COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
Faculty Research Spotlights
Faculty within the College of Business are some of the nation’s highest caliber of research and teaching professors. Our faculty have conducted innovative and groundbreaking research that garners international recognition. They also are superb teachers dedicated to transferring their knowledge to the next generation of business leaders. Read some of their stories below.
Dr. Thomas Stafford, Professor and John Ed Barnes Endowed Eminent Scholar in Data Analytics
What is the most significant threat to workplace cyber security breaches? It may just be the complacency of the person in the cubicle next to you.
Five years after first presenting his concept at the 2016 Dewald Roode Workshop on Behavioral Information Security, Dr. Tom Stafford has published his grounded theory development of a mid-range Theory of Cybersecurity Complacency. His article, “Platform-Dependent Computer Security Complacency: The Unrecognized Insider Threat” was published in IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management (IEEE-TEM), an elite academic journal of the Technology and Engineering Management Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
According to Stafford, cyber security research has traditionally presumed a criminal justice model of non-secure behaviors in the workplace—a thought that most security breaches arise from the actions of bad actors in the firm.
“I have long felt that assuming the worst is not the best way forward,” said Stafford, who is Professor and John Ed Barnes Endowed Eminent Scholar in Data Analytics in Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business. “While there are certainly criminally minded transgressors to be guarded against, I think that a good many security issues arise from well-meaning but uninformed or unaware actors who either don’t know that what they are doing is harmful to security, or are simply apathetic on the notion.”
Stafford evolved a theoretical of Cybersecurity Complacency to describe the actions and views of well-meaning, but bumbling workers who unintentionally violate security.
“It is important to realize that even the best employees can cause security breaches through inattention, apathy or unawareness,” Stafford said. “Security managers can better act to support pro-security behaviors if they do not automatically assume the security problems arise only from the bad actors in the firm.”
Stafford is a leader in the field of information systems research. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems, the longest continually-published MIS journal, and has previously served edited 13 special issues of notable journals including Communications of the ACM, IEEE Transactions and MIS Quarterly. He has also served as Editor-in-Chief of Decision Sciences.
He co-chaired the 2018 Americas Conference for Information Systems and chaired 2019 Dewald Roode Workshop on Information Systems Security Research. He has been selected to serve as the chair for the 2025 International Conference for Information Systems, one of the most notable yearly research meetings in the field of business technology.
Stafford also had two additional articles selected for publication in elite journals within the last year. “Characteristics of a Blockchain Ecosystem for Secure and Sharable Electronic Medical Records” was published in IEEE-TEM and “Reasons for Failures of CRM Implementations” was published in IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems along with Louisiana Tech doctoral candidate Mohamad Taskarji.
Dr. Bill McCumber, JPJ Investments Endowed Professor of Finance
What do Wall Street, CrossFit and Vikings have in common? If you guessed Dr. Bill McCumber, you would be correct.
“The SMIF is an opportunity that few people—even in the real world—would ever experience. It bridges the gap between ‘theory’ and ‘practice,’ allowing students to build and articulate demonstrable, professional, real-world experience. In other words, they get enviable ‘first’ jobs because they already have this job,” said McCumber. “They also, importantly, emerge from real money management with an appreciation for and understanding of how empiricists view the world. They are critical thinkers who know that ultimately, you need to make a decision—an educated one—and be held accountable for that decision.”
McCumber considers the course one of his favorites to teach, though he’s quick to point out that it’s not, by design, a traditional class. “If a typical classroom experience is PowerPoint slides, a textbook, and tests, this is the other end of the spectrum,” McCumber said. “This is experience with professional, real-time data, and tools, making analyses and decisions that have immediate and long-term, real-world consequences measured in real dollars.”
Outside the classroom, McCumber focuses his research on financial networks — how firms, people, and finance are all connected. The former wealth manager uses a supercomputer built for this research to investigate, for example, how and why a hedge fund failure on Wall Street causes a global panic and losses of jobs on Main Street.
“Finance research involving networks is in its infancy,” McCumber explained. “I’m borrowing methodology from physics, bioinformatics, neuroscience, mathematics, and computer science, and mixing these together (via complex coding on the LONI supercomputers) with economics and finance to visualize these and test numerous hypotheses that are important not only to central bankers, but to mom and pop.”
He also owns Ruston’s Catahoula CrossFit along with a group of friends he met through the high-intensity fitness program that has swept the nation. He is a competitive CrossFit athlete, Certified Level 1 Trainer, and USAW Sports Performance Coach.
McCumber is consistently recognized for inspiring students in the classroom, and, through his work as a CrossFit coach, athletes in the gym. He builds relationship, so it’s no wonder that intertwines with his research.
“Networks are everywhere. Relationships between people, companies, banks, etc. are important on a micro level, that is, to the individuals involved, but also to the entire network,” said McCumber. “All relationships between all actors, when aggregated, become the network. Relationships change. So networks change, too, over time. Networks are good…and bad. Good in that networks help us find and process information (as in: hey friends, do you have a recommendation for a contractor? What is the best school for my child? Whom do you trust to be your realtor?); bad in that they can enable criminal activity, protect bad players, (think black markets and the mob), and can bring about systemic collapse when there’s a significant shock (financial crisis).”
His work is to define what those complex, inter-temporal financial networks and relationships mean for us.
Oh, and the whole Viking thing? Like any good Norseman, he makes mead—the drink of the gods.
Dr. Kevin Watson, Jack & Peggy Byrd Endowed Professor, Assistant Professor
For Dr. Kevin Watson, it’s the hands-on approach of Louisiana Tech that appeals to him most. He and fellow faculty member Dr. Tony Inman apply that approach on a daily basis with their sustainable supply chain management students.
“It is amazing what a few words can do,” said Watson. “I’ve had students come in to discuss a specific grade and we end up talking about the life skills they need to excel in the future—things like asserting themselves in groups, asking more questions, or graduate school admissions (and how to pay for it). I had a student that came in to discuss his multiple job offers and how to possibly pick one of the jobs. I’ve had students (and parents) write an email or letter thanking me for an experience.”
Watson noted that some of the time those letters start with “I didn’t like…” or “I didn’t appreciate it at the time…”
“Then something clicked at work and they understood why we do some of the things we do, and they appreciate it,” he said. “I met a former student who now works for Walmart to discuss a project he was working on. The way he took ideas we had discussed in the classroom and logically connected them with ideas from other classes and his work in order to craft a solution to the project was brilliant. He is going to be a rock star and shoot up the corporate ladder; one day he’ll be running at least part of the show.”
Providing students with opportunities for quality placements after graduation is central to Watson’s work, and the agility the supply chain management faculty have allows them to make changes to course curriculum as employer demands change.
“Our curriculum is demanding because our students are learning valuable skills based on what employers need. We are constantly receiving and incorporating feedback from employers and alumni into the curriculum to ensure that the courses we teach reflect the skills employers need,” said Watson, who noted he and Inman work constantly expose students to new opportunities.
The duo has taken supply chain students to numerous distribution facilities and manufacturing plants across the South—a tactic that builds on Inman’s legacy of working diligently to establish strong ties with employer partners.
It is clear that employers recognize and value this, a direct benefit to students in the program.
“We’ve been able to grow the major because students value the quality placements—Walmart, Amazon, International Paper, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc.—both in terms of the companies recruiting our majors and the starting salaries our graduates are receiving,” said Watson.
Outside of his teaching responsibilities, Watson’s research focuses on supply chain information security, sustainability, and the Theory of Constraints (TOC), a topic that first garnered his interest as an MBA student because it had clear real-world problem-solving applications.
“I had a professor who made us read The Goal, a great book about the TOC,” said Watson. “The same professor brought in manufacturing executives to speak to our student APICS chapter. There was a problem involving Walmart, paint brushes, and distribution—I thought about the problem from a TOC perspective and came up with a novel solution.”
Watson presented that solution to a transportation company, which asked how they would sell it to their customers. “I didn’t know how to sell something where the benefits seemed so self-evident, so I ended up at the University of Georgia to study TOC and that solution became my dissertation.”
He also partners with College of Business faculty outside of the management department to develop relevant research—like his concept called Constraint Based Allocation with Dr. John Lauck, an assistant professor in the School of Accountancy.
“Every company has to have some means to establish product costs and to analyze process improvement projects,” said Watson. “Right now, the alternatives are expensive and/or inaccurate causing managers to make poor decisions. If our solution works, as we believe it will, it will provide accurate information at fairly low cost.”
Louisiana Tech is the best of both the teaching and research worlds for Watson, and he is proud of what the sustainable supply chain management program has grown into over the past few years.
“There is a very high level of teaching and we are very involved with our students, really hands on; I know most of our supply chain majors just by sight,” he said. “There are a lot of smart researchers to bounce ideas off, we have enough resources to provide our students with an excellent education, and we have enough support to help those students find great opportunities when starting their career.”
Dr. Julie Moulard, Balsley-Whitmore Endowed Professor, Associate Professor of Marketing
When she joined the faculty at Louisiana Tech University more than seven years ago, Dr. Julie Moulard knew she would have the chance to impact students at each level of higher education. It was the opportunity to teach and mentor doctoral students, though, that appealed to her most.
“While nearly all business schools have undergraduate programs and most have an MBA program, relatively few have doctoral programs,” said Moulard, who is currently supervising her first two dissertations. “It’s very gratifying to have such a huge positive impact on someone’s life and career. I expect to be life-long colleagues and friends with all of our doctoral students and routinely reunite with former students at conferences.”
The Associate Professor of Marketing and Balsley-Whitmore Endowed Professor also makes an enormous impact on students through her coordination of “Bulldogs in Paris,” the College of Business’ study abroad program. She considers watching students mature during the eight-day excursion some of her most memorable moments.
“The students quickly realize that the way something is done in the U.S. is not the only way—and sometimes not the best way! They better appreciate others’ differences and, thus, become more humble and empathetic,” she said. “More importantly, students gain tremendous confidence and a strong sense of independence. Navigating another culture can be really intimidating—new place, new language, new food, etc. The realization that you not only can get by—but also can thrive—is enlightening. Their new-found confidence and independence often drive students to seek out opportunities they would have never considered possible.”
Dr. Moulard, along with Professor of Marketing and Department Chair Dr. Barry Babin, take students to visit businesses in Paris and Reims — locations like Pommery Champagne House and Lesage, an embroidery company that is a supplier for luxury brands like Chanel. Students also attend lectures at IÉSEG School of Management and take several pre-trip classes to prepare and learn international business concepts and trends.
Back stateside, Dr. Moulard conducts research focusing on the authenticity of products and brands.
“The notion of ‘being authentic’ is a hot catchphrase in business,” she said. “Most people have general notions about what it means, but no one has really been able to pin it down.”
Dr. Moulard suggests there are three types of authenticity, noting each is important for increasing consumers’ perceptions of quality, satisfaction, and trust in the brand.
“True-to-fact authenticity is about being honest and transparent versus deceitful,” she said. “True-to-ideal authenticity is about being consistent — like a brand sticking to the same recipe, design, or product category. True-to-self is my favorite of the three and the one I research the most. It’s about being passionate about what you do versus doing something for the money or prestige. Brands that are true-to-self authentic are run by people that are committed and devoted; they don’t ‘sell out.’”
Her research has been published in numerous academic journals including the Journal of Business Research, Psychology, & Marketing, the International Journal of Advertising, the Journal of Marketing Education, and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
The latter — which was recently ranked the No. 1 academic journal in marketing — is published by the Academy of Marketing Science, one of the top organizations for marketing academics. In June, Moulard began a two-year term as president-elect of this prestigious organization. In addition to publishing JAMS and AMS Review, the Academy hosts two conferences per year — one in North America and one internationally.
“Prior to serving as president-elect, I was vice president for programs for four years,” said Dr. Moulard. “That position entailed overseeing the AMS North American conferences and was extremely demanding. I am happy I’ve moved on to a less-demanding position! I am also very grateful and blessed that my colleagues have entrusted me to lead the organization as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021.”
Her leadership among the best in the field also allows for a spotlight to shine on Tech’s marketing program. With an undergraduate degree, MBA and Doctor of Business Administration, the College works to influence the world of marketing in a significant way by producing well-prepared graduates.
“Our marketing analytics concentration is really unique, and graduates with a marketing analytics focus will be in high demand,” said Dr. Moulard. “So much data is being collected about consumers through their activity on the internet and through smart devices like phones and fitness trackers. Marketers can use this data to customize products, improve consumers’ experiences, and tailor promotions.”
From Ruston to Paris and the world over, Dr. Moulard’s focus on authenticity — in her research, in her leadership, in her teaching — impacts the field and beyond, just as she impacts her students each day.
Dr. Jake Lee, Clifford Ray King Endowed Professor, Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems
Dr. Lee comes to the College from the University of Texas San Antonio, and holds a Ph.D in Management Science and Systems from the State University of New York at Buffalo. As a Professor, his passion for cyber security and research has sparked interest among fellow colleagues and students.
We sat down to speak with Dr. Lee to learn more about his background, research and his experiences here at the College of Business. Take a look.
What is your title at the College of Business at Louisiana Tech University?
I am an Assistant Professor (Clifford Ray King Endowed Professor) of Computer Information Systems in the College of Business.
What are your job responsibilities/duties?
As an Assistant Professor, I conduct research, teach classes, and do academic advising. As a researcher, I investigate multiple research topics in the area of information security, particularly in the area of behavioral information security. I also conduct research in behavior privacy related ethics and emergency response management. I teach both undergraduate and graduate level students, primarily in the area of information assurance.
What does a typical day look like?
As a faculty member, I have keep a standard schedule during the quarter. I typically arrive on campus in the morning and prepare for classes and work on research. In addition, I also attend university senate meetings to discuss university wide academic / environment issues. During school breaks, I usually attend major Information Systems conferences related to my research interests. Moreover, I participate in academic workshops to improve my knowledge that can be helpful when I teach students.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I really enjoy communicating with my colleagues and students at Louisiana Tech. I believe that by doing it, I can learn a variety of topics that I cannot obtain from books or academic articles including extremely innovative ideas that I had not thought of before. My colleagues are always open to discuss our common interests and communicating with students is very enjoyable. In addition, conversations with them can be a good way to receive feedback regarding my classes and research.
What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
I think the most difficult aspect of my job is trying to find a good life balance. I spend a lot of time at school working and often do not take time to relax. I finally got the chance to get out to a couple of Louisiana Tech football games and support the team. Go Bulldogs!
What do you appreciate most about Louisiana Tech University?
Louisiana Tech provides me the best possible research and teaching environments. The community, including faculty members and staff as well as students are very friendly and supportive. This encourages me to concentrate on doing my research and teaching preparation. In addition, the work-related facilities including office, devices, and technical support are incredible.
Where did you receive your degrees? What was the focus of your dissertation?
I received my Ph.D. in Management Science and Systems from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2016. My dissertation title was “Three Essays on Information Issues in the Context of Crises and Insiders”. I focused on information management issues in the context of extreme events (a terrorist attack), insider threats in financial institutions and insider threats in law enforcement agencies.
Tell us about your latest research.
One of the research areas I am current working on is finding organizational environments and individual characteristics that may impact ethical concerns regarding use of newly implemented IT artifacts. The motivation of this research is that law enforcement authorities have started adopting and implementing the police Body Worn Camera. Although there are many potential advantages of this implementation, there are also potential disadvantages by adopting this IT artifact (i.e., loss of privacy to mismanagement of record etc.). This mismanagement is closely related to ethical behavior of the users. Thus, I am studying this topic to find factors that may impact law enforcement agents’ ethical concerns about using the Body Worn Camera.
What advice do you have for students interested in the CIS field?
If students are interested in the Computer Information Systems domain, this is the right time to invest your efforts. The role of Information Systems is becoming more and more crucial, as without an appropriate management of information systems, achieving organizations’ ultimate goals may be impossible. Supporting a company’s primary businesses by using/implementing information systems is critical in a current business ecosystem.
What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
When I graduated from college, not many people were concerned about security / privacy with regard to the use of information systems. A majority of people focused on how to generate revenue or how to use information systems to support a major business. However, as we already know, the number of negative incidents related to information security / privacy issues has been steadily increasing. Thus, I wish that I had known before I started in the field that the malicious use of information systems needed to be considered.
Dr. Mary Marshall, Assistant Professor of Accounting
Mary Marshall, PhD, CPA, assistant professor of accounting at Louisiana Tech University, has been selected as the recipient of one of four Access to Audit Personnel Program awards given by the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) and the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association (AAA).
“We’re proud of Mary for receiving this award and are excited for the opportunities it brings to her research,” said Dr. Chris Martin, dean of the College of Business. “Her research is just one example of how College of Business faculty members are working to solve real-world business problems through impactful research.”
Marshall’s research, “Outcome Bias or Surrogation? Examining Audit Reviewer Evaluations of Skeptical Actions,” is a collaboration with Kelli Saunders, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Chad M. Stefaniak, University of South Carolina. The project focuses on how the public accounting firm environment influences auditors when they are making judgments and decisions.
“Most of my projects focus on review process, specifically examining how early career accountants interact with their supervisors,” said Marshall. “This has practical impact because my findings are informative to public accounting firms as they continue to improve their processes and to new accountants as they begin their careers.”
The Access to Audit Personnel Program will connect Marshall and other researchers with approximately 550 auditors at CAQ Governing Board firms. Since the program’s inception, the CAQ and the AAA Auditing Section have supported 26 academic projects and provided access to over 3,300 audit practitioners.
“One of the most challenging aspects of doing experimental research with public accounting professionals is recruiting participants because auditors and tax professionals are very busy providing client service,” said Marshall. “This award removes that hurdle for this project, which examines a research question that is interesting to both academics and practitioners.”
Marshall joined the Louisiana Tech College of Business faculty in 2018, after earning a PhD from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. She also holds a Master of Public Administration from the Hugo Wall School at Wichita State University, and has experience working in accounting, primarily focused on tax compliance, and municipal budgeting.
Her research interests include judgment and decision making of public accounting professionals, corporate tax managers, and taxpayers, with particular interest in the effects of professional roles on behavior and on the impact of tax policy on individual taxpayer decisions.
“In addition to the great colleagues I see on a daily basis, I really enjoy how well my teaching and research fit together,” said Marshall. “Many of our graduates start their careers in public accounting, so my research helps me stay current as I teach them about the environment they’ll be working in.”
About the CAQ
The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) is an autonomous public policy organization dedicated to enhancing investor confidence and public trust in the global capital markets. The CAQ fosters high-quality performance by public company auditors; convenes and collaborates with other stakeholders to advance the discussion of critical issues that require action and intervention; and advocates policies and standards that promote public company auditors’ objectivity, effectiveness, and responsiveness to dynamic market conditions. Based in Washington, DC, the CAQ is affiliated with the American Institute of CPAs. For more information, visit thecaq.org.
About the AAA
The American Accounting Association (AAA) promotes worldwide excellence in accounting education, research and practice. The Association is a voluntary organization of persons interested in accounting education and research. For more information, visit aaahq.org.
Dr. John Lauck, Assistant Professor of Accounting
A new study is the first to experimentally prove that social media activity can actually make you worse at your job. Specifically, the study finds that seeing social media posts of people having fun adversely affects the work that accountants perform as part of an audit.
“We were concerned about the effect of social media on how people think about themselves, and what that may mean for workplace performance,” says Summer Williams, co-author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at Westfield State University.
“For example, on social media, we see other people sharing the best parts of their lives,” says Stephen Kuselias, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of accounting at Providence College. “That can skew our perceptions of the quality of our lives relative to the lives of other people. We wanted to know how that might interfere with the quality of work performance.”
To that end, the researchers conducted an experiment with 56 auditors from four international accounting firms. All of the study participants were asked to assess the suitability of myriad materials to serve as evidence in an audit. The study participants were also divided into three groups, each of which interacted with different social media content.
Group A was shown images of people having fun in public locations. Group B was shown images of the same locations, but without people having fun. And Group C saw the same images that Group A saw but was also shown posts related to work.
The researchers found some social media interactions had a pronounced effect on study participants.
“Specifically, we found that seeing images of people engaging in social activities made study participants worse at collecting evidence relevant to an audit,” Kuselias says.
However, the researchers also found that seeing work-related content in their social media feed mitigated the effect of seeing the social images.
“These findings are significant for businesses in general, not just for accounting,” Williams says. “It demonstrates experimentally that social media use affects how people do their jobs.”
What’s more, the researchers say that the effect they saw on job performance would likely be magnified if workers were looking at their actual social media accounts.
The researchers concede that there is no realistic way for companies to control employee access to social media at work. However, they hope the study raises awareness of how social media can affect our ability to do our jobs.
“This work adds to what other studies have found about the adverse impact social media has on stress, emotions and other aspects of our lives that can affect us in the workplace,” Williams says.
“We know from prior research that people’s interaction with social media influences how they think and feel, as well as how they feel about those around them,” says John Lauck, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of accounting at Louisiana Tech University. “Our study suggests that those perceptions can influence professionals’ job performance with implications for the quality of their work.”
The paper, “Social Media Content and Social Comparisons: An Experimental Examination of their Effect on Audit Quality,” appears in Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, which is published by the American Accounting Association.
A copy of the full study is available at https://doi.org/10.2308/AJPT-18-154
The American Accounting Association (www.aaahq.org) is the largest community of accountants in academia. Founded in 1916, we have a rich and reputable history built on leading-edge research and publications. The diversity of our membership creates a fertile environment for collaboration and innovation. Collectively, we shape the future of accounting through teaching, research and a powerful network, ensuring our position as thought leaders in accounting.
Note: This press release appeared on aaahq.org on Dec. 11, 2020.
Dr. Marcia Dickerson, Francis Mangham Endowed Professor of Management
What researchers learn from a survey is highly dependent on its quality. Dr. Marcia Simmering Dickerson’s latest publication helps academics develop higher quality surveys, leading to more accurate tests of theory and practice.
Dickerson, who serves as the Francis Mangham Endowed Professor in Louisiana Tech University’s College of Business, recently published “Attitude Toward the Color Blue: An Ideal Marker Variable” in Organizational Research Methods, an elite scholarly journal that brings relevant methodological developments to researchers working in organizational sciences.
“Academic research is often based on survey responses, but what we can learn about management and business from those surveys is highly dependent on their quality,” said Dickerson, who conducted this research with Dr. Brian K. Miller of Texas State University. “This article introduces a special set of questions that can be included on a survey and later analyzed to catch response errors. It’s one way that researchers can have confidence in their data and conclusions.”
Researchers often use post hoc statistical techniques to identify common method variance (CMV) in same source data; one viable option is to use a marker variable. The choice of marker variable is important, yet these variables are difficult to find, primarily because they must be theoretically unrelated to study variables but measured in the same way.
Her research uses scale development best practices to create a marker variable—attitude toward the color blue—that can be applied in a wide variety of social science research.
The article addresses scale reliability and validity, tests discriminant validity with other measures that detect CMV, and applies the Confirmatory Factor Analysis Marker Technique with this scale.
Dickerson’s prior research in this content area has been cited over 2,400 times.
While much of her current research is aimed at improving the quality of survey design and analysis, she has recently examined helping managers improve the way that they give feedback, particularly when sharing criticism. Dickerson has published more than 23 journal articles and made over 45 national conference presentations on topics such as training and development, compensation, performance feedback, and research methods.
For more information, visit journals.sagepub.com/home/orm.