Dr. David Jones, inaugural holder of the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy
Dr. David Jones, inaugural holder of the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy

The Fox School of Business at Temple University adds to its growing number of endowed chairs and professorships with the creation of the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy.

This distinguished chair was created through a $2 million gift from Saul A. Fox, SMC ’75, in honor of his father, Jerome Fox. The late Jerome Fox was a World War II veteran, a certified public accountant, and the founder of the former Philadelphia accounting firm Gelrod Fox & Company. This chair is to be held by high-level practitioners of accounting, taxation and financial strategy, who hold the same zeal for these areas of academic focus as Fox did.

“My father was an accountant by trade, but he viewed a position as a high school history teacher as perhaps his highest calling,” Saul Fox said. “Though he chose a different career path, my father equally valued the accounting industry and the role of education in our society. The establishment of this distinguished chair at the Fox School of Business melds my father’s two lifelong passions and honors his memory as a successful accounting practitioner.”

Following an extensive global search, Dr. David E. Jones in July 2015 was appointed an Associate Professor of Accounting at the Fox School and the inaugural holder of the Jerome Fox Chair in Accounting, Taxation, and Financial Strategy.

With more than 35 years of public accounting experience, Jones has worked with Ernst & Young LLP as a tax partner in Atlanta, Orlando, Indianapolis and Cleveland. He became the U.S. National Tax Leader and Global CEO of the GEMS (Global Mobility) Tax Practice at Ernst & Young. He has significant Big Four managerial leadership and global tax experience at Ernst & Young in the U.S. Jones has served large SEC tax clients, individuals with high net worth and entrepreneurial ventures.

Jones, who has presented at regional or national conferences, conducts behavioral research on tax professionals, and legal tax research, especially on international and domestic tax topics. His research explores issues that impact taxpayers and tax professionals as well as tax policy matters of importance. He has published in academic and practice oriented journals.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Auburn University, a Master of Taxation degree from Georgia State University, and a Doctor of Management degree from Case Western Reserve University.

Saul Fox will visit Temple University’s Fox School of Business Wednesday, Nov. 18, for a Jerome Fox Chair Talk and Reception event, to be attended by Dr. Neil D. Theobald, Temple University President, and Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School.

Hayley LeatherIn 10 years, Hayley Leather would like to own a zoo.

With this professional aspiration in mind, the 22-year-old Fox School of Business student has focused her efforts on attaining the business expertise every zookeeper requires, while studying within Fox’s Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management department.

Leather’s research paper in a related area – into the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill that devastated animal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico – won the 2015 American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) White Paper contest.

Her essay, titled Why the BP Macondo Gulf Blowout is Important…and It’s Not What You Think, explores the complexities and uses of additional insured status and contractual indemnity in the oil industry, and the potential effects of restrictions. Leather synthesized legal precedent and interviewed experts in the field to uncover how unusual anti-indemnity strategies could change the face of risk contracting in the oil industry.

“This wasn’t anything that had been done before,” said Leather, a Risk Management and Insurance major. “Previously companies just did as they assumed, but BP really challenged all that.”

Winning essays were deemed to have communicated the significance of risk management in the future of wholesale, excess or surplus insurance lines in the manner of previous White Paper winners. Leather, one of two winners nationally, received $2,000 for her award-winning paper and an expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. in May 2015 to attend the AAMGA Annual Meeting. While there, a mentor from the risk industry will be paired with Leather.

“I’ll be able to hear what’s going on in the industry and have a contact to talk to the whole time to explain it to me,” Leather said.

Leather credits Storm Wilkins, Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management, with encouraging her to enter the contest. Wilkins also serves as faculty advisor for Temple’s Sigma Chapter of the risk management fraternity, Gamma Iota Sigma, of which Leather is a member. Leather, who had written previously on the BP crisis, knew that expanding upon the topic for the contest made sense, given her interest in animal welfare and risk management.

“Hayley researched the issues thoroughly, and even reached out to an industry expert to ensure that her work was first-rate,” Wilkins said. “I encourage my students to enter competitions such as the AAMGA White Paper contest because it allows them showcase their abilities beyond Temple University.”

Leather, who transferred into the Fox School in Summer 2014, said her brother, Jonathan, FOX ’09, pushed her into the Risk Management field. Previously, she had been a science major.

“I wasn’t happy with the idea of staring at a computer or microscope all day. I didn’t want to do that,” Leather said. “I love business in general and something that is important to all business is managing the risks.”

Merging her love of animals with her penchant for business, Leather has interned with the Navy Marine Mammals Program in San Diego. Somewhat closer to home, the native of Cheltenham, Pa., also has interned as a zookeeper at the Wild World of Animals in Eighty Four, Pa. Leather hopes to one day work for SeaWorld Entertainment, managing risks for one of the organization’s seven parks, before applying her business savvy when opening her own zoo.

Diana Kyser
Diana Kyser

Diana Kyser’s management style involves intricately fitting together a company’s puzzle pieces. Sometimes, a few pieces are missing. In most cases, the pieces are there and simply need to be arranged.

It’s a skill Kyser said she has always possessed.

“In our Navigating the Global Marketplace class, Professor (Ram) Mudambi talks about orchestrators – the kinds of people who can take a product that’s already in place and improve upon it,” Kyser said. “Professionally, that’s how I see myself. I’m a builder, a fixer.”

Kyser is a doctoral candidate in the inaugural cohort of the Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program at the Fox School of Business.

She’s also one of the leading businesswomen in New Jersey.

NJBIZ has named Kyser one of its Best 50 Women in Business for 2015.  The weekly business journal selects women who reside or maintain employment in New Jersey, and must hold a senior management position within their organization. Honorees are either self-nominated or nominated by others. (Click here for NJBIZ’s 2015 honorees.)

“This is the 10th-annual award for NJBIZ. I’ve been nominated before, but I’d never been selected, so it’s rewarding,” said Kyser, of Summit, N.J.

Kyser’s professional background is rich with leadership experience. She’s the founding partner of COO on Demand, assisting companies in tailoring their execution strategies and formalizing their operations to scale for continued growth. Kyser’s company, which was founded nearly three years ago, offers operational experts to handle bookkeeping, human resources, management communications, business strategizing, and more for companies of all sizes.

“Maybe you’re a small business that needs help with the operations side, so the owner can focus on running the product side,” Kyser said. “Maybe you have a mid-size business that needs help refining its operations or strengthening its overall business plan. Maybe you manage a big business and you need a chief operations officer on an interim basis until you can hire one. These are some of the services we offer.

“Some of these companies could really benefit from high-level, experienced talent but, at the moment, can’t afford it. We think COO on Demand is quite revolutionary.”

Ultimately, Kyser said, she envisions bringing all of COO on Demand’s employees and offerings under one roof in a call-center-like setting, with management services being rendered by phone.

“It all comes back to reducing small-business failure rate, and it’s a goal that can be achieved,” she said.

A lifelong entrepreneur, Kyser in the early 1990s helped found C3i, which blossomed into a worldwide leader in technical support services for life sciences companies. She and two other C3i cofounders sold the $75 million venture funded global technology solutions firm within the last year to Telerx, a division of Merck.

Looking for another challenge, Kyser enrolled in Fox’s Executive DBA program, which launched in Fall 2014. She’s surrounded by others like her, who hold high-level, senior leadership positions as researchers, executives or entrepreneurs. The program, which is offered by only a handful of business schools nationwide, combines research with real-world experience.

“I can’t tell you how amazingly skilled the people in this program are,” Kyser said. “Their wealth of experience and knowledge is unbelievable. I’ve always loved academics and learning, and this program puts the business piece right there with the research and learning pieces.”

Just like in Kyser’s professional career, it’s all about fitting the pieces together.

A new study of 365 sell-side financial analysts shows that private phone calls with managers remain an essential source of analysts’ earnings forecasts and stock recommendations – even in light of regulations limiting businesses’ selective disclosure of financial information.

More than half of the analysts surveyed by a team of accounting researchers said they make direct contact with executives of companies they cover five or more times per year. The direct contact with management is so important that one analyst said his company hired an FBI profiler to train analysts “to read management teams, to tell when they’re lying, to tell when they were uncomfortable with a question. That’s how serious this whole issue has become.”

“Everyone who reads our paper comes away with something, but one key takeaway is the importance of private conversations between analysts and managers even in a post-Regulation Fair Disclosure (FD) world,” said Lawrence D. Brown, the Seymour Wolfbein Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, who conducted the study with professors at Arizona State University, University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M.

The survey also finds that accurate earnings forecasts and profitable stock recommendations have relatively little direct impact on analysts’ compensation. These findings are derived from a study titled Inside the Black Box of Sell Side Financial Analysts, which presents results of a 23-question survey focused on analysts’ incentives, as well as 18 detailed follow-up interviews.

The study offers insights into an area that is understudied by researchers of the financial industry. While hundreds of articles have sought to predict financial analysts’ choices using models and statistics, few have peered into the “black box” of the organizational contexts and personal psychologies that drive analysts’ decision-making.

The study’s findings also serve as a potential commentary on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), launched in 2000 to limit selective disclosure of market-moving information to analysts or other key stakeholders prior to the general public.

But respondents noted that companies’ public conference calls discussing quarterly earnings are often followed by one-on-one conversations between analysts and chief financial officers. According to one analyst: “We’re almost back to where we were pre-Reg FD, but not quite because that backroom chatter is shut down. It’s just now it’s not in the backroom; it’s everywhere.”

More insights from the survey include:

  • Approximately one quarter of analysts feel pressured by supervisors to lower their earnings forecasts, presumably because outperforming forecasts pleases investors.
  • Approximately one quarter of analysts feel pressured by supervisors to raise their recommendations, presumably because it is easier to get their clients to buy rather than to sell the stocks they recommend.
  • While only 35 percent of analysts said the profitability of their stock recommendations were a very important determinant of their compensation, 67 percent cited “standing in analyst rankings or broker votes” as central to their compensation.
  • Only half of analysts considered primary research “very useful” in forecasting earnings or recommending stocks.

The study was conducted by Lawrence D. Brown, Seymour Wolfbein Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Temple University’s Fox School of Business; Andrew C. Call, Assistant Professor at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business; Michael B. Clement, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business; and Nathan Y. Sharp, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. The full text is available on Social Science Research Network at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2228373.

Assistant Professor Steven N. Pyser, jointly appointed to the Legal Studies and Human Resource Management departments of Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has contributed his insights on the impact of trust on business success in a new book, Trust Inc.: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset.

Trust Inc.’s editor, Barbara Brooks Kimmel — co-founder and executive director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World — selected 30 experts to make the case for trust in the new book.

This handbook on organizational trust is divided into six sections: Why trust matters; How trust works in practice; What it takes to be a trustworthy leader; How trustworthy teams impact business; How to restore trust; and A new paradigm for organizational trust. Pyser authored the latter.

Pyser’s essay, titled, Capitalism and High Trust: Leveraging Social Worlds as Intangible Assets, was inspired by his pracademics approach — combining the works and viewpoints of academics and practitioners — as well as the applied practice and research he’s conducted in the past 15 years.

In his essay, Pyser argues that having an understanding of performance standards and a working definition of workplace trust are winning strategies required to achieve excellence in today’s global business economy.

He offers a new paradigm and structure for global capitalism and competitiveness. It requires a culture of high trust by leveraging conversations and business communications through “social worlds” and “communication perspectives” used as intangible assets.

“Being recognized for domain expertise by Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is a wonderful honor,” Pyser said. “I’m privileged to be in the esteemed company of the international expert contributors in the book.”

In discussing his essay and how to build capacities for business trust connections, he acknowledged the integral role of being Temple Made (LAW ’84) and serving on the Fox faculty at a world-class research university play in developing his theories, personal and professional successes.

Pyser said he appreciates the academic freedom and ability to innovate as a Fox professor through the continuing support of the Dean’s Office and his department chairs – in Legal Studies, Dr. Samuel D. Hodge, Jr. and in Human Resource Management, Dr. Deanna Geddes. “Their encouragement and varied course assignments have motivated my teaching, research and emerging applied practice approaches to business trust,” he said.

Pyser reserved the highest praise for his students, who “have taught him well” about the role trust plays in education, business and life. He indicated that “trust is a catalyst for learning together in community, professional growth and enhancement of transferable workforce skills.

“Fox students continue to impress me how they make things happen – especially, their commitment to academic excellence, grit, resilience and real-world readiness,” Pyer said.

Pyser is the president and founder at The Pyser Group, which specializes in ethics, leadership development, corporate governance and sustainability strategies. He is a Caux Round Table Fellow and contributes to the current work of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Millennium Development Goals and post-2015 Development Agenda.

Connect with Pyser via SNPyser@temple.edu, @ProfessorEthics on Twitter or www.linkedin.com/pub/steven-pyser/2/746/435 via LinkedIn.

The longer CEOs stay in the power – and a new study suggests most of them do, exceeding the optimal tenure length by about three years – the more likely chief executives are to limit outside sources of market and customer information, ultimately hurting firm performance.

Research titled, How does CEO tenure matter? The mediating role of firm-employee and firm-customer relationships, examines why a longer CEO tenure may not always produce positive results for firm performance.

The researchers — Charles Gilliland Professor of Marketing Xueming Luo and PhD candidate Michelle Andrews of the Fox School of Business at Temple University and PhD candidate Vamsi K. Kanuri of Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at the University of Missouri — explored two primary stakeholders, employees and customers, who are influenced by CEO tenure.

From studying 365 U.S. companies over a decade (2000-10), measuring CEO tenure, and calculating the strength of both firm-employee and firm-customer relationships, researchers found that the longer a CEO serves, the stronger the firm-employee relationship becomes. However, an extended period with the same CEO results in a weakened firm-customer relationship over time.

According to the study, the average CEO holds office for 7.6 years, but the optimal tenure length is 4.8 years.

“As CEOs accumulate knowledge and become entrenched, they rely more on their internal networks – employees – for information, growing less attuned to market conditions and customers,” Luo said. “And because these longer-tenured CEOs have more invested in the firm, they favor avoiding losses over pursuing gains. Their attachment to the status quo makes them less responsive to vacillating consumer preferences.”

There are two types of learning styles CEOs adopt during their tenure: explorative and exploitive learning via external and internal information sources.

In the early stages of tenure, CEOs demonstrate a desire for a diverse flow of information and engage in receiving information from both external and internal company sources. Therefore, firm relationship between employees and customers is positive.

However, as CEOs become more knowledgeable and serve for a longer period, they begin to focus on the flow of information from internal sources versus what comes from outside markets. This is in large part due to longer-tenured CEOs becoming more risk averse because of all they have invested in their firm. This leads chief executives to resist challenging the status quo, further alienating them from market environments and weakening customer relations. Ultimately, this hurts firm performance.

“We’re not saying, ‘Fire your CEOs after 4.8 years,’” Andrews said in regard to the weakened relationship with customers after what researchers found to be the optimal tenure length. “But if company boards restructure CEO packages to cater to consumers more, you may find yourself with better results.”

If boards develop incentive plans for longer-tenured CEOs to encourage more reliance on external market trends and dynamics, customer relations – and therefore firm performance – could be enhanced.

“After all, you’re only a firm if you have customers,” Andrews said. “Without customers, no firm can prosper – or even survive.”

The full study appears online in the Strategic Management Journal.

—Alexis Wright-Whitley

 

Your work meetings are full of employees paying more attention to the text messages on their smart phones than to the individual speaking. You offer a suggestion and notice a coworker rolling his eyes in a condescending manner. You smile at a colleague in the hall who seemingly ignores you. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. A recent poll suggests that 98% of North-American employees have experienced incivility in the workplace. Organizational researchers describe that incivility, synonymous with rudeness, can take many shapes or forms in the workplace: ignoring or excluding someone, eye-rolling, gossiping, making demeaning remarks to or about someone, or showing little interest in another’s opinion.

If you think that failing to hold the door open for a colleague or making a joke at another’s expense are relatively harmless, researchers at the Fox School of Business at Temple University would suggest that you should think again. In their paper The Effects of Passive Leadership on Workplace Incivility, Assistant Professor and Cigna Research Fellow Crystal Harold, and Assistant Professor Brian Holtz examine the role that managers play in fostering rude behavior.

“We were interested in studying workplace incivility, and more specifically, factors that might promote the occurrence of incivility because let’s face it, just about everyone has either been treated rudely at work, treated someone else rudely at work, or both,” Harold said. “There are people out there who likely think that these sorts of behaviors are fairly innocuous. But available data would suggest otherwise.”

In their research, Harold and Holtz draw from prior incivility research indicating that victims of incivility are significantly more likely to decrease the quality of their work, be absent from the office, and ultimately leave the organization. What’s more, addressing the fallout from workplace incivility is estimated to cost companies millions of dollars each year.

“Because incivility has negative psychological and physical effects on victims and is costly for organizations, it is important that we begin to understand why incivility occurs in the first place. What conditions foster an uncivil work environment?” Holtz continued, “It made sense to us that leadership would be an important and significant variable to consider.”

Harold and Holtz conducted two studies in which they surveyed employees, their supervisors, and their colleagues to determine the role of management in workplace incivility. “We were particularly interested in passive leadership. In literature and popular press, you read a lot about either these amazing transformational leaders at one extreme, or these tyrannical nightmare bosses on the other,” Harold noted. “However, there are many managers who fall somewhere in the middle; who aren’t particularly active, who try to ignore problems, who overlook employees’ bad behaviors, or who are just generally reticent to actually manage their employees.”

Holtz added, “If someone is rude to you at work and your manager does nothing in response, you’re likely to conclude that either no one cares, or that these types of behaviors are acceptable. It is the manager’s responsibility to intervene in the face of workplace incivility. When that doesn’t happen, it creates an environment in which future uncivil acts are more likely.”

Results of their research do in fact support that employees who work under passive managers are both more likely to experience rudeness, and more likely to behave rudely themselves.

“We found that the experience of being treated with incivility coupled with working for a passive manager significantly increased the likelihood that an employee would both behave with incivility him/herself, as well as engage in withdrawal behaviors such as showing up to work late, or even calling out when not actually sick” Holtz explained. “The bottom line is that in the process of doing nothing, these types of managers are actually doing a lot of damage.”

In light of these results, Harold and Holtz offer a number of practical suggestions for
organizations wanting to deter workplace incivility. “First, you have to educate your employees and management that these seemingly harmless behaviors are anything but. Training employees, and importantly managers, to recognize what incivility is, is an important first step” Harold noted.

Companies also need to set ground rules. “Make clear which behaviors constitute incivility, clarify the consequences for engaging in these behaviors, and adopt a zero-tolerance policy. This is where managerial training comes into play. Managers must learn to intervene when employees are behaving badly towards one another, and quickly take punitive action against offenders,” Holtz said.

Harold concluded “At the end of the day, managers have to be good role models. A company’s efforts to curb rudeness will be for naught, if the manager him/herself is the one instigating the incivility.”

Harold and Holtz’s study is in press at the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
—Alexis Wright-Whitley

Porath, C.L., Pearson, C.M. “The Price of Incivility.” Harvard Business Review Jan/Feb (2013).