200th Thesis Defended at HEC Montréal

August 20, 2009

On July 6, Rolf Sawadogo became the 200th student in the HEC Montréal doctoral program to defend his thesis. The HEC Montréal PhD, created in 1975, is offered jointly, in French and English, with Concordia and McGill universities and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). The program gives students at all four universities access to a pool of about 400 professors, 250 of them at HEC Montréal. The School has 35% of the joint PhD students and over 200 PhD graduates
Rolf’s thesis was entitled: The Interdependence between a Firm’s Financial Disclosure, Financial Performance and Social Performance: Evidence from Pension Disclosures. Drawing on organizational theories, he offered an empirical analysis of the relationship between a firm’s financial and social performance and its decision to disclose information on its pension plan.

The study looked at a sample of 180 firm-years in the United States, from 15 industries, and included data on their governance and their strategy, using a simultaneous equations model. The results obtained suggest that there is a positive relationship between a firm’s social performance and its level of voluntary disclosure. The analyses also show a positive relationship between a firm’s financial and social performance. All in all, according to Rolf, these results confirm an ethical interpretation of the firm’s governance, as opposed to a strictly technical and financial interpretation.

The jury was made up of Réal Labelle, thesis director and Chair in Governance and Forensic Accounting, Taïeb Hafsi, jury chair/rapporteur and Walter-J.-Somers Chair in International Strategic Management, Gaétan Breton, jury member and Professor in the UQÀM Accounting Science Department, and Daniel B. Thornton, external examiner and holder of a Professorship in Accounting from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, at Queen’s University.

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