You don’t forget your roots: the influence of CEO social class background on strategic risk taking
Author(s): Jennifer Kish-Gephart , Joanna Tochman Campbell
Abstract: Social class is increasingly recognized as a powerful force in people's lives. Yet despite the long and extensive stream of research on the upper echelons of organizations, we know little about how executives' formative childhood experiences with social class influence their strategic choices. In this study, we investigate the influence of chief executive officers' (CEOs') perceived social class origins on firm risk taking. We also explore the moderating influences of other important career experiences, in the form of elite education and diverse functional backgrounds. Our theory and findings highlight that an executive's social class origins have a lasting and varying impact on his or her preferences, affecting his or her tendency to take risks. By examining this novel managerial characteristic, we offer important implications for theorizing about social class and upper echelons.
Publication Title: Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 58 (6)
Pub Year: 2015
Pages: 1614 – 1636
Keywords: social class, influence, CEO

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