Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Business Administration - Strategic Management

Committee Director

Anil Nair

Committee Member

Jing Zhang

Committee Member

Stav Fainshmidt

Committee Member

Ashley Salaiz


A vibrant stream of research in strategic management examines CEO reputation, status, media coverage, and awards on firm outcomes.

This dissertation examines antecedents that impact the likelihood of CEOs gaining higher visible status —such as winning awards — and the impact of such status on firm behavior. The dissertation addresses these issues in two essays.

In the first essay, we use signaling theory to frame the impact of industry characteristics, firm level strategic initiatives, and demographic factors on the likelihood of CEOs winning awards. Specifically, in this essay we examine how industry structure, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, business strategies, and CEO gender impact the likelihood of CEOs winning awards. We tested our hypotheses using S&P 500 firms and found that firm CSR initiatives were positively associated with the likelihood of CEOs winning awards; but industry structure, firms’ focus on advertising and R&D, and CEO gender had no impact.

In the second essay, we use prospect theory (PT) and behavioral theory of the firm (BTOF) to examine whether CEOs who win awards engage in risk-taking behavior and are likely to initiate substantive strategic change, or such CEOs become complacent and committed to status-quo. We used S&P 500 data to test our hypotheses and found that award-winning CEOs were less likely to engage in strategic change; further, performance below or above firm aspirations had no impact on subsequent strategic behavior. Thus, the results help resolve the contradictory assertions in the CEO award literature. The theoretical contributions to the literatures on CEO awards, firm strategic change, and BTOF are discussed.


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