Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Ling Tuo



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration



Committee Chair

Zabihollah Rezaee

Committee Member

Kenton Walker

Committee Member

Joseph Zhang

Committee Member

Pankaj Jain


The importance of an effective corporate communication with all stakeholders including shareholders has been extensively debated in the business literature in the aftermath of 2007-2009 global financial crisis. The key indicator of business value have shifted from accounting profits and stock market performance, formerly, to firm reputation and sustainability performance, currently. Therefore, the transparency and value-relevance of conventional financial reporting has been questioned in terms of its capability to satisfy increasing information needs of all stakeholders. Many doubt whether those traditional financial metrics derived from financial statements can appropriately capture firm’s long-term value creation ability. In recent years, users of corporate reports are demanding more relevant financial and non-financial on key performance indicators and forward looking information above and beyond conventional financial statements. To satisfy the demands of information users and decision makers, companies are expected to not only increase their reporting transparency in conventional financial statements but also disclose more inside information to outside public through different types of voluntary disclosure. The first dissertation investigates the role of sustainability report through examining the associations among voluntary disclosure, earnings quality and audit fee. Recently more and more firms begin to release sustainability reports, one important channel of voluntary disclosure, to satisfy the needs of information users and increase the transparency of financial reporting. In this paper, I especially examine the effect of voluntary disclosure quality on those associations. Through Difference-in-Difference test, I find that the release of sustainability report is positively correlated with innate earnings quality and negatively correlated with discretionary earnings quality. Moreover, the positive (negative) correlation between sustainability report and innate (discretionary) earnings quality is more (less) pronounced when the voluntary disclosure quality is high. I also find that the release of sustainability report is associated with higher audit fees and thus it suggests that the sustainability report cannot substitute the traditional financial statement. My conclusions are robust through additional tests of OLS regressions. This paper has important political, academic and industry application. The second dissertation investigates how the firm’s cost stickiness strategy is associated with the firm’s management earnings forecast (MEF). I conjecture that the managerial incentive regarding the cost strategy and voluntary disclosure strategy are interdependent. When managers choose their cost management, they will also choose the corresponding management earnings forecast strategy to align their interests. Through the empirical tests with a sample between year 2005 and 2011, I find that the firm’s level of sticky cost is positively associated with the firm’s propensity to issue MEF and the frequency of MEF. Moreover, I find that the firm’s level of sticky cost is associated with more good earnings news forecasted by managers. Finally, I find that the relation between cost stickiness and MEF behaviors is more pronounced when the MEF is long-horizon oriented and when the firm efficiency is high. My research builds a link between financial accounting information and managerial accounting information, and also provides new evidence to understand the managerial incentives behind each strategy chosen by managers. This third dissertation investigates how industry peer firms tend to influence the specific firm’s voluntary disclosure strategy. Through examining the empirical example of management earnings forecast between 2005 and 2011 and implementing the 2SLS regressions, I find that the specific firm’s disclosure frequency, disclosure horizon and the disclosure of bad news are significantly influenced by its peers firms’ disclosure behaviors. Specifically, the increase in the peers’ disclosure frequency, disclosure horizon and disclosure of bad news tend to encourage the specific firm to increase its disclosure frequency, disclosure horizon and disclosure of bad news. Moreover, certain firms (such as firms with S&P credit rating, higher profit, larger size or higher market-to-book ratio) tend to be more sensitive to their peer firms’ voluntary disclosure strategy. Finally, I find that the specific leader-follower relation doesn’t exist in the peer effects of disclosure strategy and thus the signaling theory, litigation risk and CEO reputation are more major reasons than herding theory and free rider theory in explaining this phenomenon.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.