The Ecology of Organizational Demography: Managerial Tenure Distributions and Organizational Competition

The Ecology of Organizational Demography: Managerial Tenure Distributions and Organizational Competition

Industrial and Corporate Change.
1999, Vol. 8, Issue 4, Pages 713-744

This paper argues that turnover processes in top management teams create inter-organizational interdependencies. I argue that managerial capabilities are shaped by their experiences in a given competitive context; differences in managerial tenure therefore lead to differences in managerial capabilities. A comparison of the tenure distribution of a top management team with those of its competitors therefore captures the extent to which a firm relies on managerial capabilities similar to those of its competitors. Overlap in managerial capabilities will lead to greater competition for resources, since managers shape a firm's pattern of resource utilization. I hypothesize that organizational growth rates will decline to the extent that competitors are crowded around a firm's location in the tenure distribution. Analyses of growth in viewership among commercial television stations support this claim.