3. Essay 2: Executive-specific Effects on Performance and Policy
3.1 Top executives in the literature: deterministic, voluntaristic, and integrative models There are opposing views in the business and economics literature about the importance of executives and the roles they play in organizations. Depending on their assumptions on the free will and autonomous behavior of individuals, the range of theories extends from completely deterministic to entirely vo - luntaristic models (Hitt & Tyler, 1991; Schrader, 1995). Deterministic models argue that top executives are constrained by the external environment or sug- gest that there is only one best solution, which in fact reduces strategic deci- sions to one of mechanics (Hannan & Freeman, 1977, 1984; Pfeffer & Salan- cik, 1978; Porter, 1980, 1985). In contrast, voluntaristic models emphasize that top executives, as the dominant coalition, make strategic decisions and, thus, have a considerable effect on their organizations (Child, 1972, 1997; Hambrick & Mason, 1984). Finally, integrative models, being an extension of deterministic and voluntaristic models, suggest that the magnitude of top executives’ impact varies and depends on various environmental, organiza- tional, and individual factors (Hambrick & Finkelstein, 1987; Wasserman, Nohria, & Anand, 2001). Historically, deterministic models represent the starting point in the lit- erature. In general, there are two groups of deterministic models, external control, and rational normative models (Hitt et al., 1991; Schrader, 1995). External control models intend to explain existing structures and organiza- tions, whereas rational normative models focus on making normative recom- mendations. External control models argue that the external environment has a major impact on organizations and that decisions on structure and strategy...
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