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Finance & Decision Sciences

Faculty Research


An Examination of Factors that Influence Students' IT Career Decisions

A key challenge resulting from the rapid growth of the information technology (IT) industry is finding enough qualified workers to fill available positions. In this paper, Holland’s Theory of Occupational Themes (TOT), Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT), and Career Construction Theory (CCT) are used to investigate how job related beliefs, career planning perceptions, and occupational congruence work together to influence students’ career decisions, major satisfaction, and academic performance. Using 210 student responses, we empirically test a theoretically derived research model. Our findings suggest that job security is a strong predictor of both IT career optimism and career planning ability. In addition, career optimism and career planning ability are important antecedents of students’ IT career commitment, which significantly influences satisfaction with academic major. A modest portion of academic performance was explained by the model. Notably, occupational congruence was found to be a poor predictor of academic major satisfaction and performance.

Article Citation:

Diana Young, Darrell Carpenter, and Michele Maasberg. 2017. An Examination of Factors that Influence Students' IT Career Decisions. Journal of Computer Information Systems (forthcoming).


Malware Avoidance Motivations and Behaviors: A Technology Threat Avoidance Replication 

The current study presents a conceptual replication of Liang and Xue’s (2010) test of their proposed Technology Threat Avoidance Theory (TTAT). Whereas the original study investigated individuals’ spyware related threat perceptions, avoidance motivations, and behaviors; we applied the original study’s research questions, hypotheses, and model to the more general context of malware. Results from a sample of 486 computer users revealed that safeguard effectiveness, safeguard cost, and self-efficacy are relatively robust predictors of avoidance motivation across varied settings. Perceived severity is a strong predictor of perceived threat, however the impact of this overall threat perception (along with its perceived susceptibility antecedent) may be less stable in predicting avoidance motivation under changing contextual/environmental circumstances. The results suggest that TTAT is a valid foundational framework for examining user behavior related to malicious software. Future research should investigate additional predictors of avoidance motivation such as risk propensity, distrust, and impulse control to improve the power of the model. Additionally, the current TTAT instrument offers several opportunities for enhanced measurement accuracy through item modifications, scale anchor revisions, and improvements in parsimony. 

Article Citation:

Diana Young, Alex McLeod, and Darrell Carpenter. 2017. Malware Avoidance Motivations and Behaviors: A Technology Threat Avoidance Replication. AIS Transactions in Replication Research (forthcoming).


An Empirical Examination of an Agile Contingent Project/Method Fit Model

While research has demonstrated positive productivity and quality gains from using agile software development methods (SDMs), some experts argue that no single SDM suits every project context. We lack empirical evidence about the project contextual factors that influence when one should use these methods. Research suggests several factors to explain agile method appropriateness; however, generalizable empirical evidence supporting these suggestions is weak. To address this need, we used contingency theory and the information processing model to develop the agile contingent project/method fit model. Subsequently, we used the model to analyze the influence of project contextual factors and agile practices on software development professionals’ perceptions regarding agile SDM appropriateness. We tested the model using survey data collected from 122 systems development professionals who provided information regarding: 1) contextual factors surrounding a recent agile development project, 2) agile practices applied during the course of that project, and 3) perceptions regarding the relative fit (appropriateness) of the agile method used. Linear regression identified several significant relationships between project contextual factors, agile practices, and respondents’ relative fit perceptions.

Article Citation:

Diana Young, Nicole Beebe, Glenn Dietrich, and Charles Zhechao Liu. 2017. An Empirical Examination of an Agile Contingent Project/Method Fit Model. Communications of the Association for Information Systems (forthcoming).


Institutional Arrangements and Debt Financing

I find that institutional arrangements have an impact on the real economy by affecting firms’ choice between private and public debt and the subsequent financing costs. Using new debt issued by firms in 26 non-US countries, I find, after controlling for firm characteristics predicted by debt agency and information asymmetry theories, that the level of financial market development, the efficiency of bankruptcy procedure, the integrity and enforceability of laws, and the transparency of financial information have significant impacts not only on firms’ debt choice and yield to maturity in the domestic debt market, but also their issuance choice in the international debt market.

Article Citation:

Shage Zhang. 2016. Institutional Arrangements and Debt Financing. Research in International Business and Finance, Vol. 36 (January), pp. 362-372.


Collaboration Network Structure vs. Learning Rates

This study explores whether characteristics of the collaboration structure in software development teams affect development learning rates, with a secondary goal of testing product complexity as a moderator. We develop suitable hypotheses under the theoretical lens of cognitive load theory. The empirical study uses archival data on an ordinary least squares model to find significant associations between collaboration structure, product complexity and the learning rates exhibited by 230 development teams producing open source software. Results show two distinct subgroups of projects: The first subgroup exhibits an average 78% learning rate, and the other subgroup “unlearned”, i.e., productivity deteriorated over time instead of improved. In the learning subgroup, collaboration network density negatively impacted learning, while product complexity interacted with collaboration network centralisation and boundary spanning activity. In the unlearning subgroup, only network density impacted learning rates and no moderating effects were found. Practical implications and future opportunities for research are discussed.

Article Citation:

Jorge Colazo. 2016. A Cognitive Load View and Empirical Test of Collaboration Network Structure vs. Learning Rates in New Software Development. International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 20 (1).


What's News in Exchange Rate Dynamics: A DSGE Approach

This paper examines the medium and long-term impacts of economic news on exchange rate movements. We extend a standard new open economy macroeconomics model by allowing anticipated (news) shocks in purchasing power parity and real interest rates, and perform a structural Bayesian estimation. Using 20 years of quarterly data from the US and the euro area, we find that anticipated shocks account for more than 40 percent of exchange rate fluctuations.

Article Citation:

K. Chen and Shage Zhang. 2015. What's news in exchange rate dynamics: A DSGE approach. Economics Letters, Vol. 134, pp. 133-137


Diversification Discount over the Long Run: New Perspectives

We study the long-term trend of excess value and internal capital allocation of diversified firms from 1976 to 2013. The late 1970s and 1980s are characterized by large average diversification discount but narrow dispersion of excess value. Excess value of diversified firms becomes less negative on average after 1990, but its dispersion grows larger. In contrast, capital allocation efficiency of diversified firms converges significantly over time. Three quarters of diversified firms do not suffer from severe capital misallocation after the early 2000s. The effect of capital allocation efficiency on excess value varies over time and becomes larger in recent years.

Article Citation:

M. Mazur and Shage Zhang. 2015. Diversification Discount over the Long Run: New Perspective. Finance Research Letters, Vol. 15, pp. 93-98.


The Perfect Withdrawal Amount: A Methodology for Creating Retirement Account Distribution Strategies

We present a new way to develop withdrawal strategies from retirement portfolios. It is derived analytically, instead of from empirical testing, and it iterates always in the same manner. It is based on a new measure we develop, the Perfect Withdrawal Amount, for which we discuss how to construct a probability distribution and how to apply it sequentially. We also derive a new measure of sequencing risk. We present new strategies built with this framework.

Article Citation:

E. Dante Suarez, Antonio Suarez, and Dan Walz. 2015. Financial Services Review, Vol. 24 (4), pp. 331-357.


Performance Implications of Stage-Wise Lead User Participation in Software Development Problem Solving

The problem-solving view of new product development sees the innovation process as a series of problem-solving loops broken down into three stages: problem detection, analysis and removal. We link this framework with lead user-driven innovation regarding software and show that effort by lead users (LUs) in each stage of the innovation problem solving process is, in varying degrees, associated with the source code’s quality, the productivity of the development process and the software’s popularity. We also test whether front loading the problem solving process is associated with development performance and we find that front loading is associated with increased code quality but decreased development productivity. Empirical tests are carried out with data from open source software projects. Findings potentially impact the design and management of online communities to help product development.

Article Citation:

Jorge Colazo. 2014. Performance Implications of Stage-Wise Lead User Participation in Software Development Problem Solving. Decision Support Systems 67 (November), pp. 100-108.


A Comprehensive Method to Assess Work System Security Risk

This article presents a comprehensive method to assess system security risks. The method includes a cohesive set of steps to not only identify a more complete set of security risks but also assess them in a systematic manner. The method is based on the integration of two kinds of models: (1) qualitative models emphasizing security risk factors and security requirement determination and (2) quantitative models that focus on formal evaluation and assessment of system security risks. Unlike most of the existing methods, the proposed method covers the whole process of system security risk assessment spanning all three phases—ascertainment of security requirements, measurement of evidence for security requirements, and evaluation of evidence against the needed security mechanisms. The article extends existing work on system security risk methods by incorporating new ideas of multifaceted security view and work system in a coherent set of steps. The article demonstrates the application of the proposed method to a real application and discusses the major results.

Article Citation:

S. Yadav and Tianxi Dong. 2014. A Comprehensive Method to Assess Work System Security Risk. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Vol 34.


Framing Information Security Budget Requests to Influence Investment Decisions

Researchers studying the economics of information security have traditionally focused on the use of rational choice decision models for evaluating investment alternatives. Security investment decisions involve risk, and several researchers have noted that risk-related decisions often violate the fundamental principles of rational choice decision models. This study tests the prevailing presumption in published research that information security investment decisions are made in an entirely rational manner. We empirically validated our hypothesis that information security investment decision makers in fact exhibit preference reversals when faced with competing budget alternatives involving risk. Specifically, we observed the framing effect under prospect theory, which suggests that individuals exhibit unique risk attitudes when evaluating gain-related and loss-related risk decisions. Accordingly, we argue that existing, widely accepted rational choice and economic models for information security investments need to be supplemented with risk perception measurement and account for individual level decision biases.

Article Citation:

Nicole Beebe, F. Chang, and Diana Young. 2014. Framing Information Security Budget Requests to Influence Investment Decisions. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Vol 35 (1), pp. 133-143.


Structural Changes Associated with Temporal Dispersion: Evidence from Open Source Software Teams

Collaboration structure and temporal dispersion (TD) in teams have been studied independently so far. This study uses Media Synchronicity Theory (MST) to derive hypotheses positing that the structure of collaboration networks in distributed teams changes when those teams are more temporally dispersed. The empirical test of hypotheses using ordinary least squares with archival data from 230 open source software (OSS) projects shows that the collaboration structure networks of those OSS teams that are more temporally dispersed are sparser and more centralized, and these associations are stronger in those teams exhibiting higher relative performance. Theoretical and practical consequences are discussed.

Article Citation:

Jorge Colazo. 2014. Structural Changes Associated with Temporal Dispersion: Evidence from Open Source Software Teams. International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol 18 (5).


Distributed Agency

Distributed Agency is the name of a conceptual framework for describing complex adaptive systems that this paper develops. To understand the complexity of the world in a holistic fashion, the field of Modeling and Simulation is currently lacking a common terminology in which different bodies of knowledge can communicate with each other in a general language. In this work, agency is proposed as the common link between the different dimensions of reality, expressing the influence of one dimension on another. This conceptualization is based on a process of backwards induction where nested actors such as an evolved organism or a human choice can be represented as the resulting force of intertwined aims and constraints. The theoretical framework can serve as a point of reference for the social and computational researcher by communicating structural and emergent properties that are essential for the understanding of social and evolutionary phenomena such as companies, economies, governments, and ecosystems.

Article Citation:

Eugenio Dante Suarez and Manuel Castañón-Puga. 2013. Distributed Agency. International Journal of Agent Technologies and Systems, Vol. 5(1), pp. 32-52.


Mandatory Prerequisite Testing and Performance in Intermediate Corporate Finance

The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between mandatory prerequisite testing and performance in Intermediate Corporate Finance. Scores on prerequisite tests are strongly, positively related to Intermediate Finance course grades even after controlling for variables previously found to determine student Principles of Finance success. Because mandatory prerequisite testing results are highly indicative of ultimate performance in Intermediate Finance, this testing may be used to help counsel students regarding remedial actions they may take to improve course outcome.

Article Citation:

L. Paige Fields. 2013. Mandatory Prerequisite Testing and Performance in Intermediate Corporate Finance. Journal of Financial Education, Vol. 39, Issue 1/2, pp. 29-42.


The Interplay Among Software Volatility, Complexity and Development Outcomes

The study posits a mediating role of software complexity in the association between software volatility and different software development outcomes. Empirical tests using data from 326 Open Source Software projects supports such mediating role using productivity, defect count and development speed as dependent variables.

Article Citation:

Jorge A. Colazo. 2013. The Interplay Among Software Volatility, Complexity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from Open Source Software. International Journal of Information Technology and Management, Vol. 14 (2/3), pp. 160-171.


Risk-Taking and Performance of Public Insurers: An International Comparison

We investigate how investor protection, government quality, and contract enforcement affect risk taking and performance of insurance companies from around the world. We find that better investor protection results in less risk taking, as do higher quality government and greater contract enforceability. However, we find only limited evidence that these factors influence firm performance. We conclude that better overall operating environments result in less risk taking by insurers without the concomitant decline in performance. These results imply that better investor protection environments benefit policyholders and outside stockholders by preventing corporate insiders from expropriating wealth from policyholders and outside stockholders.

Article Citation:

L. Paige Fields, Manu Gupta, and Puneet Prakash. 2012. Risk-taking and Performance of Public Insurers: An International Comparison. Journal of Risk and Insurance, Vol. 79 (4), pp. 931-962.