Strengthening corporate leadership research: The relevance of biological explanations



The large body of literature on corporate leadership is diverse in many dimensions, but the studies in this area typically share an underlying (if implicit) belief that social forces are the primary driver of cognition and behavior. While acknowledging the relevance of these social factors, I suggest that there is the potential to substantially advance our understanding of executive behavior by considering a very different perspective; namely, one that is rooted in biological rather than social explanations. Building on recent research in evolutionary psychology, the three papers in this dissertation examine how biological signals of fighting ability that appear in the face and voice affect executive behavior, selection, and compensation. This work contributes to the corporate leadership literature by introducing a unique perspective that complements existing approaches to studying the drivers of corporate leader perceptions and behavior.