CEO and Firm-Level Strategy


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Awarding Institution
Award date4 May 2023


CEOs, as the main leaders of firms, make key firm-level decisions. Therefore, our paper examined whether CEOs’ traits influence their risk-taking/risk-averse decisions. Specifically, the current paper analyzed whether CEOs’ life-threatening disease experiences and residential local Christian religiosity impact their risk-taking/ risk-averse decisions.

In the first paper, we asked whether regional Christian religiosity impacts CEOs’ decisions regarding acquisition premiums. We contended that firms headquartered in regions with higher Christian religiosity tend to pay lower acquisition premiums because CEOs are strongly influenced by the descriptive social norms of risk aversion stemming from Christian religiosity. Furthermore, we proposed two important contingencies: CEO tenure and a firm’s human capital intensity. The results showed that CEO tenure weakens the negative impact of Christian religiosity on acquisition premiums, whereas human capital
intensity strengthens this relationship. Our research contributes to a better understanding of the role that Christian religious norms play in acquisition premium decisions.

In the second paper, we asked whether CEOs’ life-threatening disease experiences impact firms’ unrelated product diversification. We found that by struggling and combating life-threatening diseases, CEOs attain self-efficacy, which helps them positively face the uncertainty and risk associated with future decisions. Such post-traumatic growth drives CEOs to leave their comfort zones to initiate new product launches, which require strong self-efficacy. Our research contributes to the understanding of how CEOs’ life-threatening disease experiences influence their decision-making.

    Research areas

  • CEO, Christian religiosity, descriptive social norms, risk aversion, acquisition premiums, life-threatening disease experience, posttraumatic growth, self-efficacy, risk-taking, unrelated product diversification