Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Dr. Rajaram Veliyath

Second Advisor

Dr. Torsten Pieper

Third Advisor

Dr. Marcus Caylor


The separation of ownership and control has been established as the source of primary agency conflict between managers and shareholders. The research presented in the chapters that follow explain how the combination of ownership and control also represent a significant problem for many dispersed shareholders. Prior research has argued that conflict among principals is pervasive in all types of corporations and may be detrimental to all the firm’s stakeholders. Scholars have investigated the relationships, but there existed no comprehensive and validated instrument to analyze the extent of the inequity among the various firm principals. In the following chapters, a composite measure that represents the various underlying theoretical constructs related to secondary agency theory is introduced and validated. The first and second chapters of the research document explain the theoretical basis of secondary agency conflict along with past measures employed. The validation process employed to create a Shareholder Inequity measure is described and a comprehensive index measuring the extent of inequity among firm owners is formulated. The third chapter explains the follow-up study involving a test of the newly created Shareholder Inequity measure; an event study of the market reaction to acquisition announcements by firms with inherent secondary agency problems. This dissertation has two main objectives. The first objective is to understand the control differences that exist among shareholders that create opportunities to distort the process of returning wealth equitably to all firm owners. The second objective is to evaluate how investors perceived and reacted to the inequities when acquisition activity was announced; these are situations that are particularly prone to creating agency conflicts of various types. Objectives were met by explaining the dimensionality of secondary agency conflicts, validating measures for the dimensions, and confirming the significant contribution of several of the measures to acquisition announcement returns.