Management Accounting Section - Early Career Research Award

Monday, October 7, 2019

Setting the benchmark early in thought leadership

Prof. Adam Presslee, PhDFundamentally, we all have to work to fund our current lifestyles. However, if we weren’t paid to work, would we want to continue to work? This question, and the bigger question of how do we motivate employees to perform? is the focus of Adam Presslee’s (PhD ’14, CPA, CA) research. “I am fascinated by the various factors that can affect employee motivation.”

Presslee’s research on employee motivation recently garnered him the Best Early Career Research Award from the Management Accounting Section of the American Accounting Association (AAA). The award was presented to Presslee and co-recipient Laura Wang (PhD ’14) from the University of Illinois Gies College of Business at the 2019 AAA Annual Meeting. The award recognizes Presslee and Wang as having the best overall body of research in management accounting within five years of receiving their PhD. Notably, Presslee is the first Canadian recipient of this award.

Surprised by receiving the award, Presslee noted that in the management accounting section, the level of researchers who receives this type of award tend to be high calibre. Humble in receiving the award, Presslee attributes his success to his exceptional co-authors, and specifically to his supervisor Alan Webb. Webb had been an inspiration for Presslee since his first year as a PhD student, which led him to focus on performance management research.

The study of performance management issues such as how to address a lack of employee motivation using various controls and incentives is the focus of Presslee’s body of research. “Any workplace where there are employees, the issue of employee motivation is central to company performance. For this reason, I hope my research is informative to most managers in practice.” It’s easy to see that the thought leadership in Presslee’s research can be highly applicable for all companies, but the challenge remains in ensuring that the research is relatable and gets into practice. Presslee hopes to continue publishing his research findings in industry journals to translate the findings into action.

Read more about Prof. Presslee's research: Which is more motivating, cash rewards or gift card rewards?

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