Upper Echelons: The Organization as a Reflection of its Top Managers

Posted: 17 Nov 2009

See all articles by Phyllis A. Mason

Phyllis A. Mason

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Donald C. Hambrick

The Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business

Date Written: 1984

Abstract

This analysis considers the impact of the top managers in an organization on the organization's outcomes, specifically strategic choices and performance levels. The focus is not on the chief executive alone, but rather on the entire top management team. Using a macro view, these organizational outcomes are perceived to be related to the values and cognitive bases of those high-power individuals in the organization. In developing the model, emphasis is on the background characteristics of the top managers as opposed to the psychological dimensions. A series of propositions that should be tested to support the upper echelons theory are presented. The topics of these propositions include age, functional track, other career experiences, education, socioeconomic roots, financial position, and group characteristics. The creation of this model is just the beginning of the work that is necessary to evaluate and understand the upper echelons theory. Further input is needed from areas such as the executive recruiting industry. Additionally, clinical and statistical studies are both necessary to fully develop this theory. (SRD)

Keywords: Background (biographical), Management teams, Firm performance, Managers, Firm strategies, Management decisions, Individual traits, Socioeconomic background, Work experience

Suggested Citation

Mason, Phyllis A. and Hambrick, Donald C., Upper Echelons: The Organization as a Reflection of its Top Managers (1984). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1504456

Phyllis A. Mason (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Donald C. Hambrick

The Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States
814-863-0917 (Phone)
814-863-7261 (Fax)

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