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Does Leadership Make a Difference to Organizational Performance?

Alan Berkeley Thomas
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 33, No. 3 (Sep., 1988), pp. 388-400
DOI: 10.2307/2392715
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2392715
Page Count: 13
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Does Leadership Make a Difference to Organizational Performance?
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Abstract

This paper evaluates research on the impact of chief executive officers on corporate performance, taking Lieberson and O'Connor's pathbreaking study as its starting point. Although that study is commonly regarded as the principal source of empirical support for the view that leaders have little impact on organizational performance because they are constrained by situational factors, it is argued here that the study and its derivatives have provided consistent and compelling evidence that individual leaders do make a difference. The results of a study of large retail firms in the United Kingdom, designed to overcome the methodological problems of earlier studies of leadership and performance, are presented in support of this argument.

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