CEO commitment to the status Quo: Replication and extension using content analysis

Patrick L. McClelland, Xin Liang, Vincent L. Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


A limited number of studies have identified multilevel determinants of chief executive officer (CEO) commitment to the status quo (CSQ). Using an unintrusive measure of CEO CSQ developed through computer-aided content analyses of CEO letters to shareholders, this study confirmed that determinants of CEO CSQ are multilevel, including factors at the individual (CEO age and tenure), organizational (size and financial slack), and industry (extent of industry discretion) levels of analysis. In addition, as an important extension to prior research, the authors find that CEO CSQ is associated with future performance changes depending on a firm's industry environment. They find that in high-discretion industries, firms whose CEOs are committed to the status quo suffer future financial and market performance declines as compared with their competitors, whereas such performance deterioration does not occur in low-discretion environments. Indeed, when future performance is market based and measured as Tobin's Q, the authors find that compared with competitors, a firm's performance actually improves in low-discretion industries if its CEO is committed to the status quo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1277
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • CEOs
  • Change
  • Content analysis
  • Executive beliefs


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