CEO stock options and gender from the behavioral agency model perspective: Implications for risk and performance

Luis Gomez-Mejia, J. Samuel Baixauli-Soler, Maria Belda-Ruiz, Gregorio Sanchez-Marin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an extension of the behavioral agency model (BAM) by focusing on the moderating role of CEO gender on the relationship between CEO stock options and risk “systematic vs idiosyncratic” and the performance consequences “positive vs negative” of these option incentives. Design/methodology/approach: Data on CEO’s stock option portfolios are collected from the Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) ExecuComp. This paper uses a panel data analysis for matched samples of CEOs in S&P’s 1,500 listed firms over the period 2006-2013. Findings: The results indicate a more conservative, risk-averse posture in the case of female CEOs than for male CEOs when they are compensated with stock options for idiosyncratic (firm-specific) risk. The results also confirm that female CEOs in low systematic risk contexts, although more conservative, take more prudent risks that produce better long-term outcomes as compared to their male counterparts. Practical implications: Important implications for the design of optimal CEO’s compensation packages emanate from this study. Findings provide useful tools for board of directors to design CEO’s pay packages that take into account the different risk behavior of male and female CEOs with the aim of enhancing firm performance. Originality/value: This paper provides new evidence within the area of stock option-based compensation by focusing on the distinction between systematic and idiosyncratic risk when the effect of CEO stock option is analyzed and performance implications of awarding options to male and female CEOs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-88
Number of pages21
JournalManagement Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 8 2019


  • Behavioural agency model
  • Gender
  • Idiosyncratic risk
  • Performance
  • Stock options
  • Systematic risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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