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Karl Schuhmacher - Emory University, Goizueta Business School. Atlanta, GA, US

Karl Schuhmacher Karl Schuhmacher

Assistant Professor of Accounting | Emory University, Goizueta Business School





Karl Schuhmacher completed his PhD in Management at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2014. Prior to joining the faculty at Emory, Schuhmacher was a Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Schuhmacher's primary research focus is related to management accounting, cost systems, performance measurement, and incentive contracting.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Management Accounting


Performance Measurement

Incentive contracting

Education (2)

University of Lausanne: PhD, Management 2014

University of Mannheim: Diplom-Kaufmann, Business Administration 2009

In the News (2)

Goizueta Business School welcomes new faculty

emorybusiness.com  online


Goizueta welcomes new faculty including (from left to right) Vilma Todri, assistant professor of information systems & operations management; Rohan Ganduri, assistant professor of finance; Jesse Bockstedt, associate professor of information systems & operations management; Cassandra Estep, assistant professor of accounting; Karl Schuhmacher, assistant professor of accounting; Inyoung Chae, assistant professor of marketing; Demetrius Lewis, assistant professor of organization & management; Morgan Ward, assistant professor of marketing; and Tian Heong Chan, assistant professor of information systems & operations management. John Kim, not pictured, is a lecturer in organization & management. “We are thrilled about these additions to our team,” says Kristy Towry, vice dean for faculty & research, Goizueta Term Chair in Accounting, and professor of accounting. “They are all innovators in their fields, and I can’t wait to see what new knowledge they’ll bring to the table here at Goizueta.”

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How modern managerial accounting practices help companies grow


Measuring performance for strategy execution. Managerial accounting competencies, such as performing high-level analyses on business strategy, can expose external threats to strategy execution. Once a company establishes a strategy or objective, management accountants can design systems so that actions lead towards achieving the goal of that strategy or objective, such as through performance management. “We want to make sure the employees work in the best interest of the organization and that we’re all pulling on one string,” Karl Schuhmacher, assistant professor of accounting at Goizueta, said. “The key with measuring different aspects of performance in an organization is determining what is the underlying thing that we care about and then we can constantly test how well our metric measures that,” Towry said. “We can think of the metric as a shadow or reflection of the underlying dimension of performance we are interested in.”

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Publications (3)

The relationship between lack of controllability and proactive work behavior: An empirical analysis of competing theoretical explanations

Accounting and Business Research

2016 The controllability principle suggests evaluating managers solely based on performance measures they can control. In practice, however, companies often disregard this principle. Therefore, our study addresses organisational benefits linked to the lack of controllability in measures used for managers’ performance evaluations. We draw on important case-based findings to establish a positive ‘base relationship’ between lack of controllability and proactive work behaviour. We test this base relationship with a large-scale sample and find that companies encourage higher levels of proactive work behaviour when they rely on less controllable performance measures. Drawing on recent developments in role theory, we advance previous research and extend the base model by including the theoretical construct of flexible role orientation. We examine different mechanisms through which flexible role orientation potentially impacts the base model. Using survey responses from 432 managers, we find evidence for a mediation model as opposed to an interaction model. Specifically, we find that lack of controllability enhances role conflict, which in turn induces more flexible role orientations ultimately resulting in higher levels of proactive work behaviour.

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The moderating role of performance measurement system sophistication on the relationships between internal value drivers and performance

Comptabilité, Contrôle et Audit

2016 This study examines the moderating effects of performance measurement systems (PMS), i.e. PMS sophistication (i.e. BSC-like PMS), on the relationships between internal values drivers (internal efficiency, employee commitment, organizational flexibility) and performance outcomes (customer satisfaction, market performance, financial performance). Consistent with arguments of BSC proponents we argue that highly sophisticated PMS help managers to better manage the relationship between less straightforward value drivers and performance outcomes. We find that level of PMS sophistication moderates some of the relationships between internal value drivers and performance outcomes. Specifically, performance effects shift from more straightforward value drivers (internal efficiency), to less straightforward ones (employee commitment and organizational flexibility) when complexity and, thus, PMS sophistication are high. In line with our argumentation, we find a negative moderation effect of PMS sophistication on the relationship between internal efficiency and financial performance, and a positive moderation effect on the relationship between organizational flexibility and financial performance. Moreover, the relationship between employee commitment and market performance is positively moderated by PMS sophistication. Our empirical evidence is based on survey data from 331 electronic equipment-manufacturing companies.

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Leading by Example in Socially Driven Organizations: The Effect of Transparent Leader Compensation Contracts on Following

Forthcoming in The Accounting Review

Schuhmacher, Towry, and Zureich


Leading by example is one of the most powerful methods to encourage individuals to work toward a common objective. Despite the importance of leadership, little is known about how the effectiveness of leading by example depends on institutional features, such as the transparency and design of leaders' compensation contracts. We conduct two experiments to study this interplay between leadership and contracting in organizations with social missions (i.e., socially driven organizations). We find that under non-transparent contracts, leader contributions to the social objective positively influence follower contributions, reflecting effective leading by example. More importantly, under transparent contracts, the positive effect of leader contributions on follower contributions is diminished by an increase in the intensity of variable compensation and/or the amount of fixed compensation in the leader's contract. Our study informs the debate on pay transparency and demonstrates that organizations need to carefully consider the effects of contract design on leadership effectiveness.

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