Benefiting from CEO's empowerment of TMTs: Does CEO-TMT dissimilarity matter?

Yan Ling*, Liqun Wei, Richard J. Klimoski, Longzeng Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)
    61 Downloads (Pure)


    This study examines empowering leadership from an upper echelons perspective by focusing on top management teams (TMTs) and considering the demographic dissimilarities between the CEO and other TMT members. Data from a multisource survey of 129 Chinese firms demonstrate the importance of the fit between the backgrounds of the leader and the TMT members. Although empowerment of TMTs by CEOs predicts superior organizational performance in general, the findings show that this practice is most beneficial when the CEO and the TMT members differ in their informational demographics but have a longer tenure overlap. If either dissimilarity in informational demographics or tenure overlap is lacking, the CEO's empowerment of the TMT has a less positive effect on firm performance. Essentially, a three-way interaction is demonstrated. Introducing boundary conditions for the empowerment of TMTs by CEOs and testing their interactive influence broadens our understanding of how CEO leadership style can affect organizational performance, and refines the guidance for practitioners on TMT management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1066-1079
    Number of pages14
    JournalLeadership Quarterly
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Applied Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

    User-Defined Keywords

    • CEOs
    • Dissimilarity
    • Empowerment
    • Organizational performance
    • Top management teams


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