Thursday, June 19, 2014

$70,000 Grant funds unique research project involving business and radiology

A unique research project involving both the Accounting Department within The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation and the Radiology Department at the UT Medical Center recently received a $70,000 grant from the United Arab of Emirates University.

“The Impact of Managers’ Supervisory Style on the Relation between Debt Covenants and Earnings Management: A Neuroscience Imaging Approach" will utilize neuroscientific research in an attempt to capture and understand the behavior of managers in different debt covenant violation situations, and its relation on supervisory styles.

Debt covenants are agreements between banks and borrowers that dictate the way a company manages its finances while indebted to the bank. These covenants are tested on a regular basis during the term of the debt. Violations happen when the company is not meeting any of these covenants.

Dr. Hassan HassabElnaby, Chair of the Accounting Department in the UT College of Business and Innovation, said, "We are using a very novel approach to investigate an accounting/business issue. To my knowledge, no study in the area of agency theory and debt contract is utilizing this approach."

He explained that neuroscientific evidence shows that activities in the ventral striatum of the brain would increase with bad information and decrease with good information.

"We argue that human brains have the ability to implement ‘automatic’ processes of bad and good information to make rational managerial accounting decisions," he said.  "Therefore, we will rely on the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to capture and encode the neural activity in the ventral striatum. The results of this interdisciplinary study will contribute to the understanding of manager’s behavior and provide crucial implications for the practice and research in management accounting."

Dr. HassabElnaby added, "This type of research is very costly and business research grants are almost non-existent at the required level. While attending an international conference, I was talking with Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Maksoud, a researcher from the United Arab of Emirates University, about a dream research project that I want to do and the difficulty of funding this research. I wrote the basic proposal and sent it to him and other researchers to form a research team. I was lucky enough to have all the researchers I approached interested in the idea, and they made significant contributions to develop the grant proposal. We applied for the grant and last December we were granted about $70,000 over two years for our research project. Almost $55,000 is budgeted for the MRI experiment that will be done at the University of Toledo’s Medical Center under the supervision of both Dr. Haitham Elsamaloty and Dr. Xin Wang."

Dr. Amal Said, Associate Professor of Accounting at UT COBI, said, "We are planning on conducting the experiment on 100 subjects. Each subject will have to complete a survey first to capture their managerial style, then their responses to the same nine different debt covenant scenarios will be examined under the MRI."

Dr. Said added, "Earnings management behavior is an ethical question and has been the topic of interest for researchers, practitioners and regulators. We expect that understanding the thinking and decision making processes of managers can assist in mitigating unethical behavior in the future. The findings of this research project can be incorporated into training material, models and/or packages that are delivered to accountants and business leaders on the role of managers’ personal characteristics (neural activity), the leadership style they follow, and the design and use of management control systems in controlling the suboptimal behavior/practices of managers in relation to firm resources."

Dr. Elsamaloty, UTMC Radiology Department, said. "I was consulted by Dr. Hassabelnaby on the possibility of implementing the study using the imaging tool. I was interested and we decided to collaborate in this interesting research project."

He explained that this is a unique study, because "We’ll use the high sensitivity and resolution of our 3T functional MRI in evaluating managers under different conditions using different scenarios.  We have performed functional MRI research in post-traumatic patients, but to the best of my knowledge this will be the first study at UT, and possibly in the nation, to evaluate decision making for managers."

Dr. Wang, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, UT Health Science campus, said, "We completed a study with a kinesiology group from the main campus in 2011-2013. The research scans increase the use of MRI scanner in addition to clinical use and other studies. It will compete for the limited scanning time, but we will try our best to arrange the scans."

Dr. HassabElnaby said, "We expect the study to take about 18 months and to yield multiple papers. My co-authors and I hope that this study will be a breakthrough and will open new lines of research in accounting, business, and other disciplines."

UT College of Business and Innovation presents HR Management Excellence Awards to three highly visible Toledo companies

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation presented their 17th annual Human Resource (HR) Management Awards for Excellence in May, recognizing three well-known Toledo companies for their outstanding human resource practices.

Each of the three finalists was named a recipient of the Human Resource Management Award for Excellence: Hollywood Casino (innovation); The Toledo Blade (impact); and The Toledo Zoo  (leadership).

Hollywood Casino staff
Hollywood Casino began operation in 2012 as one of the newest properties of Penn National Gaming and the first casino in Toledo. HR activities at the Hollywood Casino which contributed to their award include quickly and efficiently bringing in 948 team members to establish the fully operational, new casino; creating a HR process that is responsive and providing support 24/7 to every team member; and developing a culture of community engagement through which they plan events for team members and implement a community outreach program called Hollywood Cares.

Toledo Blade staff
The Toledo Blade is a 179-year-old privately-held newspaper and the oldest continuing business in Toledo.  Human resource activities at The Toledo Blade which contributed to their award include developing health and safety programs which resulted in a drastic reduction in accidents, worker's compensation and health care costs; engaging the HR function as a strategy where its input is recognized as absolutely critical for organizational success; and building a labor/management relations culture on mutual trust as well as open and honest conversations with a real partnership between workers and management.

Toledo Zoo staff
The Toledo Zoo, recently recognized as the #1 zoo in America, was established in 1900 and welcomes more than 875,000 visitors each year.  HR activities at The Toledo Zoo which contributed to their Management Award for Excellence include developing healthy relationships between union and management by moving from traditional bargaining to interactive, interest-based bargaining; implementing an HR information system to assist in selection, scheduling and reduction of paperwork; and creating and maintaining workforce flexibility to accommodate the Zoo's seasonal staffing.

“As local residents continue to think about jobs, it is important to recognize area success stories, the area’s best employers who are taking steps to attract and retain the best people,” noted Dr. Clinton Longenecker, COBI Professor of Management and chair of the Awards Selection Committee.  “These amazing organizations are utilizing their human capital to compete at the very highest levels.”

“The Human Resources Management Excellence Awards are given annually by the college since 1998 to celebrate the success of local organizations and leaders for creating great places to work. Their efforts make a real difference in our economy while they also inspire others to advance their organizations, demonstrating to the region that area employers can compete in a world marketplace,” said Longenecker.

UT College of Business and Innovation earns HR Outstanding Student Chapter Award

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has received the Outstanding Student Chapter award for its excellence and achievement during the 2013-2014 Student Chapter Merit Award period.

SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 professional and 19,000 student members in over 140 countries, the association serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession.

"This is a tremendous and well-deserved recognition for The University of Toledo, the College of Business and Innovation, our human resources program, and members of this organization," said Jenell Wittmer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business and co-faculty advisor to the UT SHRM group. She also adds, "Many thanks to all those who helped earn this award, especially Ashley Kaptur, whose leadership in SHRM and completing this submission was invaluable!"

Kaptur, who graduated in May, 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majored in human resource management. "During my last semester at UT, I was the Student Chapter President of UT SHRM. I would recruit HR Professionals in the Toledo area to come and speak to our group on current HR topics, their background in HR, interviewing techniques, etc.  This really helped bring all of the classroom material and apply it to real world situations."

The Outstanding Student Chapter award was presented to a select number of SHRM student chapters whose programs and activities were at a level that distinguished them from other chapters. This award represents significant achievement in one of five categories: recruitment, programming/education, innovation/technology, campus/community service or promotion of assurance of learning assessment.

The SHRM student chapter merit award program, which began in 1972, encourages development of more effective student chapters and to promote outstanding activities and projects by student chapters in the following areas: student chapter requirements, chapter operations, chapter programming and professional development of members, support of the human resource profession and SHRM engagement.

Chapters have the opportunity to earn an award based on the number of activities they complete during the merit award cycle, which ran from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014. "The programs and events these student members have participated in are truly exceptional,” said Laurie McIntosh, director of member engagement. “They are all helping to shape the future of the HR profession through community service, technology, advocacy or another area.”

The UT SHRM chapter will be recognized during the 2014 Annual Student/Faculty Conference in Orlando in June, both in the student/faculty conference brochure and during the awards presentation.
The chapter president and advisor will be recognized during the opening general session and presented the chapter’s plaque.   The award will also be listed on SHRM’s student member center website, and listed in the fall 2014 edition of SHRM StudentFocus magazine distributed electronically as a supplement to HR Magazine.

"This SHRM award is another reflection on the consistently high caliber of both our students and our faculty," stated Sonny Ariss, Ph.D., Chair of the UT COBI Department of Management. "We are confident that the excellence and leadership our students have already displayed through their involvement with SHRM will continue to be utilized throughout their professional careers, benefitting them, their employers and the community."

2014 COBI faculty, staff awards announced

In early June, Dr. Thomas Sharkey, Interim Dean of the College of Business and Innovation, announced the winners of the 2014 COBI Faculty and Staff Awards.

They are:
DeJute Undergraduate Teaching- Dr. Anthony Holder, Accounting Department
Simonetti Graduate Teaching - Dr. Jenell Wittmer, Management Department
Adjunct Instructor Teaching - Marouen Ben Jebara, Ph.D. student
COBI Research - Dr. Hassan HassabElnaby, Chair, Accounting Department
Junior Researcher - Dr. Mark Gleim, Marketing Department
Brunner Service - Dr. Michael Mallin, Marketing Department
Diversity - Dr. Clint Longenecker, Management Department
Staff - Cory Marshall, Senior College Instructional Technology Administrator

"Being the recipient of the 2014 Simonetti Graduate Teaching Award is a huge honor for me," Dr. Wittmer said. "I work with MBA, EMBA, and Ph.D. students, with most students having a great deal of professional experience before they ever walk into my classroom. I strive to make materials and assignments relevant and helpful to their careers, which leads to a great deal of engagement on the part of students. We have fantastic discussions, and I truly learn just as much from them as they learn from me.  I am just proud to be able to work with such an esteemed group of students!"

"This award is very important to me," Dr. Holder said. "I switch things up a lot of in the classroom, including experimenting with various pedagogical techniques, and I am never 100% certain how my approach to teaching a particular class will be received. Of course, my objective, similar to my colleagues is to constantly improve as an instructor and I feel that this award indicates I am making some progress."

“Service to our university, college, department, and community is extremely important, especially during times of change and transition in higher education," Dr, Mallin said.  "When I look at the list of past recipients of this (Brunner Service) award, I am humbled and honored to be chosen along with those who have made such a positive impact on our college.”

"I was very appreciative for this acknowledgement as I recognize that one of the best parts of being at the University of Toledo for the past 30 years is the fact that we are a very diversified institution which is a real strength," Dr. Longenecker commented. "It is great to work at a place that encourages and promotes people to help each other, lift each other up, and bring out the best in each other!"

"It is important that we publicly recognize the excellent performance of COBI personnel across many functions within the college through these annual Faculty and Staff Awards," Dr. Sharkey said.    "Their consistently outstanding work, along with the energy and hard work of all COBI faculty and staff, contributes to an enriched, stimulating and supportive environment that ultimately contributes to the success of all our students. Congratulations to all the 2014 recipients as well as all the nominees."

The COBI Faculty and Staff Award winners have their names engraved on plaques in the lobby of Stranahan Hall and also receive a cash award.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Advanced Leadership Academy enriches lives of many UT students

About 100 University of Toledo students from across campus took a major step to enhance their personal and professional lives recently as they participated in the fifth annual Advanced Leadership Academy (ALA), presented by the College of Business and Innovation.

Students were invited to participate in the ALA based on their academic and professional records of success as well as the recommendation of graduate faculty.  Academy members included masters and Ph.D. students from most colleges within the University.

“It is always very exciting to bring together some of our best graduate students from across our campus to link up with outstanding leaders from a wide variety of professions and disciplines," said Dr. Clint Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Management and ALA Program Coordinator.  "It is a true cross campus learning experience, spread out over four half-day sessions."

"This Academy exposes students to cutting edge leadership theory and practices," he added. "All disciplines, be it engineering, healthcare, pharmacy, business or science, need leadership.”

Students had the opportunity to learn success and leadership principles from a diverse group of speakers that included Steven Cavanaugh, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of HCR Manorcare; Chad Bringman, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Northwest Ohio;   Joseph Zerbey, President and General Manager of The Blade; Randy Oostra, President and Chief Executive Officer for ProMedica Health System; and Tricia Cullop, Head Coach, Women's Basketball, The University of Toledo.

"My reaction after completing this program is simply, WOW," stated Robert Phillips, a graduate research assistant in the UT Department of Civil Engineering. "I learned many skills that are sure to benefit me throughout my academic and professional careers, and it was an overall great experience. Being able to hear some of the most successful local leaders and learn from their stories provided a tremendous learning experience. Thank you for facilitating this opportunity."

Chandi Patel, RN, graduate research assistant at the UT College of Nursing, said,  "The presentations, panelists and all the networking opportunities were phenomenal."

Dr. Longenecker thanked David Wolf, President of Perstorp Polyols, and Michael Miller, Chairman and CEO of Waterford Bank, for providing scholarships for the students to participate, as well as COBI Interim Dean Thomas Sharkey for his support of the program.