Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Aya Chacar

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Margarethe Wiersema

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mary Ann Von Glinow

Fifth Advisor's Name

William Newburry



Date of Defense



In this dissertation, I first suggest an extension of the managerial rents model and more specifically the managerial skills typology that it offers. Building on research in international business, I propose adding country-specific skills (CSS) to this typology in addition to firm-specific, industry-specific, and generic skills. I define CSS as managers’ abilities that are applicable and specific to a particular national institutional context. Such skills are distinct from the other three types identified and are likely to influence managers’ performance and the performance of their firms.

So if CSS are distinct skills, what are the implications for strategy and international business research? In an attempt to respond to this question, I conduct two empirical essays in which I examine the implications of this refinement of the typology of managerial skills for CEO selection and firms’ mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategy.

In the first empirical essay, I puzzle at the fact that although CSS constitute a barrier to high-level executive mobility across countries, there have been a growing number of foreign-born CEOs being appointed across the globe. Why are these individuals being selected for the post of CEO? Using information on the appointment of foreign-born and national CEOs from 2005 to 2010 among global 500 companies, I show that internationalization pressures help explain their selection and that two types of firms are likely to appoint foreign leaders: highly internationalized firms and firms that are likely to internationalize.

In the second empirical essay, I examine the strategic implications of country-specific skills. Employing the same sample as the one used in the first empirical essay, I demonstrate that given that their mindset is likely to be less focused on firms’ home market, foreign-born CEOs may be prone to institute more changes in firms’ cross-border M&A strategy than their domestic counterparts. I also theorize on the moderating influence of CEOs’ insiderness.





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