Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L’s Accounting Faculty Win Four Awards at Major Conference

At the American Accounting Association’s (AAA) 19th annual conference in Atlanta, Ga., in August, four members of the accounting faculty at Washington and Lee University won awards—Stephan Fafatas, Ge Bai, Raquel Alexander and Megan Hess.

The AAA is the professional organization for accounting professors, and between two and three thousand accounting professors and graduate students attend the conference each year from schools throughout the world.

“Considering that we have only eight faculty members, I think it is fairly amazing that little Washington and Lee has these active young faculty members winning national awards,” said Elizabeth Oliver, the Lewis Whitaker Adams Professor of Accounting and department head at W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

Oliver credited both the abilities of the faculty and the teacher-scholar model at W&L that emphasizes teaching but also values scholarship and creative endeavors that enrich teaching and are essential to instruction of the highest quality.

“We look for faculty members who are going to be very good in the classroom but who also have an internal need to do some kind of research and, at the same time, are very collegial,” continued Oliver. “All the people in our department work on research that they find inherently interesting and then they follow those paths.”

Stephan Fafatas, the Lawrence Associate Professor of Accounting, was awarded the 2014 Innovation in Accounting History Education Award by the Academy of Accounting Historians in recognition of his innovative class, “History through Accounting.” As part of the class, students made extensive use of the University’s Special Collections to research a topic related to local business or economic history. “It’s very unusual to have somebody use the archives to pull accounting into our day to day lives and tie it to the history that surrounds us,” said Oliver.

Oliver described Ge Bai, assistant professor of accounting, as a “research powerhouse.” Bai was awarded the 2014 IMA Research Foundation’s Emerging Scholar Manuscript Award by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The award recognizes the accomplishments of the newest members of the management accounting academic community and acknowledges the exceptional manuscript contribution of a scholar or lead author. Bai was lead author on the manuscript “The Role of Performance Measure Noise in Mediating the Relation between Task Complexity and Outsourcing.”

Raquel Alexander, associate professor of accounting, and Megan Hess, assistant professor of accounting, won the Best Contribution to Teaching award for their paper on the ethics of multi-national corporate tax strategy. The award was presented by the Public Interest section of the conference.

Trustee Jack Vardaman ‘62, Law Council Secretary Darlene Moore Honored by W&L Law

Jack Vardaman ’62, an emeritus member of the Washington and Lee Board of Trustees, was inducted recently as an honorary member of the Washington and Lee Chapter of Order of the Coif, a scholastic society that celebrates excellence in legal education and the profession.

Also honored during the event was long-time law school employee Darlene Moore, who earlier this year retired from her position as secretary to the Law Council, the governing board of the Law Alumni Association.

After graduating from W&L, Vardaman attended law school at Harvard and then clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. He practiced law at Williams & Connolly for over 40 years, with extensive experience in complex civil and criminal litigation. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on several occasions and before state and federal courts throughout the U.S.

Vardaman devoted himself to his alma mater, serving on reunion committees, search committees, and campaign cabinets. Most recently, he served as the chair of the Law Committee of the W&L Board of Trustees. He lectures on his professional experiences each year at the law school and serves as mentor to students as they embark on their careers. As a part of his gift in honor of his 50th college reunion, Vardaman endowed a scholarship in the law school.

Darlene Moore has been a member of the staff at the law school for 39 years. Hired in 1975 as a secretary in the word processing center, Darlene served as secretary to Dean Roy Steinheimer until assuming the duties of director of faculty services, where she managed the department providing support to the faculty in their academic and scholarly endeavors. In addition, she served tirelessly as the executive secretary of the Law Alumni Association for 34 years until her retirement from that position in April of this year.

Darlene was the first recipient of the John and Ruth Huss Award in 2003, in recognition of her “exemplary and dedicated service” to the law school. Recently, an anonymous donor chose to honor Darlene and her work ethic by creating the Darlene T. Moore Law Scholarship to provide financial aid to a worthy law student.

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W&L’s New and Visiting Faculty for 2014-2015

The teaching interests of the new and visiting faculty at Washington and Lee University range from directing Shakespeare to Scottish history, from real estate finance to Middle East studies.

The new faculty members include Michelle Brock, assistant professor of history, who has already written an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the Scottish vote for independence. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas and previously taught at Bridgewater College.

Jemma Levy is assistant professor of theater and the head of acting and directing. She has directed various plays off-off-Broadway, in regional theater and with middle school students. She received her M.F.A. from Mary Baldwin College in association with the American Shakespeare Center.

Sid Rosenberg is a visiting associate professor in finance who has written books and articles on international real estate finance. A 1968 graduate of Washington and Lee, he then earned his M.B.A. and Ph.D. from Georgia State University.

Seth Cantey, assistant professor of politics, earned his Ph.D. from Duke University. In his last teaching assistantship at Duke, he taught The Politics of Iran, Israel and Turkey. Fluent in Arabic, he teaches global politics at W&L.

The rest of the new and visiting faculty:

Jeff Barry, associate University Librarian, M.S., University of Tennessee; Nayana Bose, visiting assistant professor of economics, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; Mackenzie Brooks, assistant professor and metadata librarian, Masters in Library Science, Dominican University; Kelly Brotzman, W&L Class of 1995, visiting assistant professor in the Shepherd Poverty Program, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Phil Byers, visiting assistant professor of organic chemistry, Ph.D., Florida State University; David Carson, W&L Law Class of 1988, law professor of practice, J.D., W&L Law School; Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Journalism and Media Ethics, M.A., Stanford University;

Michael Dager, associate professor of PEAR (physical education, athletics, recreation) and women’s cross country couch, M.S., Wilkes University; and Caleb Dance, assistant professor of classics, Ph.D., Columbia University; Lara Di Luo, visiting instructor of history, M.A., Beijing Normal University; Charles Dorsey, W&L Law Class of 1979, law professor of practice, J.D., W&L Law School; Michael Duncan, visiting assistant professor of biology, Ph.D., Montana State University; Matthew Engle, interim director of W&L Law School’s Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, J.D., W&L Law Class of 2001;

Kevin Finch, assistant professor of journalism, M.A., University of Illinois-Springfield; Gavin Fox, assistant professor of business administration, Ph.D., Florida State University; Kyle Friend, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Ph.D., Yale University; Diane Fruchtman, visiting assistant professor of religion, Ph.D., Indiana University; Chris Gavaler, assistant professor of English, M.F.A., University of Virginia; Andrew Hess, W&L Class of 1997, associate professor of business administration, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology;

Megan Hess, assistant professor of accounting, W&L Class of 1997, Ph.D., University of Virginia; Julie Jenkins, visiting assistant professor of sociology/anthropology, Ph.D., University of Sussex; Jess Keiser, assistant professor of English, Ph.D., Cornell University; Eric Koch, W&L Class of 2005, assistant professor of PEAR and assistant men’s lacrosse coach, M.S., Stevens University; Logan LaBerge, assistant coach of men’s and women’s swimming, M.S., Miami University (Ohio); Bradley Lamphere, visiting professor of biology, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Jill Leonard-Pingel, visiting assistant professor of geology, Ph.D., Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California San Diego;

Elizabeth LeRose, W&L Class of 2003, associate athletic director and assistant professor of PEAR, M.Ed., Virginia Commonwealth University; Kristen Luery, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, Ph.D., University of Florida; Suzette Malveaux, visiting professor of law, J.D., New York University School of Law; Stephen McCormick, assistant professor of French, Ph.D., University of Oregon; Seth Michelson, assistant professor of Spanish, Ph.D., University of Southern California; Rocky Parker, visiting assistant professor of biology, Ph.D., Oregon State University;

Trevor Richards, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, Ph.D., University of Florida; Michael Singleton, head men’s soccer coach and associate professor of PEAR, M.S., Purdue University; Donna Smith, instructor in chemistry, M.S., University of Virginia; Stephanie Stillo, Mellon Junior Faculty doing a post-doc in history and digital humanities, Ph.D., University of Kansas; and T.J. Tallie, assistant professor of African history, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Glasgow Endowment to Sponsor Poetry Reading at W&L

Poets Jane Satterfield and Ned Balbo will give a poetry reading at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. They will read from their recent work.

The event is free and open to the public and there will be books for sale after the reading. It is funded by the Glasgow Endowment at W&L.

Also an essayist and editor, Satterfield’s books include “Her Familiars” (poems, Elixir Press, 2013); “Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond” (Toronto: Demeter Press, 2009); and “Assignation at Vanishing Point” (poems, Elixir Press, 2003; winner of Third Annual Elixir Press Book Awards).

Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and three Maryland Arts Council Individual Artists Awards, the William Faulkner Society’s Gold Medal for the Essay; the “Florida Review” Editors’ Prize in nonfiction; and the 49th Parallel Poetry Prize from “The Bellingham Review,” as well as residencies in poetry or nonfiction from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Satterfield is literary editor for Canada’s “Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement” and is an associate professor of writing at Loyola University Maryland.

She earned her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Loyola College and her M.F.A. in English (poetry) from The Writers’ Workshop, University of Iowa.

Balbo’s “The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems” (Story Line Press, 2010) was awarded the Donald Justice Prize and the 2012 Poets’ Prize. His two previous books are “Lives of the Sleepers” (Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2005; Ernest Sandeen Prize and “ForeWord” Magazine Book of the Year Award, Gold Medal in Poetry) and “Galileo’s Banquet” (Washington Writers Publishing House, 1998; Towson University Prize co-winner).

His reviews of contemporary poetry appeared in most issues of “Antioch Review” from 1999-2009, and his essay, “A Jester’s Truth: Faith, Humor and Vision in the Poetry of Andrew Hudgins,” appeared in “Birmingham Poetry Review.” A version of Baudelaire’s “Le Mort joyeux” shared the 2013 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize; and Balbo’s poetry, prose and translations may be found in “Able Muse,” “Cimarron Review,” “Poetry Ireland Review,” “Shenandoah” and elsewhere.

Balbo has received three Maryland Arts Council grants, the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award and the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize.
He earned his A.B. from Vassar College, his M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.

For questions, contact Lesley Wheeler, Henry S. Fox, Jr. Professor of English and head of the English Department at W&L, at wheelerlm@wlu.edu.

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Pergola to Speak at W&L on Healing Wisdom of Maasai People of Africa

Dr. Tanya Pergola, an author, inspirational speaker, community development orchestrator, healing safari guide, and yoga and meditation instructor, will speak at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater in Elrod Commons.

A 1990 graduate of Washington and Lee University, Pergola’s talk is free and open to the public. The title of her talk is “Traditional Healing Wisdom of Africa for Modern Day America.” It is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at W&L.
There will be a book signing immediately following the lecture. Books will be available for purchase at that time. In addition to the public speech, Pergola will be a guest lecturer at several W&L classes.

Pergola is the author of “Time is Cows: Timeless Wisdom of the Maasai.” The book was written by Pergola in collaboration with Lekoko Ole Sululu, her guide and teacher in Tanzania, who will accompany her at her public lecture.

Pergola undertook a 10-year apprenticeship with Maasai traditional healers, led by Lekoko Ole Sululu, in exchange for implementing sustainable development projects in Tanzania. In “Time is Cows,” she shares the mind-body-spirit medicine of the Maasai, the proud pastoral people of East Africa.

In “Remembering Robert E. Lee,” Dr. Christian Keller '94 Focuses on the Military Education of a Civilian Leader

Lee Chapel and Museum presents “Remembering Robert E. Lee” with a speech by noted historian, professor and author Dr. Christian B. Keller ’94 on Monday, Oct. 13, at 12:15 p.m. in the Lee Chapel Auditorium. The public is invited at no charge.

The title of Keller’s talk is “Robert E. Lee, Great Captain: The Military Education of a Future Civilian Leader.”

The event will be broadcast live online.

There will be a book signing of Keller’s book, “Chancellorsville and the Germans: Nativism, Ethnicity, and Civil War Memory” at 10:30 a.m. in the Lee Chapel Museum Shop on the morning of his talk. The book will be available for purchase at that time.

Along with many scholarly articles focusing on the ethnic experience in the Civil War, Keller is co-author of “Damn Dutch: Pennsylvania Germans at Gettysburg” (Stackpole, 2004).

He is currently working on a study of Confederate strategy in 1862-1863 and a military history of Pennsylvania (Westholme Publishing, forthcoming).

Keller is professor of history in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. He previously served as professor of military history for five and a half years at the Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Belvoir, Va.

He has taught at numerous civilian institutions, including Shippensburg University, Gettysburg College, Dickinson College and Washington and Lee University. In 2001-2002, Keller was a Fulbright Professor of American History at the University of Jena in Germany.

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W&L Law Student Lara Gass ‘14L Honored by Friends and Family during Philadelphia Half-Marathon

Classmates of Washington and Lee law student Lara Gass, a member of the Law Class of 2014 who died in a car accident earlier this year, joined other friends and family in Philadelphia last Sunday to run a half marathon in her honor.

The accident that took Gass’s life is the subject of a front page story in the New York Times examining a General Motors recall notice involving an ignition switch defect that could result in a loss of power to braking and air bag systems. The Times story also covers her friends’ efforts to honor her memory, including raising over $65,000 for a scholarship fund in her name.

“We made a decision early on not to mourn Lara but to celebrate Lara,” her father told the Times.

More than 20 friends and family members ran the half-marathon, wearing bright shirts that said “Live Like Lara.” Her classmates wore ribbons with the same words at their graduation in May, during which Gass received a posthumous “Presidential Degree,” the first of its kind awarded by the University.

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What's Up in Lexington/Rockbridge, plus Pig Roast Report

3L Hannah Shtein reports on the annual Pig Roast, a quintessential law school event that kicks off the school year.

Pig Roast is a W&L Law tradition, an induction of sorts for 1Ls into the law school social scene, and a kickoff to the new school year. Pig Roast itself takes place on Saturday, and the whole school is invited to enjoy barbecue and yes, a whole roasted pig, on the vacation property of a W&L Law alum.

The night before the event, a group of 2L boys (chosen by 3Ls) and the 3Ls camp out on the property. The 2L boys are responsible for roasting the pig, and the 3Ls are responsible for having a memorable night (it’s a hard life).

This year’s Roast lived up to expectations. Scott Burton, Julian Harf, Brian Livingston, and Luke Stone valiantly stayed with the giant roasting pig all night to make sure it was cooked to perfection, and the 3Ls busied themselves with grilling, playing 90s and Christmas music (never too soon to start), and singing songs around a bonfire (highlights: Tom Petty, the Backstreet Boys).

Saturday morning, most 3Ls left to take a break from the great outdoors, and to catch up on sleep that had been interrupted by an infinite loop of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at 4:15am.

Pig Roast officially began at noon, and by 1pm it was in full swing. SBA had cleaned up the majority of the 3Ls’ damage from the night before, and set up tents with tables of food (pulled pork, mac and cheese, ribs) and space to sit down to enjoy it and talk with other attendees. The Foothill Mamas, a bluegrass band, played outside the tent, and a few brave souls danced, while others sat inside the tent or along the river and looked on.

Although some of the 3Ls who returned to Pig Roast after camping out and going home were a little zonked out, the class made an impressive showing. Most 2Ls and plenty of new 1Ls also showed up, so there were opportunities to spend time with old friends and meet new people.

Part of the reason Pig Roast is such a hyped up event at W&L Law (not to say that the fact that it’s a party focused on roasting an entire pig is not enough) is because it’s a relaxed, daytime event, and a good chance for the different classes to spend time together, and for the 1Ls to meet their classmates and 2Ls and 3Ls in an informal environment. It’s a perfect introduction to the W&L community, and to the sometimes unusual—but always entertaining—Lexington life. #herepiggypiggy

Coming Up this Week

9/25-9/27

14th Annual Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival. Glen Maury Park. Advance Tickets (online): 3-Day – $70/person | Thu – $25/person | Fri – $25/person | Sat – $30/person | FREE/children (under 12 with paying adult). Day-Of Tickets: 3-Day – $85/person | Thu – $30/person | Fri – $30/person | Sat – $35/person | FREE/children (under 12 with paying adult). 540-261-7321. Enjoy a Bluegrass concert made up of both local and nationally known Bluegrass bands, including Rhonda Vincent, Lonesome Will Mullins, The Bluegrass Mountaineers, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, James King, Larry Stephenson Band, The Bluegrass Brothers, Reno & Harrell, Bill Yates, Jr. Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Remington Ryde, and host band Nothin’ Fancy!

Law Revue Auditions, 6:30pm. Last year, W&L Law got second place in the national law revue submission contest. This year, we’re getting first (obviously). Email wheeler.n@law.wlu.edu for more information.

Friday, 9/26

Friends and Family Day! Family and Friends weekend is an opportunity for relatives and friends of W&L law and undergrad students to see campus and get a feel for the W&L community. Family and Friends Day costs $35 per attendee. If you will be joining your guests for lunch and/or the reception, please be sure they include you in the attendees they register for the event. https://colonnadeconnections.wlu.edu/law/service-pages/2014-law-family-and-friends-weekend

Cooking Class: Fall Foraging. 10am/Class; 12:30pm/Luncheon. Wade’s Mill. $30/Class; $17.50/Luncheon. 800-290-1400. We will begin our Fall season with a local meal from Rockbridge County. We will start with Fresh Roasted Tomato Soup, followed by Sauntéed Chicken Breasts accompanied by corn salad and we’ll conclude with Asian Pear Tart and Mountain View Farm Cheese.

Saturday, 9/27

Football Game: VMI v. Mercer, 1:30pm. Foster Stadium, Virginia Military Institute. 540-464-7517. Also check out www.generalssports.com for a full line up of home contests for the Generals.

Sunday, 9/28

Monticello trip! Law students will be taking a trip to Thomas Jefferson’s historic home all day Sunday.

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The Railroad Propelled W&L to National Status

Old account ledgers might seem a dry subject to most people, but to a class at Washington and Lee University they offered a rare opportunity to shine new light on local history.

Researching ledgers and records in Special Collections at W&L’s James G. Leyburn Library, as well as other primary source materials, the students selected various local historical topics to investigate, including how the railroad propelled W&L to national status.

Read the full story >

For Washington and Lee University, at that time a small local college, the arrival of the railroad in 1881 and 1883, led to increased economic, social and academic developments.

Junior Michael Stovall is an accounting and business administration major with a minor in computer science from Darien, Conn. He researched historical sources such as the W&L minutes of board of trustees meetings, treasurer’s reports, local and university newspapers, historic magazines, admissions records, student essays and railroad pamphlets.

He said that the post-railroad minutes from the board’s meetings between 1881and 1885 provided an overview of what the administration considered important issues at W&L at that time.

After the railroads arrived, W&L made a point to advertise to prospective students and their parents that the railroad made Lexington much more accessible. As a result, Stovall found that from 1879 (pre-railroad) to 1890 (post-railroad), the student body at Washington and Lee doubled from 101 to 210 students.

During that period, the diversity of W&L students also increased, with the number of “notable” states and countries sending students to W&L expanding from 13 in 1879 to 22 in 1890 (an increase from 4.95 percent to 17.14 percent). Stovall defined “notable” as non-Confederate or distant states and countries, such as California, Florida and Japan. This effectively made W&L a national university.

W&L’s new ability to attract diverse students exposed the campus community to different cultures and contributed to unity between the former Union and Confederate states.

The railroads also affected student activities, especially athletic events. Nearly every weekend, students took the train to various places, enhancing their cultural experiences and exposing them to a wider range of people and activities.

The amount of money both going into and out of the university also increased around the arrival of the railroad. Stovall notes that while other factors beyond the railroad may have impacted his results, the pattern of change he finds in his research matches the arrival of the railroad in Lexington.

As the railroad began to haul construction materials and other freight, W&L could carry out various construction projects. In an Oct. 18, 1883, article, “Almost Here,” the Lexington Gazette stated that “the first train through Staunton will bring material for construction of Lexington Depot, which is to be Baltimore pressed brick.”

At the same time, W&L’s investments increased, not only because of improved communication and connectivity, but also because W&L invested heavily in railroad bonds.

“Old accounting ledgers give an interesting snapshot of a particular time period, because they show what people were spending their money on,” said Stovall. “You can then make assumptions as to what was important to people of that era and how culture has changed in comparison to the present day.”


How the Railroad Changed Lexington

Old account ledgers might seem a dry subject to most people, but to a class at Washington and Lee University they offered a rare opportunity to shine new light on local history.

Researching ledgers and records in Special Collections at W&L’s James G. Leyburn Library, as well as other primary source materials, the students selected various local historical topics to investigate, including how the railroad changed Lexington.

Read the full story >

The advent of the railroad in 1881 and 1883 had a profound effect on both the secluded community of Lexington.

Two W&L students used Special Collections and other secondary sources to research two separate papers that detail the changes — for example, a wider variety of goods in the town’s stores and the transformation of W&L into a national university with a greatly expanded student population.

The railroad was introduced to Lexington on Oct. 20, 1881, with the completion of a small branch extending into town on the Richmond and Allegheny (R&A) line that ran from Richmond to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) line at Clifton Forge.

Two years later, in late October 1883, the Valley Railroad (VRR) that extended from Harrisonburg was completed, with Lexington as the southern terminus.

Bereket Mechale, a senior accounting and business administration major from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, researched accounting records from the 1840s to the 1890s from the general store Dold’s Corner. Owned and run by Calvin M. Dold, the store was operational both before and after the arrival of the railroad. The store Pumpkinseeds currently occupies the building on the corner of East Washington and Main streets.

Dold’s account books from 1863 and 1865 show that, prior to the railroad, barters and sales on credit were prevalent. Mechale noted bacon had been paid for with coffee, and sugar had been paid for with barley and rye. Bartering decreased after railroad service arrived, but the account books show that the practice continued for years.

Before the railroad, the main products Dold’s Corner sold in large quantities were coffee, sugar, corn and oats. Post-railroad, new products that made life easier, more enjoyable and healthier for Lexington consumers became available. Some examples: the laundry product blueing, Worcester sauce, anchovy paste and chow-chow, a pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables — all goods that would have been classified as luxuries.

Medicines became popular in post-railroad times, shown by a noticeable spike in the number of advertisements for drug stores. After the 1883 Valley Railroad extension, citizens also saw a dramatic increase in their choices of clothing items and accessories.

Mechale noted a “clear shift from products one would expect to be produced on a farm or small plant in the city to products that required raw materials from elsewhere, the transfer of knowledge from one part of the nation to another, or production and packaging done elsewhere due to the complexity of the product itself.”

Despite all the changes, records showed no indication of changes in prices directly related to the introduction of railroads. Mechale wrote in his paper that “the increase of new items for sale that had a plethora of uses alone is testament to the fact that businesses in Lexington must have benefitted greatly from .”

Mechale noted that his results are limited to a single store’s account books and the research could be extended to other businesses in order to draw more definitive conclusions.