Pilot CEOs and Corporate Innovation

48 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2014 Last revised: 29 Nov 2016

See all articles by Jayanthi Sunder

Jayanthi Sunder

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management

Shyam V. Sunder

University of Arizona - Department of Accounting

Jingjing Zhang

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management

Date Written: November 10, 2016

Abstract

We find evidence that chief executive officers’ (CEOs’) hobby of flying airplanes is associated with significantly better innovation outcomes, measured by patents and citations, greater innovation effectiveness, and more diverse and original patents. We rule out alternative explanations, leading us to conclude that CEO pilot credentials capture the personality trait of sensation seeking. Sensation seeking combines risk taking with a desire to pursue novel experiences and has been associated with creativity. Our evidence highlights sensation seeking as a valuable personality trait that can be used to identify CEOs who are likely to drive innovation success.

Keywords: CEOs; Innovation; Personality traints; Sensation Seeking; Intrinsic motivation

JEL Classification: G32; G34; J24; O31

Suggested Citation

Sunder, Jayanthi and Sunder, Shyam and Zhang, Jingjing, Pilot CEOs and Corporate Innovation (November 10, 2016). Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2474909 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2474909

Jayanthi Sunder

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management ( email )

School of Accountancy
1130 E Helen St.
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
520-626-8489 (Phone)

Shyam Sunder (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Department of Accounting ( email )

210 L McClelland Hall
1130 E Helen St
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

Jingjing Zhang

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1G5
Canada

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