Navigating the Study of Executive Leaders’ Spirituality

[Wejmia_26_1-cover’re pleased to welcome Dr. Stuart Allen, Associate Professor at Robert Morris University in Organizational Leadership. Allen recently published an article in Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Navigating the Study of Executive Leaders’ Spirituality: André Delbecq’s Journey.” From Allen:]

We first began to communicate with André Delbecq in 2014. After reading his articles and hearing him speak at conferences we were eager to include him in an instructional video we were working on that addressed the role of spirituality in leadership and the workplace. André invited us to visit him at his home in San Francisco in early 2015 to video-record an hour long discussion. André is a renowned figure in the Academy of Management, and especially in the Management Spirituality and Religion (MSR) Interest Group, due to his long history of contributions to the management field (over 225 scholarly articles) and his pioneering work on topics such as the Nominal Group Technique. In his late career, in the late 1990s, André began to focus on executive leadership spirituality, publishing various accounts of his approach in delivering seminars on this topic to his graduate management students at Santa Clara University, where he served as senior fellow in the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and professor of management in the Leavey School of Business.

In the months following the interview, while editing the video footage, we realized that we had much more content than we could include in our initial video; we also recognized the depth of André’s rich experience and warm approach in sharing his experiences and perspective. After seeing an article about Fred Luthans (Sommer, 2006) in the unique Meet the Person format included in the Journal of Management Inquiry (JMI), we contacted André and JMI’s editors to gauge interest in an article in this format about André. In August 2016 we met with André for a second interview at the Academy of Management’s 2016 Annual Conference in Anaheim and spent another 90 minutes with André. He elaborated on some of the earlier issues we had explored with him while adding a great focus on his career and experiences as a pioneering teaching practitioner and author. By this time, we had come to know André better, and later that same morning we presented a panel with him and Jody Fry.

Wanting to see the interviews published, we finished the manuscript in September 2016 and sent it to André for his review and approval. He responded on October 1 letting us know that we could publish the article, but also letting us know he was experiencing some health challenges and would be heading to hospital. Twelve days later we heard of André’s passing. This was a challenging end to the beginning of great friendship as we were just getting to know André at a new level. We were also awed by his generosity and commitment to scholarship through the detailed comments we received in his review, even when he was ill and about to go to the hospital.

This article reports on the two interviews, providing a broader picture of André’s career and experiences as a pioneering scholar and teacher. André also shared some of his thinking about the current state of the MSR field and opportunities for new research. He has shared his thoughts on how to approach the challenges of researching new topics and the rewards he received for doing so. It is hard to communicate the full essence of the experience of working with André, who was a wise, patient, generous, bold, and joyful person to be with. He exemplified the transformative presence of a great leader and scholar. We were honored with the opportunity to capture his thoughts and experiences at what unexpectedly turned out to be the end of his life. Anyone who knew André, is interested in MSR research, teaching, and scholarship, or those seeking to learn from the example of pioneering scholar might enjoy reading the interview.


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Elephant or Donkey? How Board Political Ideology Impacts CEO Pay

6261650491_0cd6c701bb_zHow much does directors’ political ideologies impact CEO compensation? Perhaps more than you might think–according to a recent paper published in Administrative Science Quarterlyentitled “The Elephant (or Donkey) in the Boardroom: How Board Political Ideology Affects CEO Pay” from authors Abhinav Gupta and Adam J. Wowak, conservative and liberal boards differ in not only how much they pay CEOs, but how they adjust CEO compensation based upon company performance. The abstract for the paper:

We examine how directors’ political ideologies, specifically the board-level average of how conservative or liberal directors are, influence boards’ decisions about CEO compensation. Integrating research on corporate governance and political psychology, we theorize that conservative and liberal boards will differ in their prevailing beliefs about the appropriate amounts CEOs should be paid and, relatedly, the extent to which CEOs should be rewarded or penalized for recent firm performance. Using a donation-based index to measure the political ideologies of Current Issue Coverdirectors serving on S&P 1500 company boards, we test our ideas on a sample of over 4,000 CEOs from 1998 to 2013. Consistent with our predictions, we show that conservative boards pay CEOs more than liberal boards and that the relationship between recent firm performance and CEO pay is stronger for conservative boards than for liberal boards. We further demonstrate that these relationships are more pronounced when focusing specifically on the directors most heavily involved in designing CEO pay plans—members of compensation committees. By showing that board ideology manifests in CEO pay, we offer an initial demonstration of the potentially wide-ranging implications of political ideology for how corporations are governed.

You can read “The Elephant (or Donkey) in the Boardroom: How Board Political Ideology Affects CEO Pay” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay up to date on all of the latest research published by Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to DonkeyHotey (CC)

Happy Election Day from Management INK! Did you vote yet?

Providing CEOs With Opportunities to Cheat

What motivates CEOs to misreport financial results?

Hermann Achidi Ndofor of Texas A&M University, Curtis Wesley of Indiana University, and Richard L. Priem of Texas Christian University and LUISS Guido Carli University published “Providing CEOs With Opportunities to Cheat: The Effects of Complexity-Based Information Asymmetries on Financial Reporting Fraud” in the Journal of Management’s OnlineFirst section. The abstract:

UntitledOpportunities for financial reporting fraud arise because of information asymmetries—often labeled “lack of transparency”—between top managers and their diverse shareholders. We evaluate the relative contributions of information asymmetries arising from industry-level and firm-level complexities to the likelihood of JOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWtop managers committing financial reporting fraud. Using a sample of 453 matched pairs of firms that have and have not been identified as having committed financial reporting fraud, we found that information asymmetries arising from industry- and firm-level complexities increase the likelihood of financial fraud. Moreover, more CEO stock options increase the likelihood of fraud when industry complexity is high, while aggressive monitoring by the audit committee reduces the likelihood of reporting fraud when firm-level complexity is high.

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Perceptions of Trust in the Boardroom

Laura-Ann Migliore and Anshila Horton DeClouette published “Perceptions of Trust in the Boardroom: A Conceptual Model” in Online First in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. They have kindly shared some background information about the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience for this article is CEOs and Boards of Directors for any organization – for profit and non-profit – who’s leaders are interested in improving trust between the leading executive and members of the board, as well as increasing awareness of perceptions of trust among board members. Although not explicitly stated in the article, the authors see superintendents and school boards, as well as governing boards in the Higher Education Industry as a target audience.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We are inspired by the need to rebuild trust in corporate America, especially given the wide-spread exposure of several corporate scandals and related fraud cases of multinational companies and high-profile Wall Street executives. Given these effects, we see the current U.S. economic crisis and its impact in global markets as an alarming concern for the future prosperity of the U.S. In addition, we also see the need to strengthen the U.S. education system as an integral part towards providing competent leaders with the integrity to build trust and improve the country’s competitive position through innovation and performance excellence.

Our approach towards corporate governance and trust among executives is holistic. On the macro level, we recognize and acknowledge the various factors influencing the institutional, legal, and cultural aspects of corporate governance. However, at the micro and most fundamental level, we see the importance of cultivating trust among individual executive leaders. Our interest in perceptions of trust focus specifically on human intercognition and the influencing personal-level factors of personality traits, motivation, as influenced by cultural values, competence in general and specific skills, as well as interpersonal skills, and reliability in terms of communication, action, and performance outcomes. We also recognize and acknowledge the latent variable of human intuition and its role in one’s perception of trust towards another individual.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Yes, we found a case study example in the literature of past CEO, Joe Wilson and the trusting relationships he had with Xerox Corporation Board of Directors to apply to our Self-Leadership Trust Model. The explicit descriptions of Wilson’s leadership behaviors, expressions of personality, competence, and demonstrated reliability, fit extremely well with our trust model. In addition, and most delightful was the inspiration we, as authors, gained from Wilson, a leader truly ahead of his time, who demonstrated ideal perceptions in trust building with the ability to harmonize the spectrum of the Five-Factor Model (FFM) personality and Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions for greater appreciation of diversity and the building of inclusive organizational cultures.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We see a wonderful opportunity to fill a gap in the research by going deeper on an individual-to-individual analysis with our Self-Leadership Trust Model. As stated in our article:

“Our model presents a framework to help illuminate the black box of board member behaviors and provides explanation on perceptions of trust by individual board members based on the inter-relational influence of personality and national culture, as well as individual motivation, competence, and reliability.”

Our aspiration is to provide individual executive assessment on perceptions of trust towards self and others and synthesize the individual composite scores with the holistic influencing factors of organizational culture, legal, and institutional factors. The evaluations of this analysis and synthesis is aimed at providing customized feedback for improving trust, building effective working relationships, and achieving the desired performance outcomes. We see our research having the potential to help rebuild trust in corporate America, as well as the U.S. education system on the most fundamental level, by helping executive leaders understand their own intercognition as related to perceptions of trust towards self and others.

How does this study fit int your body of work/line of research?

This study represents the symbiotic expertises of two independent researchers who found greater appreciation in the diversity of our studies, and in doing so, were empowered to construct and apply the Self-Leadership Trust Model.

Dr. Laura-Ann Migliore specializes in the social sciences with focus on the inter-relational aspects of personality and culture, and its influence on leadership and organizational behavior. Dr. Anne DeClouette’s research focuses on accounting practices and corporate governance, specifically boards of directors. Together, the authors provide a holistic approach on both macro and micro levels, with relevant application towards strategic corporate governance and leadership effectiveness through the discipline and practice of building trusting relationships.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The reviewers’ challenged us to think deeper and improve the article to demonstrate a tighter link between our proposed model’s components and the supporting literature to the problems of boards and corporate governance. We explicitly addressed the level of analysis as individual-to-individual (i.e., the perception of trust on an individual level) and linked implications to board effectiveness and the overall organization, using the model to explain and support individual perceptions of trust. In addition, we theoretically demonstrate how the model could be used to explain CEO and board member trust, and we used Joe Wilson (past CEO of Xerox Corporation) as an example with literature to support our discussion.

What, if anything, would you do if you could go back and do this study again?

Nothing at this point in time, as our study presents a conceptual trust model. Our plan is to move forward and test the Self-Leadership Trust Model. The authors are looking to conduct a mix-methods study with CEOs and Boards of Directors and test the conceptual model and the survey instrument. We would also like to conduct the study with superintendents and school boards, as well as governing boards in the Higher Education Industry.

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