The impact of institutional complexity and top management characteristics on executive compensation and firm performance

Yu-Kai Wang, Florida International University


While most studies take a dyadic view when examining the environmental difference between the home country of a multinational enterprise (MNE) and a particular foreign country, they ignore that an MNE is managing a network of subsidiaries embedded in diverse environments. Additionally, neither the impacts of global environments on top executives nor the effects of top executives’ capabilities to handle institutional complexity are fully explored. Thus, using a three-essay format, this dissertation tried to fill these gaps by addressing the effects of institutional complexity and top management characteristics on top executive compensation and firm performance. Essay 1 investigated the impact of an MNE’s institutional complexity, or the diversity of national institutions facing an MNE’s network of subsidiaries, on the top management team (TMT) compensation. This essay proposed that greater political and cultural complexity leads to not only greater TMT total compensation but also to a greater portion of TMT compensation linked with long-term performance. The arguments are supported in this essay by using an unbalanced panel dataset including 296 U.S. firms with 1,340 observations. Essay 2 explored TMT social capital and its moderating role on value creation and appropriation by the chief executive officer (CEO). Using a sample with 548 U.S. firms and 2,010 observations, it found that greater TMT social capital does facilitate the effects of CEO intellectual capital and social capital on firm growth. Finally, essay 3 examined the performance implications for the fit between managerial information-processing capabilities and institutional complexity. It proposed that institutional complexity is associated with the needs of information-processing. On the other hand, smaller TMT turnover and larger TMT size reflect larger managerial information-processing capabilities. Consequently, superior performance is achieved by the match among institutional complexity, TMT turnover, and TMT size. All hypotheses in essay 3 are supported in a sample of 301 U.S. firms and 1,404 observations. To conclude, this dissertation advances and extends our knowledge on the roles of institutional environments and top executives on firm performance and top executive compensation.

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Recommended Citation

Wang, Yu-Kai, "The impact of institutional complexity and top management characteristics on executive compensation and firm performance" (2011). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3484198.