IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ordering Top Pay: Interpreting the Signals


  • Stephen J. Perkins
  • Chris Hendry


abstract Boardroom reward continues to attract controversy, despite the structural changes in corporate governance arrangements over the past decade. This study responds to Pettigrew's (1992) call to eschew over‐ambitious attempts to demonstrate causality in the area of executive management and firm performance, in favour of redressing the overwhelmingly prescriptive bias in the literature. A simple but important task is to ‘begin to provide some basic descriptive findings about boards and their directors’, and open up ‘the black box of board behaviour’– in this case, that of board remuneration committees. Interpretations of comparative market signals play a part in deliberations between the leading actors responsible for determining executive directors’ salary, bonuses and other emoluments. But the position is more deeply textured than the reified influence of (global) market forces sometimes implied in the normative literature. The study reported, based on qualitative interviews, taps in to the nuances of decision taking in respect of boardroom reward management, including remuneration committee members’ reactions to corporate governance reforms. Such initiatives locate non‐executive directors in the role of intermediaries in the principal‐agent relationship, explicitly assigned to resolve the conflict of interest inherent in boardroom remuneration systems, while simultaneously they are expected to play a team role as board members responsible for the overall strategy and operation of the company. The study is indicative: an attempt to open up research questions around the context and process of boardroom reward management that earlier analyses may have ignored or overlooked.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen J. Perkins & Chris Hendry, 2005. "Ordering Top Pay: Interpreting the Signals," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(7), pages 1443-1468, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:42:y:2005:i:7:p:1443-1468
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2005.00550.x

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. von der Fehr, N.-H. & Harbord,D., 1998. "Competition in Electricity Spot Markets. Economic Theory and International Experience," Memorandum 05/1998, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    2. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse & Walker, David I, 2001. "Executive Compensation in America: Optimal Contracting or Extraction of Rents," CEPR Discussion Papers 3112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Stiles, Philip & Taylor, Bernard, 2002. "Boards at Work: How Directors View their Roles and Responsibilities," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199258161.
    4. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Fried, Jesse M. & Walker, David I., 2001. "Executive Compensation in America: Optimal Contracting or Extraction of Rents?," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1x24r7st, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Donald D. Bergh & Brian L. Connelly & David J. Ketchen Jr & Lu M. Shannon, 2014. "Signalling Theory and Equilibrium in Strategic Management Research: An Assessment and a Research Agenda," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(8), pages 1334-1360, December.
    2. Jörn Block & Lars Hornuf & Alexandra Moritz, 2018. "Which updates during an equity crowdfunding campaign increase crowd participation?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 3-27, January.
    3. Otten, J.A. & Heugens, P.P.M.A.R., 2007. "Extending the Managerial Power Theory of Executive Pay: A Cross National Test," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2007-090-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    4. Dae-il Nam & Haemin Dennis Park & Jonathan D. Arthurs, 2014. "Looking Attractive until You Sell: Earnings Management, Lockup Expiration, and Venture Capitalists," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(8), pages 1286-1310, December.
    5. Chang, Joshua & Travaglione, Antonio & O’Neill, Grant, 2015. "How can gender signal employee qualities in retailing?," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 24-30.
    6. Cowden, Birton J. & Young, Susan L., 2020. "The copycat conundrum: The double-edged sword of crowdfunding," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 541-551.
    7. Ian Gregory-Smith & Brian G. M. Main, 2016. "Testing the Participation Constraint in the Executive Labour Market," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 63(4), pages 399-426, September.
    8. Shuk Ying Ho & Arun Rai, 2017. "Continued Voluntary Participation Intention in Firm-Participating Open Source Software Projects," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 28(3), pages 603-625, September.
    9. Ming Jia & Zhe Zhang, 2018. "The Role of Corporate Donations in Chinese Political Markets," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 153(2), pages 519-545, December.
    10. Norbert Steigenberger & Hendrik Wilhelm, 2018. "Extending Signaling Theory to Rhetorical Signals: Evidence from Crowdfunding," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(3), pages 529-546, June.
    11. Hristos Doucouliagos & Janto Haman & Saeed Askary, 2007. "Directors' Remuneration and Performance in Australian Banking," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(6), pages 1363-1383, November.
    12. Vismara, Silvio, 2019. "Sustainability in equity crowdfunding," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 98-106.
    13. Tong Che & Zeyu Peng & Zhongsheng Hua, 2016. "Characteristics of online group-buying website and consumers intention to revisit: the moderating effects of visit channels," Electronic Commerce Research, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 171-188, June.
    14. Hoenen, Sebastian & Kolympiris, Christos & Schoenmakers, Wilfred & Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas, 2014. "The diminishing signaling value of patents between early rounds of venture capital financing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 956-989.
    15. Petitjean, Mikael, 2018. "What explains the success of reward-based crowdfunding campaigns as they unfold? Evidence from the French crowdfunding platform KissKissBankBank," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 9-14.
    16. Endenich, Christoph & Trapp, Rouven, 2018. "Signaling effects of scholarly profiles – The editorial teams of North American accounting association journals," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 4-23.
    17. Naeun L. Kim & Gwia Kim & Lori Rothenberg, 2020. "Is Honesty the Best Policy? Examining the Role of Price and Production Transparency in Fashion Marketing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(17), pages 1-18, August.
    18. Baixauli-Soler, J. Samuel & Sanchez-Marin, Gregorio, 2011. "Organizational governance and TMT pay level adjustment," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(8), pages 862-870, August.
    19. Posthuma, Richard A. & Flores, Gabriela L. & Barlow, Matthew A. & Dworkin, James B., 2018. "Social signaling and interorganizational relationships: Lessons learned from the professional sports industry," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 521-531.
    20. Block, Joern H. & De Vries, Geertjan & Schumann, Jan H. & Sandner, Philipp, 2014. "Trademarks and venture capital valuation," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 525-542.
    21. Brian G. M. Main & Calvin Jackson & John Pymm & Vicky Wright, 2008. "The Remuneration Committee and Strategic Human Resource Management," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 225-238, May.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:42:y:2005:i:7:p:1443-1468. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.