Top Management Turnover and Organizational Performance : A Test of a Contingency Model

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-581
Journal / PublicationPublic Administration Review
Issue number4
Online published1 Jul 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


A crucial test of whether "management matters" is whether changes in the team at the top of an organization make a difference. Focusing on turnover in the collective senior team rather than successions of individual chief executives, this article argues that the impact of leadership succession is contingent upon prior organizational performance. The evidence on English local government shows that changes in the top management team lead to improvements when initial performance is bad, but result in deterioration when initial performance is good. The results support the view that high-performing organizations should attempt to retain members of their senior management team, whereas low performers should seek to replace them. © 2011 The American Society for Public Administration.