Richard Ivey Building 3329
- Incentive Compensation
- Creative Problem Solving
- Employee Motivation
Kun Huo (CPA, CA) is an Assistant Professor of Managerial Accounting and Control at the Ivey Business School. He holds a BBA in Accounting from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Waterloo. He earned his professional accounting designation at Grant Thornton LLP and specialized in the audit of manufacturing and distribution companies.
Kun’s research is on topics such as the effect of public recognition on employee creativity, the effect of pay dispersion and pay secrecy on teamwork, as well as designing better balanced scorecards. He uses a combination of economic and psychology-based theories to investigate these issues. Leveraging his research insights, he has written numerous cases in management accounting on topics such as employee incentive schemes, performance measurement, and non-financial rewards.
Recent Refereed Articles
- Guo, L.; Huo, K.; Libby, T., (Forthcoming), "Cooperate or Compete? The Impact of Vertical Wage Dispersion on Employees’ Behavior in Tournaments", Management Accounting Research
Huo, K.; Kelly, K.; Webb, A., 2022, "The Beneficial Learning Effects of Combining a Hypothesis-Testing Mindset with a Causal Model", The Accounting Review, September 97(5): 325 - 348. Abstract: Firms often use causal models to align decision-making with strategic objectives. However, firms often operate in changing environments such that an accurate causal model can become inaccurate. Prior research has not examined the consequences a change in the accuracy of causal models may have for managers’ learning. Using an experiment, we predict and find that providing a causal model positively affect managerial learning, which is not reduced by encouraging a hypothesis-testing mindset (HTM), when the model is accurate. However, when the model becomes inaccurate, we predict and observe that providing a causal model alone negatively affects managerial learning, although providing a causal model combined with encouraging a HTM mitigates some of these negative learning effects. Our results can inform designers of control systems about the potential implications of providing a causal model when its accuracy changes over time and demonstrate how simple encouragement of a HTM moderates the effects of providing a causal model
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Huo, K., 2020, "Performance Incentives, Divergent Thinking Training, and Creative Problem-Solving", Journal of Management Accounting Research, April 32(1): 159 - 176. Abstract: Creativity theory suggests that effective solutions to creative problems depend on both divergent and convergent thinking (Cropley 2006). Using an experiment in which participants solve insight problems, I investigate the effect of incentive schemes on creative problem-solving performance. I find that both piece-rate pay and flat wage plus public recognition generate higher performance with divergent thinking training than without. Consistent with the idea that incentives may promote more convergent thinking than divergent thinking, piece-rate pay generates lower creative problem-solving performance than the flat wage in the absence of divergent thinking training (flat wage plus recognition has a neutral effect). The study suggests that when employee performance depends on creative problem solving, firms should implement incentives schemes and/or control systems that promote both divergent and convergent thinking.
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