HCBE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship


Joung Kim

Committee Member

Suri Weisfeld-Spolter

Committee Member

Walter Moore


The objective of this research is to test the expensing of stock options as part of CEO compensation to earnings quality. Agency theory posits a conflict between the CEO's own self-interest and that of the owners who seek to maximize the long term value of their investment. To avoid this conflict compensation should align and bond these parties.

Data was retrieved from Compustat, ExecuComp and Corporate Governance databases spanning the years of 2000 through 2009. The Dechow and Dichev (2002) earnings quality model using the change in working capital and error terms taken as the residuals was utilized. All hypotheses used earnings quality as a proxy for management choices and as the predictive power of accruals. The first hypothesis indicated granting of CEO stock options has a positive association to earnings quality. The second hypothesis tests the implementation of SFAS 123 (R) by expensing stock options and the association to earnings quality. The third and final hypothesis utilized the number of BOD members as to compare the association between expensing stock options as part of CEO compensation and earnings quality.

Empirical support for all three hypotheses was found and consistent with expectations established by other research using earnings quality methodologies. Both the granting and expensing of stock options as part of CEO compensation has an association to earnings quality. There exists a stronger association between expensing stock options and earnings quality when firms have a larger number of BOD members. Support for agency theory was discovered because all three hypotheses were supported.

This study was limited to U.S. firms that were publicly traded on major U.S. exchanges and only CEO compensation. Other executive compensation was not included. These limitations provide opportunities for future research.

Knowledge was gained by exploring the earnings quality measures for evidence of bonding and alignment theory. This study extends the research in earnings quality by examining the relationship of granting and expensing of stock options as per SFAS 123 (R). It also contributes to the work in SFAS 123 (R) by testing four years before and after 2005, when implementation occurred.

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