Cheap talk? Strategy presentations as a form of chief executive officer impression management

Richard Whittington, Basak Yakis-Douglas, Kwangwon Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Research summary: We develop and test a set of hypotheses on investors' reactions to a specific form of impression management, public presentations of overall strategy by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Contrary to expectations from a “cheap talk” perspective, we suggest that such strategy presentations convey valuable information to investors, especially in conditions of heightened information asymmetry associated with varying types of new CEOs. Broad empirical support for our theoretical arguments is shown in a sample of strategy presentations carried out by NYSE and NASDAQ listed organizations over 10 years. Our research contributes to literature on new CEOs and impression management. We draw out implications both for management and for further research. Managerial summary: We examine the impact of public presentations on company strategy by Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) on company stock prices. Adjusting for market movements in general, on average stock prices rose by 1.6 percent following these strategy presentations. Strategy presentations received larger reactions the more the CEO was unfamiliar to investors. Thus, stock price gains for new CEOs in general were 5.3 percent; for external, within-industry new CEOs, they were 9.3 percent; and for external, outside-of-industry new CEOs, they were 12.4 percent. Given that only 40 percent of new CEOs present on strategy in their first 200 days post-appointment, we suggest that new CEOs pay more attention to this potential means of communicating, especially if they are unfamiliar to investors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2413-2424
Number of pages12
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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