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Characteristics of a Chief Executive officer in the Process of a New Ceo Succession

Autor:   •  January 22, 2019  •  Research Paper  •  2,646 Words (11 Pages)  •  56 Views

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The paper of Zajac and Westphal (1996) examined the changes in characteristics of a chief executive officer in the process of a new CEO succession. In other words, the authors assumed that a CEO of an organization and the members of the board would prefer a successor with similar characteristics to themselves. The authors created 5 hypotheses to investigate if psychological as well as sociopolitical factors do have the ability to create differences in preferred characteristics of a new CEO and tested those using dependent and independent variables. In order to narrow the range, they decided to solely focus on demographic characteristics, especially on age, degree type and educational affiliation.  

Subsequently, they analyzed the characteristics in relation to the current CEO´s/board members´ own characteristics and the role of power in the succession process.

With all the bias potentials cleared, their results were highly interesting. By interpreting the given data they were able to provide evidence for a positive relationship between the power of a board and the probability of changes in characteristics of the new CEO. Furthermore, they were also able to prove that the power of the board also has an impact on the likelihood of selecting a CEO with similar characteristics to the existing board members. In addition, the authors illustrated that board members are more likely to change CEO characteristics if they have enough power to enforce their decision.  Furthermore, the researchers implied a strong interaction between board power and firm performance, leading to a higher probability to choose a CEO with similar board characteristics. They also validated that the succession of a person outside the company is positively linked to the likeliness of changes in CEO characteristics.  In further consequence, this leads to increased similarity between the board members and the new CEO.

1. Paper-specific questions:

  1. How do authors motivate their research? How to they try to attract the readers interest?

First of all, it seems that the authors Zajac and Westphal really want the readers to understand each sentence in their paper. They use a simple but distinct language and make it therefore easier for the readers to follow their approach. Whenever there is a specific interrelation between two variables that could cause difficulties in understanding, they provide examples to make them more comprehensible. What is more, the researchers use an interesting and eye-catching title to attract the audience´s interest. It tells the reader right away to which questions they may find answers when reading the paper. Right at the beginning they explain the keyfindings of prior researchers and represent their limitations and failures, also including topics that have not been investigated yet. The reader therefore knows that there are still questions left that have not been researched on, so there is no possibility that you, as a reader, read about it already. This leads to a further increase in interest. Finally, Zajac and Westphal allow assumptions to be taken, clearly highlight very interesting development in their research and therefore include the audience.


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