How do female CEOs influence the internationalization rhythm of Chinese companies?

FANG Hong1 WANG Yimin2

(1.College of Economics & Management, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao, China 266590)
(2.School of Management, Shandong University, Jinan, China 250100)

【Abstract】Gender issue is the frontier research field of strategic management. Facing the deep and complex changes produced by the internationalization situation, it becomes a common choice to have females as the CEO of the company. As the decision-makers and leaders of internationalization strategies, how will female CEOs shape the internationalization dynamic process of Chinese companies? The previous studies have not conducted in-depth discussions on the cognitive logic and influence boundaries behind internationalization strategies. Based on the cognitive perspective of managers, this paper took the important feature of internationalization dynamic process—internationalization rhythm as the breakthrough point, and chose the dynamic panel data of A-share listed companies from 2008 to 2018 in Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges to construct female CEOs’ explanation model to the internationalization rhythm of Chinese companies. Further, it examined the boundary effect of CEO genders on the internationalization rhythm from the perspectives of individual cognition and social cognition. The study has the following findings. Firstly, female CEOs have more comprehensive focus and more objective causal logic, and have relatively low perception of internationalization opportunities. So compared with male CEOs, female CEOs prefer regular and stable internationalization expansion. Secondly, with the improvement of CEOs’ educational level, the overconfidence of male CEOs is significantly reduced and the rational thinking is increased, which can build up relatively objective causal logic. Whereas, the educational level can enhance female CEOs’ self-confidence in their ability and decision-making behavior and adjust the focus of decision-making, and the gender difference in international decision-making will be reduced. Thirdly, female CEOs who pursue social role matching will pay more attention to team identity, and take into account the opinions of each member, thus increasing the degree of distraction and the degree of decision-making prudence. With the increase in the strength of TMT task-oriented faultline, female CEOs’ preference for regular and stable internationalization expansion model will be further enhanced. The main contributions of this paper are as follows. Firstly, it brings the focus deep into the internationalization dynamic process, and builds a more context-dependent theoretical model of the internationalization strategic behaviors of Chinese companies based on the characteristics of internationalization expansion rhythm of Chinese companies, to promote the deepening and integration of internationalization process theories. Secondly, based on the bounded rationality hypothesis, it returns to managers’ cognition itself and pays attention to the cognitive characteristics of decision-makers, such as focus of attention, causal logic, and social cognition, to deeply reveal the micro-cognition basis behind the leap-style internationalization process of Chinese companies and to respond to the call of micro-cognition movement in the strategic management field. Thirdly, it introduces the variables of CEO individual cognitive ability and TMT team structure to analyze the internal mechanism of CEOs’ decision logic and its effective interaction with TMT. This helps to deepen the understanding of the specific influencing mechanism of the internationalization rhythm of Chinese companies. Fourthly, under the situation of anti-globalization and trade protectionism sweeping the world, it has some practical guiding significance in optimizing the company governance structure and improving internationalization decision-making and other aspects.

【Keywords】 female CEOs; internationalization rhythm; education level; TMT faultline; dynamic panel data;


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CN: 31-1063/F

Vol 43, No. 01, Pages 73-91

January 2021


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