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The Stickiness of Stigma: Examining the Temporal Nature of Director Stigma

Skylar J Rolf, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation addresses the following research questions: (1) Does stigma change over time for individual, outside directors of a firm that engages in a stigmatizing event? and, (2) If so, what are the individual and contextual factors that impact this change? To investigate these questions, I draw on institutional theory, signaling theory, and human and social capital arguments to present a multi-theoretical framework that considers how a stigmatizing event can have differing effects on an individual’s attractiveness in the director labor market. As such, the purpose of this dissertation is to investigate how long stigma lasts for directors who served at a firm during a financial restatement event announcement. Furthermore, I examine how the characteristics and backgrounds of each director accelerates or dampens the speed at which the director’s career recovers from being associated with a financial restatement. To do so, I employ a sample of 541 outside directors of public firms that announced a financial restatement in 2004 or 2005, and I track each of these individuals’ board memberships for 10 years following the restatement announcement. After accounting for directors that passed away during the sampling frame, the sample includes 5,285 director-year observations. To test the hypotheses, I employ the Cox Proportional Hazards duration analysis, Logistic Regression analysis, and Accelerated Failure Time analysis. This dissertation makes several important contributions. First, I examine director stigma from a temporal descriptive perspective and present and test a new, dynamic model of stigma deterioration for directors associated with a stigmatizing event using institutional theory, signaling theory, and human and social capital arguments, which contrasts with prior conceptualizations that view stigma as a static or permanent construct. Second, I examine the labor market effects of a restatement announcement event for directors over a ten-year period following the announcement. Finally, I engage in exploratory research regarding what factors might change the impact of a director’s likelihood of joining a new board over time. In doing so, I provide a more nuanced perspective of the effects of a firm’s stigmatizing event on corporate elites over time.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Rolf, Skylar J, "The Stickiness of Stigma: Examining the Temporal Nature of Director Stigma" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10748809.