OSIM Seminar Event Highlights Qualitative Research into CEO Succession Planning


Faculty and doctoral students in the Organizations, Strategy and International Management (OSIM) Area in the Naveen Jindal School of Management were treated to a rare look inside the corporate world’s methods of CEO succession planning in a recent talk that was part of OSIM’s research seminar series.

Anthony J. Nyberg

Dr. Anthony J. Nyberg, associate professor and Moore Research Fellow in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, presented his research to 35 attendees Feb. 23 in a talk titled “Searching for Process in CEO Succession.”

Sheen Levine

Nyberg’s topic marked the first qualitative research presented in the seminar series. Now managed by Dr. Sheen Levine, an OSIM assistant professor, the series is being sponsored by Jindal School Dean Hasan Pirkul. That, Levine said, allows him to bring in prominent scholars from around the country and the world.

Nyberg’s research included interviews with 22 members of various boards of directors, representing more than 100 Fortune 500 companies among them. This access inside the boardroom allowed him to collect a depth of information that traditional quantitative research such as questionnaires cannot produce. Despite his breadth of work focused on compensation and turnover research, this was his first qualitative approach, he said.

“Unlike most of my research, this started with a very practical question — how do companies plan for CEO succession? — which was new to me. We didn’t know the answer and conducting the research in this way was a blast,” Nyberg said.

Seung-Hyun Lee

Exposure to qualitative methodology is important for the OSIM faculty and PhD students whose focus is more quantitative in nature, according to Dr. Seung-Hyun Lee, OSIM Area's coordinator.

“To do top-notch research, having different perspectives is always helpful,” Lee said. “By getting exposed to a different kind of research method such as qualitative research, it gives a new and fresh perspective that stimulates scholars in JSOM — faculty and doctoral students alike — to think differently.”

Riki Takeuchi

In addition to the differing research approach, Nyberg spoke to doctoral students in a separate session about his role as an associate editor for the Academy of Management Journal (AMJ), the flagship journal for the field, and offered advice for submitting and publishing articles. His main presentation included research advice to the students as well: “Really immerse yourself in the conversation of your topic.”

Nyberg took over the associate editor role in AMJ from Dr. Riki Takeuchi, an OSIM professor who joined JSOM last August as the inaugural Jindal School of Management Advisory Council Distinguished Professor. Takeuchi, a seminar guest lecturer in November 2016, reached out to Nyberg to participate in the series.

“[Nyberg] has very versatile topics,” Takeuchi said. “It’s difficult to produce in different areas, but he has a little bit of everything.”

“A university’s role is to disseminate knowledge which we do through the classroom, but our university is also a place where knowledge is created,” Levine said. “And to do that, we need to bring our colleagues from other universities to campus to learn firsthand of their research and where we can contribute.”

Caryn Berardi

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