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CEO Attributes and Firm Performance

by Dong Liu, Greg Fisher, and Guoli Chen 

Published Online:7 May 2018 


Research on the impact of CEO attributes on firm performance is sporadic and fragmented with various studies addressing select pieces of the puzzle. Through synthesizing and integrating diverse theoretical perspectives on the functioning of firm executives, this article advances a sequential mediation process model to link CEO attributes with firm performance. The model incorporates CEO emotion and cognition, along with top management team (TMT) and organizational processes as multilevel mediating mechanisms linking CEO attributes to firm performance outcomes. In addition, we draw from event system theory to highlight contextual events confronting firms and CEOs that alter the sequential mediation process resulting in stronger/weaker effects of CEOs on firm performance. Our research not only extends the literature by addressing what, how, and when CEO attributes impact firm performance in a more holistic fashion, but also identifies meaningful theoretical and methodological opportunities for research advancement.

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