Do CEOs Matter to Firm Strategic Actions and Firm Performance? A Meta-Analytic Investigation Based on Upper Echelons Theory

Personnel Psychology 2016, 1-88

Fox School of Business Research Paper 16-001

88 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2015 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016

See all articles by Gang Wang

Gang Wang

Florida State University - Department of Management

R. Michael Holmes

Florida State University - Department of Management

In‐Sue Oh

Temple University - Department of Human Resource Management

Weichun Zhu

Pennsylvania State University - School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER)

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

What roles do CEOs play in firm performance? To address this question, the management field has accumulated a substantial amount of research over the past three decades built on upper echelons theory (UET), which posits that CEO characteristics manifest in firm strategic actions and, in this way, future firm performance. Hence, there is a need to systematically amass and take stock of prior empirical findings for UET testing and development. We use meta-analytic techniques to synthesize prior UET research on the relationships among commonly studied CEO characteristics, firm strategic actions, and future firm performance. Based on 308 studies, metaanalytic results generally support UET’s predictions with a few exceptions: CEO characteristics (i.e., tenure, formal education, prior career experience, and positive self-concept) are significantly associated with firm strategic actions, which in turn are significantly related to future firm performance. Moreover, CEO characteristics (i.e., age, tenure, formal education, and prior career experience) are positively related to future firm performance. In addition, finegrained analyses have revealed interesting and important relationships between specific measures of CEO characteristics (e.g., CEO prior task experience) and firm outcomes (e.g., firm strategic actions that match with CEO prior task experience). Implications for theory, future research, and practice are discussed.

Keywords: CEO, Firm Performance, Firm Strategic Actions, Meta-Analysis, Upper Echelons Theory

Suggested Citation

Wang, Gang and Holmes, R. Michael and Oh, In-Sue and Zhu, Weichun, Do CEOs Matter to Firm Strategic Actions and Firm Performance? A Meta-Analytic Investigation Based on Upper Echelons Theory (2015). Personnel Psychology 2016, 1-88; Fox School of Business Research Paper 16-001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2693551

Gang Wang

Florida State University - Department of Management ( email )

United States

R. Michael Holmes

Florida State University - Department of Management ( email )

United States

In-Sue Oh (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Human Resource Management ( email )

1801 Liacouras Walk
Alter Hall 343
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.fox.temple.edu/mcm_people/in-sue-oh/

Weichun Zhu

Pennsylvania State University - School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) ( email )

506 Keller Building
University Park, MA 16802
United States

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