Dr. Todd Thornock, assistant professor of accountancy, earned his Ph.D. and a master of science in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He also received a master of accountancy from Brigham Young University and holds CPA, CMA and CGMA designations. He served as an assistant professor of accounting at Iowa State University prior to joining Nebraska in 2017. He previously worked as an audit associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers and has consulted while in academia. Thornock’s research interests include reward system design, performance feedback, budgetary reporting, learning, goal setting and personality measures. His work has been published in Accounting, Organizations and Society, Journal of Management Accounting Research, Contemporary Accounting Research, Advances in Accounting
and Management Accounting Research
His newest research investigates how only the knowledge of peer managers’ environments, without knowing peer actions, affects managerial behavior. Utilizing a two-part experiment in a participative budgetary reporting setting, Thornock and his co-author show managers project their decision-making process onto peer managers who share similarities in role and reporting environment. These self-projected group norms create a sense of validation. In viewing themselves as one of many, managers perceive their peers’ behavior to be a mirror image of their own desired behavior.
“Previous research demonstrated people who share similarities in setting, background or personal attributes will form group norms motivating their behavior. However, previous research almost exclusively focused on settings in which these people interact directly. Our research suggests senior managers should consider the impact of information sharing on projected group norms. If good behaviors exist, such as teamwork and social responsibility, promoting similarities among managers can magnify the positive. On the other hand, promoting differences can mitigate negative behavior such as overreporting by making it harder for people to project group norms,” Thornock said.