Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals
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CitationAdams, Renée, Matti Keloharju, and Samuli Knüpfer. "Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-044, October 2015.
AbstractWhat makes a CEO? We merge data on the traits of more than one million Swedish males, measured at age 18 in a mandatory military enlistment test, with data on their service as a CEO of any Swedish company decades later. CEOs have higher cognitive and non-cognitive ability scores and are taller than typical members of the population. The difference in traits is larger when CEOs run bigger companies; it is smaller when they run family firms, in particular in the capacity of an heir or in a less competitive industry. Although the traits of CEOs compare favorably with the population, they are hardly exceptional: for example, the median large-company CEO belongs to the top-17% of the population in cognitive ability, and to the top-5% in the combination of cognitive, non-cognitive ability, and height. There are more than one hundred times as many men in managerial roles in the corporate sector who have better trait combinations than the median large-company CEO and who do not become a large-company CEO during our 7-year sample period. Being born with a favorable mix of traits may be necessary but is far from a sufficient condition for making it to the executive suite.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:23490131
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