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Chairperson and CEO role responses to strategic tensions: a UK-based study

Morais, F. M. A. (2017) Chairperson and CEO role responses to strategic tensions: a UK-based study. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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This exploratory, qualitative study utilises 30 elite interviews with highly experienced chairpersons and CEOs of large UK listed companies to explore how individuals holding these roles respond to strategic tensions in contexts of far-reaching change and resource scarcity. The thematic analysis undertaken in this study using the Demands–Constraints–Choices (DCC) model of roles identifies the role complexities, constraints, tensions and choices that chairpersons and CEOs face while performing their roles. This thesis’s findings advance knowledge of how chairpersons and CEOs respond to strategic tensions while enacting their roles, making important contributions to both role theory and paradox and tensions literature. The findings reveal the importance of the interdependence of chairperson and CEO roles, identifying the chairperson’s buffering role, relationships and dyadic work as critical for both CEOs and chairpersons in handling strategic tensions. Moreover, this thesis finds no empirical support for the idea that CEOs and chairpersons frame competing strategic demands and tensions as paradoxical. Instead, evidence suggests that tensions emerge from and are responded to within social interaction processes, where chairperson buffering and dyadic work appear to be critical. This gives partial support to emerging constitutive and processual views of paradox and tension. Finally, this thesis contributes to the debate between contingency and strategic choice and paradox perspectives on tensions, by showing that a contingency mind-set – rather than a paradoxical mind-set – predominates in chairperson and CEO behaviour and practice.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Kakabadse, N. and Kakabadse, A.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:75252


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