Congratulations to Dr. Rida Elias and Dr. Bassam Farah for winning 2019's prestigious Academy of Management (AOM) Management Consulting Division's Best Research Paper Award and being nominated for 2019's AOM Carolyn B. Dexter Award for their research titled "After Saying I Do For Better Or For Worse: Incoming CEOs' Encounter With Power."
In their paper, the OSB researchers conducted interviews with 37 executives of large organizations and found that although every leader succeeded a powerful predecessor, each one experienced unique transitional situations.
“Appointing the incoming CEO bestows on this executive a legitimate or positional power. However, this act does not always pave the way for the incoming CEO to have a successful acquisition of power from a dominant outgoing CEO," noted Elias.
Farah added that, “dealing with a successful and powerful CEO may be very insightful for the incoming CEO, but also may end up in a vicious battle if the outgoing CEO does not want to give away their power." The researchers learned how understanding the barriers and enablers to the process of passing power at the highest level of an organization gives company executives concrete tools to help them navigate this transition period in several key areas.
In their research, Elias and Farah recommend that the boards of directors, as the guardians of the stakeholders' interests, keep the power game between the two CEOs in check. “CEO power is different from CEO's reluctance to relinquish power. While during the CEO's reign, the board of directors may need to keep the CEO's power in check to prevent possible corruption, during the transition period, the board needs to pay special attention to the incumbent CEO's reluctance to relinquish power in order to prevent costly conflicts during the transition period between the CEOs," they concluded.