Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Jorge A. Gonzalez

Second Advisor

Dr. C. Lakshman

Third Advisor

Dr. Wanrong Hou


Business model innovation is a phenomenon that has been gaining traction since the 1990s. Recently, a global survey of more than 4,000 senior managers by the Economic Intelligence Unit found that business model innovation was overwhelmingly preferred versus new products and new services (Amit & Zott, 2012). Both executives as well as practitioners suggest that business model innovation is ideal for future competitive advantage (Amit & Zott, 2012; Foss & Saebi, 2017). Increasing competition, globalization, and rapid changes in technology have all provided the impetus for organizations to reconsider the approaches they use to manage their numerous resources and capabilities, in order to achieve and maintain their competitive advantage (Cuskelly et al., 2006). Organizations have to implement strategies to differentiate themselves from competitors so as to create value for their various stakeholders (Ridder et al., 2012). For instance, organizations, such as non-profit organizations (NPOs), are faced with increasing pressure to make efficient use of their resources (Ridder et al., 2012). The top management team in an organization is responsible for creating value in their organizations through their management of organization capabilities and resource allocation. Many scholars (Akinlade & Shalack, 2017; Brown & Yoshioka, 2003; Barkema & Shvyrkov, 2007) have suggested the importance of human resources, such as top management team knowledge, skills, and abilities for achieving organizational goals.

Although the research has received little attention (Chen et al., 2016), the implementation of an executive high-performance work system is suggested to create an ideal TMT behavior and composition. Compared to high-performance work system at the employee level, high performance work system at the executive level aims to “improve team collaboration and effectiveness among strategic decision makers and thus produce widespread effects on firm strategic and financial results” (Chen et al., 2016: 920). I show how the executive high-performance work system (Lin & Shih, 2008; Chen et al., 2016) creates a top management team that will pursue business model innovation.

My dissertation is intended to contribute to the business model innovation literature (Foss & Saebi, 2017) and the high-performance work system literature (Huselid, 1995; Posthuma et al., 2013). First, I conceptualize executive high-performance work system as an HR system to enhance the effectiveness of TMT to pursue business model innovation. Second, I investigate entrepreneurial orientation, creative climate, and strategic agility as mediators of the executive high-performance work system and business model innovation relationship. I used established scales of entrepreneurial orientation, creative climate and complemented Hock and colleagues’ (2016) strategic agility scale by including the 5 subcomponents for each component of strategic agility: strategic sensitivity, collective commitment, and resource fluidity.

To analyze the model, I collected data from a sample of dean’s office team business schools in USA listed in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) website to understand how top management teams operate within an independent business unit. I sent questionnaires to the dean’s office team using a Qualtrics survey link via email. Further details are provided in Chapter 4.

In addition to contributing to research, the dissertation contributes to managerial practice. The executive high-performance work system developed in this dissertation should create a top management team who will more likely become strategically agile in order to keep the organization at a competitive advantage. Additionally, the executive high-performance work system should develop and further enhance the skills, knowledge, and abilities of the top management team members as well as influence their decision-making and interaction-processes. Development of skills, knowledge, and abilities of top management team members is crucial in the given context with myriad of uncertainties such as receiving resource support from the Board of Trustees, balancing institutional pressures from the Board of Trustees and the local community.


Copyright 2021 Ravi Bala. All Rights Reserved.