Upper echelons research considers the relationship of top executives to organizational attributes or outcomes, vis-à-vis, their individual or group demographic characteristics such as tenure or experience. The upper echelons perspective is typically associated with the theorizing of Hambrick and Mason in their 1984 Academy of Management Review article, but also has much broader and deeper organizational theory roots as demonstrated by Pfeffer's (1983) earlier exhaustive review of organizational demography. Since the early 1980s, hundreds of upper echelons studies have been published – some explicitly invoking the upper echelons theoretical perspective, while others employing its underlying methodology of relying on executive demographic characteristics as proxies for executive and top management team (TMT) related constructs. This chapter examines three important features and their related challenges and opportunities in future upper echelons research. Specifically, we focus on (1) the identification of upper echelons constructs, (2) embedding those constructs in a meaningful way to develop new theory or better our understanding of extant theory, and (3) the related operationalization and measurement of those constructs that are eventually included in qualitative and quantitative analyses using TMT demographics. We conclude our chapter by drawing these three features together to provide a benchmark process to gauge the theoretical and methodological contributions of upper echelons-related work, and ultimately improve the chances of getting such research published.
Carpenter, M. and Reilly, G. (2006), "Constructs and Construct Measurement in Upper Echelons Research", Ketchen, D. and Bergh, D. (Ed.) Research Methodology in Strategy and Management (Research Methodology in Strategy and Management, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 17-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1479-8387(06)03003-7Download as .RIS
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