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The impact of chief executive officer turnover on strategic change: a model of mediating effect and joint moderating effect

Renhuai Liu (School of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China)
Chao Li (School of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China)
Mengjun Huo (School of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China)

China Finance Review International

ISSN: 2044-1398

Article publication date: 31 May 2021

243

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically analyze the impact of chief executive officer (CEO) turnover on strategic change and explore the mediating role of organizational slack between them, as well as the moderating role and joint moderating role of top management team (TMT) external social network, ownership nature and industry type.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the upper echelons theory, resource allocation theory and structuration theory, this paper takes the unbalanced panel data of A-share listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges of China from 2001 to 2018 as the research sample, uses ordinary least squares (OLS) regression method and fixed effect model to study the relationship between CEO turnover and strategic change, and focuses on the mediating mechanism and moderating mechanism between them.

Findings

The authors find that CEO turnover is positively related to strategic change. When a CEO turns over, a new CEO will initiate strategic change. Precipitation organizational slack plays a mediating role between CEO turnover and strategic change. Non-precipitation organizational slack has no mediating effect between CEO turnover and strategic change, which is embodied as “suppressing effects.” When the non-precipitation organizational slack variable is controlled, the impact of CEO turnover on strategic change will be enhanced. TMT external social network, ownership nature and industry type all negatively moderate the relationship between CEO turnover and strategic change. TMT external social network and ownership nature have a joint moderating effect between CEO turnover and strategic change. When TMT external social network is small, CEO turnover has a positive effect on strategic change in both state-owned enterprises and non-state-owned enterprises, but the promotion effect is stronger in non-state-owned enterprises. When TMT external social network is large, the positive effect of CEO turnover on strategic change in state-owned enterprises is from strong to weak, but in the non-state-owned enterprises is from weak to strong. TMT external social network and industry type have a joint moderating effect between CEO turnover and strategic change. When TMT external social network is small, CEO turnover has a positive impact on strategic change in high-tech enterprises and non-high-tech enterprises, but the promotion effect is stronger in non-high-tech enterprises. When TMT external social network is large, the positive impact of CEO turnover on strategic change in high-tech enterprises is from strong to weak, but in the non-high-tech enterprises is from weak to strong.

Originality/value

On the basis of previous studies, this paper further expands the research scope of the mechanism of CEO turnover on strategic change, echoing the research arguments of relevant scholars. At the same time, the research results reveal the mechanism of organizational slack, TMT external social network, ownership nature and industry type in the relationship between CEO turnover and strategic change, and further deepen the application of upper echelons theory, resources allocation theory and structuration theory in China. In addition, the research conclusions of this paper also provide reference value for Chinese enterprises in carrying out strategic change, promoting enterprise transformation and improving the level of corporate governance, and help to enhance the understanding and attention of Chinese enterprises to CEO turnover, organizational slack, TMT external social network, strategic change and corporate governance under the background of high-quality economic development.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the anonymous reviewer's valuable comments and suggestions. Of course, the authors are responsible for the paper.

Citation

Liu, R., Li, C. and Huo, M. (2021), "The impact of chief executive officer turnover on strategic change: a model of mediating effect and joint moderating effect", China Finance Review International, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CFRI-03-2021-0055

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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