Tatiana Sandino

Associate Professor of Business Administration

Tatiana Sandino is an Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Accounting and Management Unit, teaching the first-year required MBA course Financial Reporting and Control. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, she was an assistant professor at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, where she taught management accounting to evening MBA students and undergraduate accounting majors, and received the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence.


Professor Sandino's research examines how organizations use different control mechanisms to lead employees at the executive, middle management, and lower levels toward the achievement of common goals in an organization. She is particularly interested in chain organizations, where control mechanisms can allow firms to successfully replicate a business model across different locations, and in issues concerning executive compensation. Her work has been published in The Accounting Review, the Journal of Accounting and Economics, the Journal of Accounting Research, and Contemporary Accounting Research, and it has been featured in media venues such as The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The Huffington Post, and CNBC.

Professor Sandino earned a DBA in accounting and management at Harvard Business School; an MBA at INCAE Business School, Managua, Nicaragua; and a BS in industrial engineering at the Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.


  1. Can Wages Buy Honesty? The Relationship between Relative Wages and Employee Theft

    In this study we examine whether, for a sample of retail chains, high levels of employee compensation can deter employee theft, an increasingly common type of fraudulent behavior. Specifically, we examine the extent to which relative wages (i.e., employee wages relative to the wages paid to comparable employees in competing stores) affect employee theft as measured by inventory shrinkage and cash shortage. Using two store-level datasets from the convenience store industry, we find that relative wages are negatively associated with employee theft after we control for each store’s employee characteristics, monitoring environment, and socio-economic environment. Moreover, we find that relatively higher wages also promote social norms such that coworkers are less (more) likely to collude to steal inventory from their company when relative wages are higher (lower). Our research contributes to an emerging literature in management control that explores the effect of efficiency wages on employee behavior and social norms.
  2. Executive Pay and "Independent" Compensation Consultants

    Executive compensation consultants face potential conflicts of interest that can lead to higher recommended levels of CEO pay, including the desires to “cross-sell” services and to secure “repeat business.” We find evidence in both the US and Canada that CEO pay is higher in companies where the consultant provides other services, and that pay is higher in Canadian firms when the fees paid to consultants for other services are large relative to the fees for executive-compensation services. Contrary to expectations, we find that pay is higher in US firms where the consultant works for the board rather than for management.
  3. Organizational Design and Control Across Multiple Markets: The Case of Franchising in the Convenience Store Industry

    Many companies operate units that are dispersed across different types of markets, serving significantly diverging customer bases. Such dispersion is likely to compromise headquarters' ability to control local managers' behavior and satisfy the needs of different customer types. In this study we find that market-type dispersion is an important determinant of the delegation of decision rights and the provision of incentives. Using a sample of convenience store chains, we show that market-type dispersion is positively associated with the degree of franchising at the chain level as well as the probability of franchising a given store within a chain. Our results are robust to alternative definitions of market-type dispersion and to other determinants of franchising such as the stores' geographic dispersion. Additional analyses suggest that chains that do not franchise cope with market-type dispersion by decentralizing operations from headquarters to their stores and providing their store managers higher variable pay.