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Understanding board-CEO power dependency perspective under symbolic management

Pingying Zhang (Dept of Management, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)
Paul Fadil (Department of Management, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)
Chris Baynard (Dept of Economics and Geography, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 19 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better understand dependency issues between the CEO and the board as well as the between the board and CEO through Emerson’s power dependency framework.

Design/methodology/approach

A symbolic management approach is integrated with a board-CEO power dependency model to study the dependency issues.

Findings

According to the symbolic management perspective, uncertainty increases the likelihood of symbolic actions. A high level of uncertainty in CEO dependency issues suggests a high likelihood that board power over the CEO is manifested on a symbolic level, whereas a low level of uncertainty in board dependency issues suggests otherwise for CEO power over the board. The core of board-dependency issues is information provision.

Practical implications

A focus on improving board control over CEO performance, compensation and strategic proposals is likely to generate symbolic actions without an effective result.

Originality/value

The paper advocates that an effective approach to enhance board power is through reducing board information dependency on the CEO.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We are thankful for valuable comments from Morten Huse, Fred Wenstøp, Henrich Greve from Norwegian School of Management, Norway, Shaker Zahra and Harry Sapienza from University of Minnesota, the USA, and Gerwin Van der Laan from University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

Citation

Zhang, P., Fadil, P. and Baynard, C. (2015), "Understanding board-CEO power dependency perspective under symbolic management", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 50-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/CR-05-2013-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited