Area of Expertise
- Higher Education
- Investor-Manager Meetings
- Performance Measures
- Qualitative Methods
- Sociology of Financial Reporting
Matt is an Associate Professor of Accounting. He originally trained as a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW; FCA), gaining practical experience in audit and corporate finance in the UK and the US. In 2004, he made the transition from practice to higher education. Before joining Schulich School of Business in 2018, Matt held appointments at the Universities of Bristol (UK) and University of Toronto (Canada). Matt’s current research sub-divides into two branches. First, he is interested in the sociology of financial reporting, drawing on theories of performance, identity, and surveillance. Second, Matt’s work focuses on improving awareness of the challenges facing workers who are marginalized, stigmatized, and overlooked. His particular focus is on investor-manager interactions, and specifically Question and Answer sessions. He has published his work in a number of high ranked academic journals including Contemporary Accounting Research, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Work, Employment and Society, and Human Relations.
2017/18 Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto: Teaching Award MBA
2017/18 Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto: Teaching Award Undergraduate
2013 University of Bristol: Dean’s Award for Education Excellence
Abraham, S. and Bamber, M. (2020), "On the “Realities” of Investor-Manager Interactivity: Baudrillard, Hyperreality, and Management Q&A Sessions", Contemporary Accounting Research, 37(2), 1290-1325.
This paper draws on extensive fieldwork to explore the nature, scope, and implications of management preparations for the question and answer session (Q&A) that occurs during a firm’s results presentation. Prior literature has associated the value of this encounter with investor‐manager interactivity. As such, it is assumed that there are high levels of managerial authorship, ownership, and spontaneity as executives face questions from analysts. Following on, it is generally assumed that this translates into an increased risk of unintended disclosure, through verbal and nonverbal messaging. However, our data indicate that management engages in vast preparatory work to mitigate the risks associated with real (“original,” natural, spontaneous, un‐staged) interactivity. Instead, the Q&A is carefully planned, organized, scripted, and rehearsed. As such, the event is transformed into a hyperreal encounter in the Baudrillardian sense. Despite this, the value of the Q&A is not necessarily impaired. Instead, these managerial backstage preparations arguably make the encounter realer than real. We suggest that the Q&A that we observe (the “copy”) is more useful than the original might have been. Our work provides evidence and discussion of two interconnected paradoxes: perfection and self‐reference. This study not only raises important questions, challenges, and opportunities for researchers interested in the study of investor‐manager interactions but also speaks to those with an interest in workplace meetings and Q&A more broadly.
Bamber, M. (2019), "A New World Order for the Beer Industry: A Review of the Acquisition of SABMiller by Anheuser‐Busch AB InBev.", Accounting Perspectives, 18(2), 117-131.
This case study reviews one of the largest merger and acquisition transactions in corporate history—the acquisition of SABMiller by Anheuser‐Busch InBev. This study provides information to value the post‐transaction combined entity and provide an investment recommendation. Following this, the case discusses the basic details of the funding required to undertake the acquisition and questions which implications of any additional financial risk may arise for AB InBev from a valuation perspective.
Abraham, S., Bamber, M., Elshandidy, T. and Shrives, P.J. (2018), "Risk Reporting: A Review of the Literature and Implications for Future Research", Journal of Accounting Literature, 40, 54-82.Keywords
This paper provides a wide-ranging and up-to-date (1997–2016) review of the archival empirical risk-reporting literature. The reviewed papers are classified into two principal themes: the incentives for and/or informativeness of risk reporting. Our review demonstrates areas of significant divergence in the literature specifically: mandatory versus voluntary risk reporting, manual versus automated content analysis, within-country versus cross-country variations in risk reporting, and risk reporting in financial versus non-financial firms. Our paper identifies a number of issues which require further research. In particular we draw attention to two: first, a lack of clarity and consistency around the conceptualization of risk; and second, the potential costs and benefits of standard-setters’ involvement.
Bamber, M., McMeeking, K. and Petrovic, N. (2018), "Mandatory Financial Reporting Processes and Outcomes", The International Journal of Accounting, 53(2), 227-245.
In an extension to the mandatory financial reporting literature, we consider compliance and applicability as intermediate stages in the disclosure decision process, and investigate to what extent these measures explain any variance in the quantity of disclosure. We use financial instruments disclosures as our empirical context because of the level of complexity and diversity of the mandatory requirements. We find that neither applicability nor compliance show statistically significant association with disclosure quantity. By contrast we find that a firm’s financial instruments management programme is an important determinant of both applicability and quantity. Finally, we demonstrate the economic consequences of applicability, compliance and quantity through their association with audit fees. For companies that use financial instruments management programmes to a greater extent, audit fees are higher. In contrast, the quantity of financial instruments disclosures appears to reduce audit fees.
Abraham, S. and Bamber, M. (2017), "The Q&A: Under Surveillance", Accounting, Organizations and Society, 58, 15-31.Keywords
Drawing on theories of surveillance and interaction ritual, we explore the incentives (disincentives) to analyst participation during the question-and-answer session (Q&A) which concludes firms’ results presentations. Analysis of our qualitative data shows that interrogation strategies and behaviours are influenced by a combination of regulatory and ritual codes. Furthermore, the presence of surveillance technologies and networks exacerbate the risks and rewards faced by analysts during this interactive information exchange. In turn, we find that the common conceptualisation of the Q&A as an ostensibly economic event, underpinned by information retrieval, is overly simplistic. The gaze of surveillance transforms the Q&A into a dramaturgical encounter, where impression management techniques are important. From this, we develop a descriptive framework to explain public interrogation strategies and behaviours. Our work will help future researchers better understand investor-manager meetings. Furthermore, we propose that our descriptive framework has extensions to similar public interrogation settings.
Allen-Collinson, J., Bamber, M. and McCormack, J. (2017), "Occupational Limbo, Transitional Liminality and Permanent Liminality: New Conceptual Distinctions", Human Relations, 70(12), 1514-1537.
This article contributes new theoretical perspectives and empirical findings to the conceptualization of occupational liminality. Here, we posit ‘occupational limbo’ as a state distinct from both transitional and permanent liminality; an important analytic distinction in better understanding occupational experiences. In its anthropological sense, liminality refers to a state of being betwixt and between; it is temporary and transitional. Permanent liminality refers to a state of being neither-this-nor-that, or both-this-and-that. We extend this framework in proposing a conceptualization of occupational limbo as always-this-and-never-that, where this is less desirable than that. Based on interviews with 51 teaching-only staff at 20 research-intensive ‘Russell Group’ universities in the United Kingdom, the findings highlight some challenging occupational experiences. Interviewees reported feeling ‘locked-in’ to an uncomfortable state by a set of structural and social barriers often perceived as insurmountable. Teaching-only staff were found to engage in negative and often self-depreciatory identity talk that highlighted a felt inability to cross the līmen to the elevated status of ‘proper academics’. The research findings and the new conceptual framework provide analytic insights with wider application to other occupational spheres, and can thus enhance the understanding not just of teaching-only staff and academics, but also of other workers and managers.
Bamber, M. (2017), "Market-Risk Disclosures: The Initiation and Implementation of a Financial Reporting Innovation", Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research, 20, 159-188.Keywords
Recognizing that disclosure choices are not made in political and social vacuums, this study suggests that sociological perspectives such as innovation-diffusion inform a theory of compliance.
Bamber, M. and McMeeking, K. (2016), "An Examination of International Accounting Standard-Setting Due Process and the Implications for Legitimacy", The British Accounting Review, 48(1), 59-73.
This paper explores the due process of accounting standard-setting by focussing on relative levels of stakeholder and jurisdictional influence. We draw on legitimacy theory to explain our findings and ask what implications any bias might have for the IASB. This study extends the standard-setting literature in three ways. First, we create a weighted coding system to analyse the content of comment letters. Second, we test for differences in the acceptance rate of comments made by stakeholders and by jurisdictions. Third, we analyse IASB discussion documentation that sheds light on the decision-making process. Previous studies have focused on whether outcome-oriented proposals are ‘influential’ (persuasive) by focussing on success rates measured as proposed changes being accepted. We widen this definition to include whether constituents’ views are discussed. We find that accounting firms appear to have significantly less influence than other stakeholders. We also find that the IASB reacts less favourably to UK proposals but comments from the US are more likely to be discussed. A lack of fairness (real or perceived) could jeopardise perceptions of the procedural legitimacy of the due process and ultimately impair the IASB’s cognitive legitimacy.
Bamber, M. and Parry, S. (2016), "A Study of the Employment of Denial During a Complex and Unstable Crisis Involving Multiple Actors", International Journal of Business Communication, 53(3), 343-366.
The authors review the use of denial through a complex and unstable crisis: the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. Denial is typically viewed as a binary response—”we did not do this”—with a binary intended outcome—”and therefore we are not to blame.” The authors argue that this interpretation is overly simplistic. They found that Transocean and Halliburton executed a strategy consisting of distancing and (counter)attack to shift blame, whereas BP pursued a strategy dominated by compassion and ingratiation intermixed with carefully used denial to share blame. This form of blame sharing is a hybrid of denial and acceptance. BP accepted responsibility but argued that others were responsible too. The authors’ analysis also shows that deny response options were restricted or relaxed dependent on situational and intertextual context. They find that the tone of the involved parties’ releases became significantly more aggressive as the situation developed toward its legal conclusion and as they responded to one another’s progressively more hostile releases.
Bamber, M. (2015), "The Impact on Stakeholder Confidence of Increased Transparency in the Examination Assessment Process", Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(3), 471-487.
A group of postgraduate accounting and finance students were asked to participate in a three-phase exercise: sit an unseen past examination question; mark a fully anonymised previous student solution (exemplar); and then mark their own work. The marking process was facilitated by explaining and discussing the marking guide, assessment systems and process, and grade descriptors. Levels of marking accuracy significantly improved through the phases of the exercise, demonstrating a calibration of standards. Students’ perceptions of the exercise were explored via questionnaires and focus groups. Respondents gave a strong indication that the exercise was useful and identified several learning benefits. The introduction of transparency was found to contribute towards increased stakeholder confidence in the rigour and robustness of assessment systems and processes. It also made participants less cynical about marking veracity and integrity. Another consequence of this increased transparency was that while some concerns were alleviated, others emerged. Through this exercise, students came to understand some of the difficulties assessors face when completing examination setting and marking exercises.
Bamber, M. (2014), "What Motivates Chinese Women to Study in the UK and How Do They Perceive Their Experience", Higher Education, 68(1), 47-68.
This paper addresses two crucial questions facing the UK HE sector: what motivates female Chinese globally mobile graduates to continue their education in the UK?; and, are they satisfied with their experience? First, this mixed methods study revealed that the primary motivations were: early and mid-career gains, competitive advantages derived from completing a 1-year master’s programme, favourable exchange rates, and the opportunity to travel. Alongside these, a number of challenges and concerns were also noted, including: high UK tuition fees and living costs, shifting Chinese employer perceptions of an overseas education, and punitive UK visa regulations. Second, findings indicated mid- to high levels of satisfaction with the experience. Students believed that the main strengths and benefits of a UK-based education related to the high levels of tutorial participation and interaction which facilitated increased subject-matter engagement, as well as to the development of interpretation and application skills. Nevertheless, respondents reported that there are many ways in which we need to improve, such as by: offering clearer language guidance, closing the assessment requirements expectations gap, offering more opportunities for classroom participation, cutting class sizes, reducing fees, and ironically, attracting students from geographical zones other than China to facilitate academic development and programme diversity.
Project Title Role Award Amount Year Awarded Granting Agency Project TitleAccounting Interrogations: Good Questions, Good Answers, and the Roles of Voice and Silence RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$125,290.00 Year Awarded2019-2024 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Project TitleWidening Participation Projects Funding (with McCormack, J.) Role Award Amount$8,000.00 Year Awarded2012/13 Granting AgencyUniversity of Bristol