Dr. Barbara Knight

Dr. Barbara Knight
DBA Alumna Class of 2020
Owner and Entrepreneur, Knight Property Management


In 2010, Barbara started a family business built around rental property management, and home staging that assists homeowners in preparing their homes for sale. Prior to that, she spent 33 years in the finance areas of two Fortune 100 companies, General Motors (1976 – 1983) and Unilever (1983 – 2009).  Varied assignments called for mobility and included an international posting in the U.K., traveling for international internal audits, and domestic moves to seven different U.S. states over the years. In addition to taking on challenging roles within the operating businesses, Barbara was involved in factory openings and closings, business acquisitions and divestures, and multiple major projects and reorganizations along the way, all of which contributed to developing a creative and pragmatic approach to getting things done.

Her academic background includes two degrees: a B.S.B.A. in Accounting from Seton Hall University, and an E.M.B.A. in Strategic Management from the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.

Barbara's driving force for entering the UNC Charlotte DBA program was a long-delayed desire to continue the Ph.D. studies she started over 25 years ago, interrupted by yet another relocation. Over her years in the corporate world, in addition to staying on top of emerging technologies and trends in finance and management, Barbara followed her passion for developing talent within the organization, leading a U.S. finance team responsible for recruiting, lifetime learning, mentoring and retaining talent. Ultimately, she would like to enter academia to continue that talent development, while doing relevant research to contribute to the field of management.    

Research Interest

Outsourcing Issues and Related Management Governance Models

In Unilever, Barbara was directly involved with three outsourcing initiatives, in Finance, Buying, and HR. It quickly became apparent that traditional ways of working were not applicable in the outsourced or shared services environment. She's interested in identifying, comparing and evaluating approaches for creating and leveraging governance models, global centers of expertise, and ways to mitigate and leverage the impact of shared services and outsourcing on the organization. In today’s political atmosphere, there could be interesting opportunities to include an economic-political slant to the research.   

Moving from Static Budgeting/Forecasting to a Dynamic Performance Management Model

Statisticians and economists use sophisticated data gathering to scan the environment for trends, change, influences, and risk, then apply variability and derivative analysis to create forecasts. Financial Planning and Analysis as a discipline has been slow change on a global scale, and Barbara believes there is an opportunity to create a more holistic model for business forecasting by employing these tools. She would like to deeply research the possibilities to better integrate economics, statistics and finance to create a model for using these approaches to business planning.  

Data Mining and Problem Solving for Non-IT Professionals

Barbara aimed to identify the burning questions that every good business professional should ask and answer to address some of the widespread and persistent issues in organizations including portfolio complexity, customer complexity, exception management (payables, receivables, credit management), marketing spend and effectiveness, and manufacturing strategy.  She has interest in researching and developing a framework for which tools and techniques produce the best answers and maybe even developing a new approach along the way.


Green or Greenwashed? Organizational Strain as an Antecedent to Decoupling in Corporate Environmental Sustainability Reporting