V.G. Narayanan

Thomas D. Casserly, Jr. Professor of Business Administration
Unit Head, Accounting and Management

Research I research topics in management accounting. In particular, I am interested in performance evaluation and incentives. I am using field experiments to understand how firms can use financial incentives and performance feedback to improve performance. I am studying how financial incentives can be used as a catlyst to form desirable habits and to harness other motivators such as peer pressure. I use analytical modeling and field data to research this topic. I am also very interested in understanding how CEO compensation affects the risk levels at banks.


Work Experience

  • September 1994 to present - Professor, Harvard Business School. I have taught Financial Reporting and Control (a first-year required course), Measuring and Driving Corporate Performance (a second-year elective), Management Control and Performance Measurement (a doctoral course), and several executive education courses.
  • March 1985 to May 1988 - Audit Assistant with J. Gowrikanthan & Co., Chartered Accountants, Madras.
  1. Control in Inter-organizational Settings

    Professor Narayanan is studying how franchise owners use measurement tools such as the Balanced Scorecard and mystery shopper survyes to mitigate incentive and information frictions that arise between franchisors and franchisees. He is also studying control issues that emerge in outsourcing/offshoring tasks that involve customer interaction and regulatory overview.
  2. Designing Incentives

    Professor Narayanan is studying how to design effective incentive systems for executives and members of the Board of Directors.
  3. Cost Management and Management Control Systems in Hospitals

     Hospitals tend not to have very good cost accounting and control systems. More broadly,  there is enormous opportunity for managing costs and aligning incentives in the health care industry. I am studying how cost accounting methods can be used to reduce the cost of health care delivery in hospitals. I am also studying how control systems can be designed to align incentives, improve efficiency, and rationalize capital expenditure in hospitals.