Strategic Leadership: Theory and Research on Executives, Top Management Teams, and Boards

Strategic Leadership: Theory and Research on Executives, Top Management Teams, and Boards

Strategic Leadership: Theory and Research on Executives, Top Management Teams, and Boards

Strategic Leadership: Theory and Research on Executives, Top Management Teams, and Boards

Synopsis

This book integrates and assesses the vast and rapidly growing literature on strategic leadership, which is the study of top executives and their effects on organizations. The basic premise is that in order to understand why organizations do the things they do, or perform the way they do, we need to deeply comprehend the people at the top-- their experiences, abilities, values, social connections, aspirations, and other human features. The actions--or inactions--of a relatively small number of key people at the apex of an organization can dramatically affect organizational outcomes.

The scope of strategic leadership includes individual executives, especially chief executive officers (CEOs), groups of executives (top management teams, or TMTs); and governing bodies (particularly boards of directors). Accordingly, the book addresses an array of topics regarding CEOs (e.g., values, personality, motives, demography, succession, and compensation); TMTs (including composition, processes, and dynamics); and boards of directors (why boards look and behave the way they do, and the consequences of board profiles and behaviors).

Strategic Leadership synthesizes what is known about strategic leadership and indicates new research directions. The book is meant primarily for scholars who strive to assess and understand the phenomena of strategic leadership. It offers a considerable foundation on which professionals involved in executive search, compensation, appraisal and staffing, as well as board members who evaluate executive performance and potential, might build their tools and perspectives.

Excerpt

It has been thirteen years since the first version of Strategic Leadership was published. In that time, there has been a veritable explosion of research on CEOs, top management teams, boards of directors, executive compensation, and related topics. In fact, the study of the top-most figures in organizations—the upper echelons of business enterprises—has been one of the most robust areas of inquiry in strategy and organization science for over two decades now. The field of strategy is about general management, and general management is about the intersection of major decisions and the people who make those decisions and otherwise define what an organization is and aspires to be—what we and others have called strategic leadership. While research on executives, top management teams, and boards has proceeded at breakneck speed—involving not only scholars in strategy and organization theory, but also in organizational behavior, psychology, sociology, economics, finance, and accounting—it seems an opportune time to take stock of where we have been and where we may be going. The purpose of this book is to do precisely that—to review and synthesize existing research, and to offer an agenda for further inquiry on this most central of topics in the field of strategy and organizations.

We hope that this book, like its predecessor, will bring scholars important benefits. First, it is meant to be a reference book of the most consequential research in each of the topic areas that make up the domain of strategic leadership. As in our earlier version, we have not attempted to include every article or monograph in our review, as such an undertaking would be both unwieldy and unfocused. Instead, our goal has been to synthesize the key theoretical ideas and empirical findings in the literature without exhausting the reader with every possible citation. Of course, no doubt we have overlooked works that some might find helpful, but overall we have sought to identify and discuss each research topic in sufficient detail to provide readers with a reasonably complete understanding of the relevant literature.

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