The Handbook of Research on Top Management Teams
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The Handbook of Research on Top Management Teams

Edited by Mason A. Carpenter

This Handbook presents original research and theory on executives, top management teams, and boards of directors and illustrates the vital importance of this field of study.
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Chapter 8: How Does TMT Prior Experience Shape Strategy? A Routine-based Framework Based on Evidence from Founding Teams

Anne S. Miner, Yan Gong and Ted Baker


Anne S. Miner, Yan Gong, Ted Baker, and Jay O’Toole The top management team (TMT) literature and upper echelons perspective (Hambrick and Mason, 1984) rest on the premise that executives’ influence on their organizations is a product of their experiences (Carpenter et al., 2004; Hambrick, 2007). This body of work argues that executives’ experience will influence their fields of vision, selective perceptions, and interpretation of environmental and organizational stimuli. These in turn then drive strategic choices (Hambrick and Mason, 1984). Considerable evidence exists for the link between TMT experiences, strategic choices, and firm performance (e.g., Eisenhardt and Schoonhoven, 1990; Boeker, 1997; Carpenter et al., 2001; Kor, 2003). In this chapter we propose an additional causal pathway for how and why executive experience influences organizational actions and outcomes. Specifically, we propose that prior experience exposes TMT members to specific organizational routines that they automatically or mindfully deploy in ways that shape strategy and outcomes. Our focus is on organization-level routines, sets of coordinated and repetitive organizational activities (Miner, 1991). To develop our framework, we first report an inductive study of how founding top management teams draw on prior experience to create organizational routines. In this study we uncovered that top management teams replicate routines from their own previous experiences in several ways. They integrate routines between TMT members and network partners and use routines from real-time experiences while creating and growing new businesses. We discovered five ways that top management teams shape the creation of organizational routines that directly affect organizational...

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