David Zhu, Arizona State University

The Happiness Advantage: How CEO Job Satisfaction Influences Ambidexterity
David Zhu, Arizona State University


Winter 2020
Lecture Time: 
Friday, February 7, 2020 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 


Building on psychological theories on job satisfaction and research on top executives and ambidextrous organizations, we explain why CEO job satisfaction positively influences a firm’s ambidexterity. We further suggest that the positive effect of CEO job satisfaction on ambidexterity is strengthened by the CEO’s need for achievement, an innovative culture, and environmental dynamism. Using a large-scale survey data conducted onsite from hundreds of entrepreneurial firms in China, we find strong support for our theoretical predictions. Additional analysis reveals positive effects of CEO job satisfaction on innovation, strategic change, and firm performance. This study calls for more attention to the wellbeing of top executives and identifies top executives’ job satisfaction as a key aspect of strategic leadership that influences ambidexterity and a wide range of other major organizational outcomes.

Recording & Additional Notes

David H. Zhu obtained his PhD degree in strategy from the University of Michigan and is currently a tenured Associate Professor in Management and Dean’s Council Distinguished Scholar at the W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. His research builds on social and psychological theories to examine how top executives make major decisions about corporate governance, corporate strategy, and innovation. He also studies the structure of corporate elite networks and resource exchange networks. His work has been published on AMJ, ASQ, OrgSci, and SMJ and has received international awards from AOM and SMS. He currently serves on the editorial boards of AMJ, AMR, ASQ, and SMJ. David is a passionate business educator and has coached many top executives in China.