Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Anthony J. Nyberg


This dissertation comprises two studies that theoretically and empirically examine a critical human capital resource, the top management team (TMT). In the first chapter, I propose a conceptual model that focuses on the context in which TMTs are embedded, by building on recent theory suggesting that the TMT is embedded within a multiteam system, referred to as a strategic leadership system. Specifically, I suggest that functional leadership teams – decision making groups responsible for managing firm functions and business units (e.g. finance; human resources) – are likely to be a part of the strategic leadership system, and develop theory regarding previously unexplored interactions between the TMT, the board, and functional leadership teams. In doing so, I highlight the critical role of functional TMT members – executives with responsibility for firm functions – and challenge how existing multiteam systems theories apply to strategic leadership systems. In the second chapter, I conduct an empirical study examining the role Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs), who are critical, but often overlooked, members of the TMT. I integrate the concept of core team members and hypothesize regarding the impact of CHROs on TMT interpersonal dynamics. Using primary survey data from CHROs of large publicly traded companies, combined with publicly available archival data, I show that CHROs who spend more time in core TMT roles positively impact TMT cohesion and TMT climate for inclusion. Additionally, I find some evidence that the relationships are enhanced when CHROs have more HR specific human capital.


© 2022, Spenser Michael Essman