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The chairperson and CEO roles interaction and responses to strategic tensions

Morais, F., Kakabadse, N. and Kakabadse, A. (2018) The chairperson and CEO roles interaction and responses to strategic tensions. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 18 (1). pp. 143-164. ISSN 1472-0701

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/cg-05-2017-0092


Purpose: This paper utilises Stewart’s model of role as a lenses from which to explore chairperson and CEO role dynamics in addressing strategic paradox and tension. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on 29 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with chairpersons and CEOs of UK-listed companies. Interview data is subjected to role analysis using Stewart’s (1982) Demands-Constraints-Choice (DCC) model of role. Findings (mandatory): Findings indicate that relationship levels of trust, communication and chairperson time, enable strategic tensions to be raised and confronted in the relationship reducing defensiveness. Two distinct approaches to handle strategic tensions are found. The CEO-led approach predominates and rests on less flexible role boundaries, requiring the chairperson to proactively identify strategic tensions and perform an advisory/mentoring role. The shared leadership approach, less prevalent, rests on highly flexible role boundaries where the skills and experience of each incumbent become more relevant, enabling the separation of efforts and integration of strategic tensions in the relationship in a ‘dynamic complementarity of function’. Research limitations: The study only applies to the UK context and is limited to contexts where CEO and chairperson roles are separate. The study draws on individual perceptions of chairperson and CEOs (i.e. not pairs). Practical Implications: The study provides insights to practicing CEOs and chairperson on two distinct ways of working through strategic paradox and tensions. Originality/value: The study adds to the scarce literature at chairperson and CEO roles and strategic paradox and tension.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:71965


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