Sociology Index


Corporate elite are the owners, directors and senior executives of the largest and most important of a nation's business corporations. Corporate elite can be variously defined according to criteria of corporate size and type of enterprise.

Does the Rolodex Matter? Corporate Elite's Small World and the Effectiveness of Boards of Directors - Though widely viewed as a prevalent sociological and business feature in many countries, the small world of the corporate elite has been mostly overlooked in the finance literature. Socially well-connected CEOs are less likely to be dismissed for poor performance and more likely to find new and good employment after a forced departure.

Cross-directorships effectively protect CEOs against being fired for poor performance and enhance their opportunities to obtain more directorships following good performance. Government ownership and political cycles also impact the effectiveness of board monitoring. - Bang Dang Nguyen, The Chinese Univ of Hong Kong.

Power Without Efficacy: The Decline of the American Corporate Elite - Mizruchi, Mark
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
Abstract: I argue that the organization of the American corporate elite underwent a transformation between the early 1970s and the turn of the twenty-first century. For the first three decades after World War II, the corporate elite adopted a pragmatic, accommodationist, approach, in which it accepted the reality of a relatively activist state, a relatively strong labor movement, and a financial community that oversaw and mediated disputes across industries. As the 1970s progressed, the corporate elite moved to limit the power of the state and of labor. Then, in the 1980s, the power of commercial banks began to decline. Finally, the takeover wave of the 1980s led corporate elite leaders to shift their concerns away from those of business as a whole toward the short-term performance of their particular firms. With no external forces to discipline its members, the corporate elite has become fragmented, narrowly self-interested, and unable to act collectively to address the problems of American society in a way that its forerunners did in previous years.

Changing Pathways to Corporate Elite: Education, Social Background, and Elite Stratification
Snellman, Kaisa - Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Abstract: I examine patterns of educational and social background of the elite over time as well as the effects of social and educational background on stratification within the corporate elite. I ask: Are some fields more likely pathways to the inner circle membership than others? Is there educational stratification by field of study? I investigate associations between education, social background, and inner circle membership using data on members of the Finnish corporate elite in 1980, 1992, and 2004. Using loglinear models, I find that the association between social background and elite changes over time. The proportion of Swedish-speaking elite members plummets over time, while the share of foreign directors soars. Moreover, I find significant changes in the educational background of the elite. Most notably, there is a steep decline in the proportion of lawyers, and a rise in the share of elite members with degrees in business or engineering. Social background, however, has no significant effect on elite stratification. In other words, social origin may provide differential access to the elite, but no additional advantages once in the elite.

Corporate elite characteristics and firm's internationalization: CEO-level and TMT-level roles
Yi-Long Jaw; Wen-Ting Lin - Published in: The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Volume 20, Issue 1 January 2009 , pages 220 - 233
Abstract: This study attempts resolution of certain ambiguities of the corporate elite - Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Top Management Team (TMT) - effect on corporate internationalization strategy. This work hypothesized that curvilinear relationship exists between CEO position tenure, TMT size, and TMT tenure heterogeneity and a firm's internationalization, by combining previous upper echelon theory and processing international business school perspective. Empirical-evidence indicate that CEO and TMT characteristics show a nonlinear relationship, based on 165 samples of Taiwanese firms operating in a technologically intensive industry. An inverted U-shaped relationship exists between CEO position tenure and TMT size regarding a firm's internationalization. These associations are an inverted U-shape, when internationalization level facing TMT tenure heterogeneity is accounted for.

Surveying the Corporate Elite: Theoretical and Practical Guidance on Improving Response Rates and Response Quality in Top Management Survey Questionnaires
Michael Bednar - University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business
James D. Westphal - University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Abstract: This article provides an empirical examination of factors that determine the likelihood and quality of response to top management surveys. More generally, we advance a theoretical perspective on survey response rooted in social influence theory that should help researchers make better choices about the design of their survey questionnaires.