Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Ronaldo Parente

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Sumit Kundu

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Arun Kumaraswamy

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Stav Fainshmidt

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Orhun Guldiken

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Sixth Advisor's Name

Hai (David) Guo

Sixth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Internationalization process, managerial decision-making, multinational enterprises

Date of Defense



This dissertation investigates the important role top managers, especially chief executive officers (CEOs), play in the internationalization process of multinational enterprises (MNEs). Particularly, this dissertation highlights how managerial risk propensity shapes the choices of internationalization strategy. The first essay examines how CEOs of acquiring firms react differently to the adverse impact of negative media coverage on acquisition premiums paid to foreign target firms from the theoretical lens of agency theory. The results indicate that CEOs react less strongly to negative media coverage over their acquisitions by lowering acquisition premiums if they are granted with stock options and protected by takeover contingencies. The second essay focuses on a less studied personal attribute of CEO, the generality of CEO work experience, and its influence on CEOs’ risk propensity which reflects on their internationalization decisions from the theoretical lens of upper echelons theory. The results reveal that CEOs who have more general work experience that accumulates from having worked in multiple firms and industries tend to engage in a higher degree of internationalization. The effect is weakened when CEOs have a high level of stock ownership in their firms and strengthened when CEOs receive education in Ivy League schools. The third essay explores how CEOs of target firms respond to an external threat from short sellers by constraining internationalization activities of the target firms from the theoretical lens of threat rigidity theory. The results suggest that the response of CEOs to external pressure from short sellers will be less rigid for generalist CEOs who have general work experience across multiple firms and industries and for CEOs who are also the chairperson of their respective board of directors. In sum, the findings of this dissertation contribute to our understanding in international managerial decision-making research by providing empirical evidence regarding the influence of top managers on the internationalization process of MNEs.





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