Leader succession and organizational performance: Integrating the common-sense, ritual scapegoating, and vicious-circle succession theories

W. Glenn Rowe, Albert A. Cannella, Debra Rankin, Doug Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our study examines the impact of leader succession on organizational performance. We use organizational learning theory and the concept of time compression diseconomies to frame our conceptual arguments. Previous sports-related studies have concluded that between-season succession (ritual scapegoating theory) does not impact team performance, and within-season succession (vicious-circle theory) tends to worsen team performance. We confirm these conclusions. We also argue that it takes time for a new team leader to "take charge", and the taking charge process requires that the team and new leader experience regular-season play together in addition to off-season practice to improve performance in the subsequent season (common-sense theory). Evidence from a 60-year data set from the National Hockey League provides support for our hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-219
Number of pages23
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005

Keywords

  • Common-sense theory
  • Leader succession
  • Ritual scapegoating theory
  • Vicious-circle theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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