May Bad Luck Be Without You: The Effect of CEO Luck on Strategic Risk-taking

Abstract

We investigate how luck, namely, changes in a firm's performance beyond the CEO's control, affects strategic risk-taking. Fusing upper echelons theory with insights from psychology and behavioral strategy research, we hypothesize that there is a positive association between luck and strategic risk-taking and that this effect is stronger for bad luck than for good luck. We further argue that these effects vary depending on whether CEOs have experienced negative events earlier in their professional careers. Measuring luck as the exogenous component of recent firm performance, we show empirically that CEOs react to bad luck by adopting more conservative risk-taking policies while showing no reactions to good luck. This effect predictably varies with the strength of bad luck signals, and it is stronger for CEOs who have experienced negative events during their professional careers. We contribute to the literature by providing the first evidence on the role of luck in corporate strategic risk-taking

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    Last time updated on 18/08/2022