From its inception in the late 1980s and early 1990s, founder-chief executive officer (CEO) research has garnered significant scholarly attention in the strategy and entrepreneurship disciplines, although other fields—such as economics, finance, and family business—have also generated substantial research insight on this topic. Despite this progress, a limited consensus exists on the influence of the founder CEO owing to the fragmented nature of extant research. In this review, we address this fragmentation by reviewing current literature, synthesizing the discipline-specific findings into an integrated framework, and highlighting promising directions for future founder-CEO research.
Using a cross-disciplinary review of founder-CEO research based on 221 articles from 24 academic journals, we synthesize current research and provide directions for future research. Our framework organizes current research on the founder CEO into three broad themes. First, we review and synthesize scholarly work on factors related to the founder CEO during the nascent years of the firm. In the second theme, we review research that explores the impact of the founder CEO on strategic choices and firm configurations. In the third theme, we review the performance consequences of the founder CEO.
This review advances research on the founder CEO by taking stock of insights from various disciplines, highlighting advancements made, and suggesting promising directions for future research on founder CEOs. Additionally, a critical evaluation of current methodological approaches provides opportunities for strengthening the rigor of scholarly inquiry in this area.
This review provides corporate governance scholars and policymakers with a current, multidisciplinary summary of research findings on founder CEOs and their impact on the firm across various stages of the organizational life cycle.
Abebe, MA, Li, P, Acharya, K, Daspit, JJ. The founder chief executive officer: A review of current insights and directions for future research. Corp Govern Int Rev. 2020; 28: 406– 436. https://doi.org/10.1111/corg.12348