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The Influence of German Top Executives on Corporate Policy and Firm Performance


Marcel Normann

The question of whether strategic leaders really matter is important to a wide array of topics. Three essays contribute to empirical top executive research on the relative importance of German CEOs and CFOs. The analyses are based on a unique dataset that includes observations from more than 300 CEOs and 100 CFOs working for 110 publicly listed German firms that operated in 10 different industries between 1983 and 2002. The first essay describes and analyzes characteristics of top executives. The second essay examines the existence and size of top executive-specific effects as well as industry-, company- and executive-level moderating factors. The third essay sheds light on the circumstances under which CEOs and CFOs matter the most (or least).


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7. Appendix


7.1 Essay 1: Definition of Variables Age: Age is measured as the difference between the year of consideration and the year the executive was born. Socioeconomic background: Based on the biographical information, each executive was grouped into one of three socioeconomic groups depending on his background: upper class, middle class, and working class. Specifi- cally, executives were identified as having an upper-class background if their pa rents were entrepreneurs or held managerial positions in business or public office, a middle-class background if their parents were white-collar workers or public employees, or a working-class background if their parents were blue-collar or skilled manual workers. To illustrate the classification procedure, table 25 gives an overview of typi cal indicators about the social origin from the biographical information that is used for classification. Table 27: Typical indicators about socioeconomic background of top executives Socioeconomic back- ground Typical indicators Upper class Entrepreneur, board member, factory director, manager, mayor, undersecretary, landowner Middle class Engineer, teacher at secondary school, salaried employee, shopkeeper, master craftsman, fore- man Working class Railway worker, haidresser, potter, „grew up in modest or simple or ordinary circumstances“ Religion: When reported in the biography, the faith of the executive is classi- fied as either Protestant or Catholic. 120 Education: For each executive, the level of education and, for university graduates, the field of study is reported. Also, the age at which the executive finished his highest level of education and started his career is reported. The level of education is measured by the...

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