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Accounting Ph.D. Candidate Wins Dissertation Award

by Rob Kelly Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kara Obermire, an accounting Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Wisconsin School of Business, has won the 2015 American Accounting Association/Grant Thornton Doctoral Dissertation Award for Innovation in Accounting Education for her research on the effectiveness of audit committees.

Obermire’s work looks at how audit committee members’ social identities and corporate governance roles influence the committees’ overall effectiveness.

kara obermire university of wisconsin–madison wisconsin school of business

Kara Obermire, Ph.D. Candidate in Accounting at the Wisconsin School of Business

“Understanding these individuals’ judgments and decisions is central to understanding what makes companies function well—or poorly,” says Karla Johnstone, Ernst & Young Professor in Accounting at the School and Obermire’s advisor.

“The insights and perspectives I gain from my dissertation will allow me to develop a conceptual framework,” Obermire says. “This research has the potential to identify previously unexplored areas of audit committee effectiveness.”

Obermire uses three distinct but complementary research methods: publicly available archival data from SEC filings, qualitative data from interviews with 26 practicing audit committee members, and experimental markets data obtained through the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s BRITE Laboratory. 

“Kara’s research is particularly creative, exploring the role of social identity developed through prior professional experiences on audit committee members’ judgments and decisions,” Johnstone says. “Her ability to leverage these methodologies illustrates the depths and breadth of her own analysis skills, but also speaks to the quality and versatility of the Ph.D. training available at our School.”

The AAA/Grant Thornton Doctoral Dissertation Awards for Innovation in Accounting Education are given to up to five U.S. accounting Ph.D. students who demonstrate a substantial degree of innovation in their research.