UniCa About Professors and Researchers Andrea Melis Teaching materials Research design in Accounting, Governance and Reporting (PhD course)

Andrea Melis

Research design in Accounting, Governance and Reporting (PhD course)

12 September 2020

Research design in Accounting, Governance and Reporting (PhD course)

The course aims to introduce doctoral students to a variety of theories (agency theory, legitimacy
theory, institutional theory, rent-extraction theory, etc.) and research methods widely used in
accounting, corporate governance and reporting research. The course relies on prior conceptual
and empirical literature to address some of the major conceptual and design issues. Each class will
consist of two teaching and learning components. During the first part of the class, the doctoral
students will present and lead the discussion of the readings previously assigned to them. During
the second part, the instructor will provide an overview of the conceptual and methodological
topics from an author’s perspective.


Agency theory and  the case study method in corporate governance

Positive accounting theory and critical perspectives in accounting

Optimal contracting theory, rent-extraction theory and mixed methods in corporate governance

Perceived-cost hypothesis, mandatory disclosure, and disclosure indices

Agency theory and the role of institutional factors

Integrating Agency, Legitimacy, and Institutional theories and how to measure voluntary

Integrating Agency, Stewardship and Stakeholders’ theories and the moderating role of
institutional characteristics


The final grade will be based on three components of the PhD student’s work in the course: class presentations, class
participation and written critical reviews.

Class presentations: The PhD student will prepare presentations of research papers assigned to
him/her and will lead the discussion of these papers. The number and the schedule of
presentations will depend on the number of students registered in the course. Papers will be
assigned one week before each class.

Class participation: The PhD student is expected to actively and constructively participate in each
class by asking questions, making comments and providing feedback on all required readings
covered in the course.

Critical reviews: At the end of the course, the PhD student will submit written critical reviews of
two research papers, assigned by the instructor and not previously presented in class. Each review
must not exceed four single?spaced pages.


Lecture 1

(*) Jensen, M., Meckling, W., 1976. Theory of the firm: managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure. Journal of Financial Economics 3, 305–360.

(**) Eisenhardt K. (1989), Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review, The Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 57-74

(**) Jensen M (1983), Organization theory and methodology. The Accounting Review, 58(2), 319–339

– Melis A. (2005) Corporate governance failures. To what extent is Parmalat a particulary Italian case? Corporate governance: An International Review, 13(4), 478–488.

Lecture 2

(*) Watts R., Zimmerman J. (1978). Towards a positive theory of the determination of accounting standards. The Accounting Review 53(1), 112–134.

(*) Watts R., Zimmerman J. (1990). Positive accounting theory: a ten year perspective. The Accounting Review 65, 131–157.

(**) Chambers R. (1993), Positive accounting theory and the PA cult, Abacus, 29(1), 1-26

(**) Whitley R. (1988) The possibility and utility of positive accounting theory, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 13(6), 631–645

– Melis A. (2007). Financial statements and positive accounting theory: the early contribution of Aldo Amaduzzi, Accounting, Business & Financial History, 17(1), 53-62.

Lecture 3

(*) Jensen M., Murphy K. (1990). Performance Pay and Top Management Incentives, Journal of Political Economy, 98, 225-263.

(**) Bebchuk, L., Fried J., Walker D. (2002). Managerial Power and Rent Extraction in the Design of Executive Compensation, University of Chicago Law Review, 69(3): 751–846.

– Melis A., Carta S, and Gaia S., (2012). Executive remuneration in blockholder-dominated firms. How do Italian firms use stock options? Journal of Management and Governance, 16(3), 511-541.

Lecture 4

(*) Murphy, K. (2002). Explaining executive compensation: Managerial power vs. the perceived cost of stock options. University of Chicago Law Review, 69, 847–869.

(**) Healy P, Palepu K (2001), Information asymmetry, corporate disclosure, and the capital markets: A review of the empirical disclosure literature, Journal of accounting and economics, 31, 405-440

– Melis, A.; Carta, S. (2010) Does accounting regulation enhance corporate governance? Evidence from the disclosure of share-based remuneration. Journal of Management and Governance, 14(4), 435-446.

Lecture 5

(*) Aguilera, R., Jackson, G. (2003). The cross-national diversity of corporate governance: Dimensions and determinants. Academy of Management Review, 28, 447-465.

(*) Lubatkin, M., (2007) One more time: What is a realistic theory of corporate governance?, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 28, 59–67

(**) Gomez-Mejia, L., Wiseman, R. (2007). Does agency theory have universal relevance? A reply to Lubatkin, Lane, Collin, and Very, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 28(1), 81–88.

(**) Wiseman, R., Cuevas-Rodriguez, G., Gomez-Mejia, L. (2012). Towards a social theory of agency. Journal of Management Studies, 49(1), 202–222.

– Mallin, C., Melis, A., Gaia, S. (2015). The remuneration of independent directors in the UK and Italy: An empirical analysis based on agency theory. International Business Review, 24(2), 175–186.

Lecture 6

(*) Suchman, M. (1995). Managing legitimacy: strategic and institutional approaches. The Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571-610.

– Melis, A., Gaia, S., Carta, S. (2015). Directors’ remuneration: A comparison of Italian and UK non-financial listed firms’ disclosure. The British Accounting Review, 47(1), 66–84.

Lecture 7

Paper to be discussed in class.

Questionnaire and social

Share on: