On 16th December, Professor Zhang Xiao, the chief expert of National Social Science Fund and doctoral tutor of Nanjing University, was invited to give a speech about “Executive Autonomy and Corporate Performance"at Schumpeter Forum. He gave teachers and students of our school a wondeful report. The symposium was hosted by Professor Gu Jianping, the director of Department of Business Administration, all faculties and graduate students attended the symposium.
Professor Zhang Xiao is the chief expert of the National Social Science Fund, the expert of the National Natural Science Foundation and is selected as the "333 High-Level Personnel Training Project" in Jiangsu.He studied at Harvard University, Rice University and Chinese University of Hong Kong as a visiting scholar, and now he is a member of the Expert Base of Enterprise Internationalization in Jiangsu and the executive editor of Business Review of Nanjing University.He has published 7 papers in the international and domestic first-class journals and published a total of more than and 60 papers. In addition, Professor Zhang Xiao has led a major project of the National Social Science Fund, 2 projects of the National Natural Science Fund, 1 project of Humanities and Social Science Research of Ministry of Education, 1 project of Chinese Postdoctoral Research Fund and 1 project of Social Science Fund in Jiangsu province. He also serves as the anonymous reviewer of many domestic and foreign first-class journals, such as Human Resource Management and Nankai Business Review. Moreover, he has got a lot of province-and ministry-level awards.
At the beginning of the symposium, Professor Zhang put forward the background of the theme of the symposium. He pointed out that most people would consider the contribution, theory and logic of the study when they did their research, but he advocated the phenomenon should be a starting point to start our research, as once there was a problem, then the research background and assumptions would follow. Professor Zhang pointed out the serious problem existing in the enterprises of our country, that was, the imbalance of power allocation between the board of directors and the senior management team.To solve this problem, Professor Zhang listed the existing studies and theories based on different perspectives and arguments, and pointed out that the "Principal-Agent Theory" and "Stakeholder Theory" considered the impact of managerial power on the performance of enterprises from the angle of enterprise internal cost, and the "Upper Echelons Teory" illustrated the impact of managerial power on the performance of enterprises from the angle of enterprise external market environment. Based on existing theories, Professor Zhang put forward his views: each group was in a dynamic and turbulent environment, enterprise executives had a better understanding of the external market, and thus were better able to respond to changes in the external market environment.So the autonomy of top management team indirectly affected the performance of enterprises through strategic flexibility.
In terms of the moderating variable , Professor Zhang advised the students to choose a moderating variable with higher degree of matching with the master model, at the same time determine the heterogeneity of top management team as a moderating variable. The main effect of this study all belonged to the enterprise executives level.When considering the moderating effect of TMT heterogeneity, Professor Zhang divided it into four dimensions: age heterogeneity, gender heterogeneity, tenure heterogeneity and functional heterogeneity. Among them, the differences in the function of the enterprise would bring a variety of knowledge and innovation, so the heterogeneity of the function would have a positive effect on the autonomy of the executive team in the strategic flexibility stage. However, differences in age, gender and executive tenure would bring conflict, enterprises’ goals in the implementation stage were to avoid conflict. Therefore, age, gender and tenure heterogeneity had a negative effect in the enterprise implementation stage.Professor Zhang further pointed out that many existing problems of the enterprise were not the strategic choices , but the problems of execution. He recommended 2 books, "Detail Decides Success or Failure" and “Execution” , to the students ,which both emphasized the importance of execution. At last, in the measurement of variables, Professor Zhang reminded the students to use the mature measurement index, because many variables were measured through repeated verification, so they were authoritative .
Professor Zhang Xiao's report was humorous, vivid and wonderful. He gave some suggestions for teachers and students to write papers, and teachers and students benefited a lot. In the warm applause, the academic symposium successfully completed.