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 3: Bringing Organizational Demography Back In: Time, Change, and Structure in Top Management Team Research

Christine M. Beckman and M. Diane Burton


Christine M. Beckman and M. Diane Burton Organizational scholars have achieved broad consensus on two facts: the era of the loyal “organization man” is over, and traditional large bureaucracies are being replaced by new organizational forms. Commentators in both the popular press and the scholarly literature have documented the myriad ways that jobs at all levels are less secure and how both organizations and employees are less loyal (cf., Cappelli, 1999; Osterman, 1999). These changes in the nature of the employment relationship are particularly visible in the executive ranks. The promotions and ousters of corporate leaders that are core to academic theories of governance and motivation are chronicled in the press in colorful detail. Executive tenure has declined and executive mobility is facilitated by professional executive search firms (Khurana, 2002). At the same time, we see widespread change in how organizations are designed and managed (Barley, 1992; Guillen, 1994); and in different eras, different organizational forms dominate (e.g., functional, divisional, and matrix forms; see Chandler, 1962; Davis et al., 1994; Shenhav, 2000; Zuckerman, 2000). We have seen the rise (Fligstein, 1987) and fall (Davis, 2009) of financial capitalism, and the emergence of new executive roles such as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) (Hambrick and Cannella, 2004) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) (Zorn, 2004; Zorn et al., 2004). Given the known game of musical chairs in the executive suite as people come and go, and the extensive changes in organizational structures that change the chairs drawn up to the table,...

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