behavior among forecasters of earnings by highlighting a social norm where greater forecasting effort is encouraged, and examine its implications for forecast quality and financial markets. We find that nudging leads to less pessimistically biased and more accurate individual earnings forecasts. Additionally, we find that nudging results in a forecast consensus that is more accurate, less biased, and more representative of the market’s true earnings expectations. However, we also find that although nudging reduces herding behavior, it also reduces forecaster participation. Forecasters with a greater tendency to herd before being nudged issue fewer forecast revisions, cover less firms, and are more likely to stop forecasting altogether after being nudged. Our findings suggest that nudging does not bring out the “best” nor the “worse” in forecasters, but simply helps them act on their true intentions—those who initially care about the forecasting task become less likely to herd, and those who are initially indifferent about forecasting are more likely to abandon forecasting altogether in the near future.

October 15, 2021

Barbara Phillips

Sag, Drag, and Bag: How Older Women Want to be Portrayed in Advertisements

Previous research has demonstrated that older women carry a stigmatized identity in society and are severely underrepresented in advertisements in all types of media around the world. Brands have been admonished to increase the presence of older women in their ads. However, it is unclear if older women wish to see models representing their chronological age or their cognitive age, and both positive and negative stereotypes of older women can cause reactance against a brand. This study uses an interpretative phenomenology analysis (IPA) approach to answer the question: how do older women want to be portrayed in advertisements? Interviews with twenty women aged 50 or older suggest that women prefer to see models close to their actual age in ads. In addition, common stereotypes in representation were reframed
using participants’ preferences: from ageless beauty to age-appropriate and attractive, and from traditional granny to woman of purpose. Implications for theory and practice will be discussed.

Date

Presenters

Title

May 14, 2021

Maureen Bourassa and Laurel Steinfield

The Social Impact of Stakeholder Engagements: A Community-Centric Perspective

Our presentation illuminates the various effects that companies’ stakeholder engagements efforts, and resulting perceptions of (in)justices, can have on communities. Drawing on in-depth interviews with stakeholders engaged in nuclear sector developments and applying a social impact lens, we ask: Why do differences in perceived (in)justices from a firm’s stakeholder engagement occur among community members? What are the impacts of these divergent views on the social fabric of relations, both between the company and community and within the community? We extend current theorizing on stakeholder engagements and businesses’ social impact by delving into the heterogeneity within communities. Our presentation reveals four different ways community members experience stakeholder engagement. By exploring these engagement experiences and their consequences, we provide insights into the dynamics of respect, trust, and conflict, and we raise awareness of how businesses can consider their social impacts on intra-community relations.

March, 12, 2021 Fan Yang and Craig Wilson

Blockchain Technology and International Countertrade

Countertrade refers to a form of reciprocal international trade in which goods and services from one country are directly exchanged for goods and services from another, without the need to exchange currency. Countertrade is an alternative trade mechanism when a country faces such trade barriers as high exchange rate risk, lack of foreign currency reserves, and distorted domestic capital markets. Many less-developed economies suffer some, or all, of these barriers. However, countertrade incurs its own risks to participants, primarily in the form of credit risk, which deters it from being widely used by countries that would otherwise benefit from countertrade. We propose that a consortium blockchain could be used to mitigate credit risks and help less-developed economies take advantage of countertrade to exchange goods among themselves and with developed economies. The significance of the consortium blockchain lies in its ability to mitigate credit risk while providing transparent trade records, reducing transaction costs, and integrated trade financing.

Collaborators: Drs. Fan Yang, and Craig Wilson, University of Saskatchewan and Hai Yu Xi’an Jiaotong University
February 12, 2021 Joseph Schmidt

How Applicant Circumstances and Job Ad Messaging Influence Impression Management in Online Applications

Many online assessment tools used for personnel selection rely on self-reports. However, because personnel selection is typically a competitive process, researchers and practitioners often express concern that self-report assessments may be vulnerable to “faking” or impression management (IM) behavior. Score discrepancies that result from IM have been shown to substantially affect both selection decision making and undermine the validity of hiring assessments. Unfortunately, research conducted with real job applicants is extremely rare, and thus our understanding of applicant IM is mostly untested outside of contrived ‘lab’ settings. In this presentation, I will discuss preliminary results from sample of 5,764 self-report application responses provided by 2,410 real-world applicants who applied to multiple jobs. The results show how applicant circumstances and characteristics of the application process – including length of the job search, prior application success, type of question, and job ad messaging – influence applicant IM behavior.
Suresh Kalagnanam and Glen Kobussen

Allocation as a Management Control Tool: The Case of Canada’s Equalization Program

Using a management control lens this paper describes and assesses resource allocation systems, using the Government of Canada’s Equalization program as the primary vehicle for our analysis. This study was conducted using a mixed methods approach. Data was collected and analyzed in two distinct stages. The first stage utilized semi-structured interviews which was combined with an extensive document analysis, both of which were rooted entirely in grounded theory. The second stage employed features borrowed from auditing profession’s concept of analytic procedures which was merged with the use of “data analytics” to investigate a number of equalization related questions using over 500,000 data points that spanned approximately 19 years. The first part of our analysis, based on qualitative date, revealed four high-level categories, pertaining to the Equalization program: objectives, formula, impact on decision making and the notion of controls. With respect to the impact on decision making, our analysis suggests that equalization influences policy and budgeting in that provincial-level decision makers certainly do not ignore it. The common themes and related sub-categories provided a common or consistent language and set of terms, that we used to inform and shape both the analytical procedures and the data analytics, and their subsequent analysis. An important learning from the quantitative analysis was that examining a complex allocation system via the lens of management control allows the researcher (analyst) to experiment with the formula, in an attempt to uncover anomalies and identify behavioural implications such as potential opportunities for managing the allocation base.
December 11, 2020 Devan Mescall Why do you conduct Research in a Business School?
This research presentation addresses the research question: “Why do you Conduct Research in a Business School?” This is the question I received most often from friends and family when I left public practice and chose to pursue my PhD in accounting. The answer is not obvious as the intangible benefits of research are often at odds with the observable quantity of hours and resources invested. I address this compelling research question by compiling extensive prior literature into an intuitive model of a modern business school. The predictions of the model has implications for our Canadian business schools and the preparedness of the Canadian economy to meet challenges going forward.
November 13, 2020 Erica Carleton & Megan Walsh Gender & Leadership
One ongoing issue that contributes to the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles is stereotype threat. Stereotype threat is the concern of confirming or being reduced to a negative stereotype about one’s group and has been shown to reduce women’s leadership aspirations. In our presentation we will discuss two studies that we have conducted to examine the relationships between experiences of stereotype threat, well-being, and women’s motivation to lead.