University of Delaware Online Research Magazine
University of Delaware Online Research Magazine

ISSN 2150-5128

Profile: Jennifer Joe

by | October 12, 2015

  Deborah Blanchard

Communications and Marketing Manager,
UD Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics

J ennifer Joe, the Whitney Family Professor of Accounting in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, attributes positive experiences with her professors in college as the impetus for her pursuit of an academic career.

Joe had two undergraduate business professors who encouraged her, telling her that she would be a good fit within academia. A third professor, who taught in the natural sciences, selected her as one of his research assistants despite her business major. Her interactions with these professors convinced her that teaching and research at the university level was the professional path for her.

Joe’s teaching style stems from her personal philosophy to “be true to yourself, treat others fairly and always put forth the best effort.” She wants “to provide positive motivation for my students…. I work hard at helping my students to understand.”

Research appeals to her naturally curious mind and affinity for figuring things out. “The most fun part of research is problem-solving and exchanging ideas with others,” Joe notes, adding, “I draw inspiration from collaboration with my colleagues.” Her commitment to collaboration also has yielded research results that are now attracting attention in the field of accounting.

A recent paper, “How Management’s Expressions of Confidence Influence Auditors’ Testing,” is one of only seven selected for the 30th Contemporary Accounting Research (CAR) Conference set for Vancouver, British Columbia, in late October. The paper presents first-of-its-kind research documenting the influence that managers of high-risk companies can have on the depth and quality of audits when these managers demonstrate confidence to auditors. An earlier version of the paper was presented this past summer at the International Symposium on Audit Research.

Joe says the study reveals a previously undiscovered judgment trap for auditors and challenges conventional thinking that auditors would be able to ignore managers’ statements of confidence.

She admits that the study’s findings are puzzling because the auditors’ behaviors in the study go against traditional psychological explanations related to the link between confidence and competence. Joe and co-author Sanaz Aghazadeh have developed theories to explain this behavior, and they plan to explore various explanations in future studies.

It’s not surprising that Joe is intrigued and challenged by puzzles like this. “I love the problem-solving aspect of my job,” she says, explaining that she comes from “a large, gregarious extended family where loud debates, board games and jigsaw puzzles were a staple. I think that my family environment prepared me for the problem-solving aspect of my career.”

TRUE INSPIRATION

Family relationships—her husband, children and extended family—inspired Jennifer Joe’s research. “Our parents encouraged us to solve puzzles. They’d buy boxes and boxes of jigsaw puzzles, and that was my interest in problem-solving.”

Between 1973 and 2008, the number of women in academia increased from 10,700 to 93,400 — National Science Foundation

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