Waterloo professor recognized for best paper by the Canadian Academic Accounting Association

Monday, June 12, 2023

Wenqian Hu is applauded by CAAA for using a cleverly and carefully designed research experiment to address an important managerial issue.

by Alyana Versolatto

Picture of Wenqian Hu
Wenqian Hu’s paper Trust Versus Rewards: Revisiting Managerial Discretion in Incomplete Contracts was awarded the Lazaridis Institute Prize for the best paper on accounting issues relevant to technology firms. The paper finds that an algorithm-generated bonus allocation scheme improves employee productivity, compared with human managers’ bonus allocation. It also finds that compared with human managers’ bonus allocation, the algorithm-based one removes managers’ responsibility and improves employees’ trust in the reward system.

The award committee was impressed with the rigor of Hu’s research and found her paper improves the understanding of how employees react to algorithm-based performance evaluations and contributes to the literature on subjective performance evaluation in important ways. The recipients of this year’s CAAA awards are innovators who are committed to promoting and encouraging excellence in education and research in the accounting field.

“Being recognized by the CAAA is an exceptional honour, particularly at this early stage of my career. The recognition from such a prestigious conference and world-renowned scholars acknowledges the hard work and dedication I have invested in my dissertation. I am deeply grateful to my dissertation committee, for their guidance and tremendous support throughout the development of my dissertation,” says Wenqian Hu, assistant professor at the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) at Waterloo.

Hu specializes in conducting management accounting research with a focus on behavioral research methods. Her research combines insights from economics and psychology, and uses lab experiments, to study how accounting information and management control systems facilitate employee decision-making, motivation, and creativity. “The recognition from experts in my field motivates me to continue contributing to the advancement of accounting research and inspires me to strive for excellence in my future endeavours,” Hu says.

Before joining SAF in 2022 as an assistant professor, Hu acquired her PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology, her master’s degree from Tilburg University, and her bachelor’s degree from Fudan University. She was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award in 2021 at the Accounting Behavior and Organizations Research Conference and has been awarded the Outstanding Reviewer Award in the Management Accounting Section Meeting for four consecutive years.

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