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Differences that matter: hiring modes and demographic (dis)similarity in executive selection

Georgakakis, D., Greve, P. ORCID: and Ruigrok, W. (2021) Differences that matter: hiring modes and demographic (dis)similarity in executive selection. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 32 (3). pp. 650-679. ISSN 1466-4399

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2018.1496126


Scholars, practitioners, and policymakers have long acknowledged the importance of understanding the antecedents of top management team (TMT) composition. Yet, research on how and why firms select executives who are demographically dissimilar to incumbent TMT members remains limited. We take a step toward answering these questions by employing a sample of 575 individual-level executive appointments at 170 large European firms between 2005 and 2009. Drawing on the person-group fit perspective, we argue that firms are more likely to appoint socio-demographically dissimilar executives through internal promotion – while external hires are more likely to socio-demographically resemble incumbent top managers. Our results support the hypothesized relationship. They also show that this relationship is influenced by the level of administrative complexity and environmental uncertainty facing the firm. Overall, our theory and results enhance our understanding of ‘why top management teams are composed the way they are’, by highlighting the impact of internal and external hiring modes in the selection of demographically (dis)similar executives.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:78123
Uncontrolled Keywords:executive appointments, diversity, top management teams, upper echelons
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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