Date of Award

1-1-2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

McKinley, William

Second Advisor

Michalisin, Michael

Abstract

Recent research has investigated the moderating effects of environmental characteristics on the relationships between top management team heterogeneities and firm performance but has given little attention to the moderating role of board composition. This study examines the moderating effects of the proportion of outside board membership on the relationships between top management team heterogeneities and firm performance. The upper echelons theory would contend that outside directors with their valuable resources (information, skills, and network) and the tendency to challenge and initiate cognitive conflicts with top management teams can improve the quality of strategic decision making process and firm performance. To test these predictions, it is hypothesized that the greater the proportion of outside directors, the more positive the relationship between top management team tenure heterogeneity, educational heterogeneity, functional background heterogeneity, and firm performance. Fortune 500 companies were chosen as the sample of the study. I utilized moderated hierarchical regression to analyze the data. The results do not support the predictions. Several theoretical and methodological issues are discussed.

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