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Why do leaders matter? A study of expert knowledge in a superstar setting

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Author Info

  • Goodall, Amanda H.
  • Kahn, Lawrence M.
  • Oswald, Andrew J.

Abstract

This paper provides evidence of the importance of what might be termed 'expert leaders'. Although it is widely assumed that leaders affect the performance of their organizations, the complexity of this social-science research area has meant that comparatively little empirical progress has been made. We deliberately choose a narrow focus. We examine a high-skill setting in which there are accurate data on performance. We argue that an influential role is played by a leader's expert knowledge. A strong predictor of a leader's success in year T is that person's level of technical attainment, in the underlying activity, in approximately year T-20. Our data are on US professional basketball. The paper documents a correlation between brilliance as a player and the (much later) winning percentage and playoff success of that person as a team coach. The results suggest that leaders' effects on performance are substantial and are visible in the data within the first 12 months of a coach being hired.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 77 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 265-284

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:77:y:2011:i:3:p:265-284

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Organizational performance Firms Leadership Expert knowledge Fixed-effects Productivity;

References

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Hildreth, Andrew K G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Rent-Sharing and Wages: Evidence from Company and Establishment Panels," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 318-37, April.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect Of Managers On Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208, November.
  3. Julio Rotemberg & Garth Saloner, 2000. "Visionaries, Managers, and Strategic Direction," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 693-716, Winter.
  4. Barton Hughes Hamilton, 1997. "Racial discrimination and professional basketball salaries in the 1990s," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 287-296.
  5. Emrah Arbak & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2007. "Endogenous Leadership Selection and Influence," Post-Print halshs-00142461, HAL.
  6. Lex Borghans & Angela Lee Duckworth & James J. Heckman & Bas ter Weel, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," Working Papers 200827, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  7. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864, August.
  8. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2008. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  9. Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson, 2002. "Managerial efficiency and human capital: an application to English association football," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(8), pages 471-486.
  10. Stefan Szymanski, 2000. "A Market Test for Discrimination in the English Professional Soccer Leagues," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 590-603, June.
  11. Goodall, Amanda H., 2009. "Highly cited leaders and the performance of research universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1079-1092, September.
  12. Ben Hermalin, 1996. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," Working Papers _006, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
  13. Torun Dewan & David P. Myatt, 2007. "The Qualities of Leadership:Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 24, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  14. Stephen Hall & Stefan Szymanski & Andrew S. Zimbalist, 2002. "Testing the Causality between Team Performance and Payroll: The Cases of Major League Baseball and English Soccer," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(2), pages 149-168, May.
  15. Kahn, Lawrence M & Sherer, Peter D, 1988. "Racial Differences in Professional Basketball Players' Compensation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 40-61, January.
  16. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J & Sanfey, Peter, 1996. "Wages, Profits, and Rent-Sharing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 227-51, February.
  17. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:503-520 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Bernd Frick & Robert Simmons, 2007. "The Impact of Managerial Quality on Organizational Performance: Evidence from German Soccer," Working Papers 0708, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists.
  19. Sumon Majumdar & Sharun Mukand, 2008. "The Leader as Catalyst – on Leadership and the Mechanics of Institutional Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 2337, CESifo Group Munich.
  20. Lawrence M. Kahn, 1993. "Managerial quality, team success, and individual player performance in major league baseball," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 531-547, April.
  21. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Meisner Nielsen & Francisco Pérez-González & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2007. "Inside the Family Firm: the Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 647-691, 05.
  22. Sherwin Rosen & Allen Sanderson, 2000. "Labor Markets in Professional Sports," NBER Working Papers 7573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Steven N. Kaplan & Mark M. Klebanov & Morten Sorensen, 2008. "Which CEO Characteristics and Abilities Matter?," NBER Working Papers 14195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "The Sports Business as a Labor Market Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 75-94, Summer.
  25. Hermalin, Benjamin E., 2007. "Leading for the long term," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 1-19, January.
  26. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
  27. Dawson, Peter & Dobson, Stephen & Gerrard, Bill, 2000. "Estimating Coaching Efficiency in Professional Team Sports: Evidence from English Association Football," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(4), pages 399-421, September.
  28. Francisco Pérez-González, 2006. "Inherited Control and Firm Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1559-1588, December.
  29. Chifeng Dai & Tracy R. Lewis & Giuseppe Lopomo, 2006. "Delegating management to experts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 503-520, 09.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Goodall, Amanda H., 2011. "Physician-Leaders and Hospital Performance: Is There an Association?," IZA Discussion Papers 5830, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Amanda Goodall, 2013. "Should Doctors Run Hospitals?," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(1), pages 37-40, 04.
  3. Kim, Jaesoo, 2012. "Endogenous leadership in incentive contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 256-266.
  4. Goodall, Amanda H., 2012. "A Theory of Expert Leadership," IZA Discussion Papers 6566, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Goodall, Amanda H. & Pogrebna, Ganna, 2012. "Expert Leaders in a Fast-Moving Environment," IZA Discussion Papers 6715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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