CEO characteristics and their impact on organisational performance - Special Report | The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

CEO characteristics and their impact on organisational performance – Special Report

Whilst there is little doubt that organisational performance relies on a multitude of factors, one of the most prevalent are the characteristics of the organisation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This has been a growing area of interest with an average of 6,000 published studies being conducted in 2009 with this average rising to over 11,000 a year since 2013.

As a result of this interest, and a direct request for more information from members, we have compiled a research briefing about the very latest findings about CEO characteristics and their impact on performance.


  • Introduction 4
  • Recruiting new CEOs 5
  • Educational background of CEOs 6
  • The impact of organisational ownership 7
  • The impact of entrepreneurial CEOs 8
  • International outlook 9
  • Use of social media by CEOs 9
  • CEO materialism 9
  • CEOs strategy capability 10
  • Humble CEOs with and without vision 11
  • Specialist v generalist CEOs 12
  • Dealing with uncertainty 13
  • Organisational ambidexterity 14
  • CEO familiarity bias in mergers and acquisitions 15
  • CEO psychological characteristics 16
    • The dark triad 16
      • Narcissism 16
      • Psychopathy 16
      • Machiavellianism 16
      • The impact of leaders/CEOs with dark triad tendencies 17
    • CEO personality traits associated with positive organisational performance 17
      • CEO agreeableness 17
      • Emotional stability 17
      • Conscientiousness 17
      • Openness to experience 17
      • Extraversion 17
      • Strategic change and CEO personality 18
      • Extraversion and the cost of capital and risk 18
  • Innovation and CEO characteristics 19
    • CEO risk aversion 19
    • CEO flexibility 19
    • CEO personality and innovation 19
    • CEO stability, optimism and resilience 20
  • Conclusion 21
  • References 22

Download (members only) or buy this Special Report: What the research says about CEO characteristics and their impact on organisational performance


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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page

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