The role of CEOs and the board of directors in corporate governance

  • Hui Yan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis examines the role of CEOs and the board of directors in corporate governance. To this end, the thesis consists of three themes that assess the impact of top management teams on corporate outcomes from different perspectives.

Chapter 1 emphasizes the role of CEO power on firm performance. We find that CEOs’ informal power positively affects firm performance. Our findings particularly highlight that the prestige power, a dimension of informal power proxied by the CEOs’ educational background and networking, outweighs the other dimensions of power. In contrast, we find that CEOs’ formal power, primarily driven by their legitimate authority vested by their positions in the organizations, and the extent to which they have an economic or voting interest in the organization, has a negative impact on firm performance.

Chapter 2 examines the impact CEOs have on employee satisfaction. Our findings suggest that certain CEO profiles are more likely to improve employee satisfaction even when companies are under high financial constraints. These include those with longer tenure, broader educational knowledge, and a lower ownership of company shares. In addition, our results indicate that companies with higher female representation on boards often correlate with higher employee satisfaction.

Chapter 3 examines the role of female executives on corporate environmental performance. Our results reveal that companies with gender diversity in their leadership are effective in implementing sustainability strategies. Moreover, our findings high light the significant benefits of traits of overconfidence on female CEOs in terms of environmental sustainability.
Date of Award18 Jan 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorStylianos Asimakopoulos (Supervisor) & Nikolaos Sakkas (Supervisor)

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