Date of Graduation

1-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Management

Advisor

Alan E. Ellstrand

Committee Member

Joanna T. Campbell

Second Committee Member

Jonathan L. Johnson

Keywords

Board of Directors, Interlocking Directorates, Networks

Abstract

In this dissertation, I explore how top executives’ and directors’ embeddedness in corporate elite networks within and between organizations’ boards of directors influence organizational strategy and policy. In the first study, I conduct a comprehensive review of the governance literature using both a traditional narrative approach as well as a bibliometric main path analysis, which traces the development and diffusion of scholarly knowledge on corporate elite networks. In the second study, drawing from network theory and behavioral governance research, I introduce a methodology that allows researchers to model intraboard networks by measuring the strength of ties among members of boards of directors based on objective formative indicators of the constructs of social similarity, social status, social exchange, and social history. Next, I use this technique to explore the antecedents and consequences of intraorganizational network characteristics of boards. Finally, in the third study, I examine the joint influence of interlocking directorates and intraorganizational networks of boards of directors on interorganizational imitation of corporate strategic activity. Results show that directors’ centrality within a focal organization’s board and those of its alters are important predictors of interorganizational imitation of corporate strategic activity. I contribute to the strategic management and organization theory literatures by advancing our understanding of the relationship of corporate elite networks with organizational strategy and policy, and by introducing a new approach to modeling directors’ networks in corporate governance research.

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