Business, College of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Interdepartmental Area of Business (Management), Under the Supervision of Professor Lester A. Digman. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Benjamin Blackford


This research examines the impact of a CEO’s statements of aggressiveness on his or her organization’s competitive moves and subsequent performance. Hypotheses were developed based on previous work in Upper Echelon Theory and competitive dynamics. Based on this prior literature, it was hypothesized aggressive statements by CEOs will be associated with more aggressive organizations. It was also hypothesized these more aggressive organizations would display better performance than less aggressive organizations. A content analysis of letters to shareholders and trade publications was performed. This data was analyzed using multiple regression in SPSS 17 to test the hypotheses that aggressive statements by CEOs are associated with aggressive organizations and higher performance. Aggression scores for the content analysis were generated using the software package DICTION. The sample for the study was the organizations with the most revenue in two industries, automobile manufacturing and retailing. Data collection covered a five-year time span from 2003-2007, with performance data lagged one year. Control variables employed included CEO tenure, CEO background, organization size, and organization age. The findings indicate that CEO statements of aggressiveness do not significantly impact the competitive aggressiveness or the performance of their organizations. The implications of these findings are discussed and potential avenues for future research in the area are outlined.