Molecular structural firm adaptations to environments: empirical Tao of the CEO

Check-Teck Foo, Peter Mckiernan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate CEOs as leaders in manufacturing organizations. The focus is on the roles of CEOs in organizational adaptations to changing and continuously evolving external environments.
    Design/methodology/approach – The paper is grounded on a conceptual theory of molecular structuring inside organizations. The authors then investigate CEOs’ leadership roles. For this purpose a long established Singapore perceptual database of corporate productivity practices is utilized. Two contrasting samples (N ¼ 65) of high and low adaptability manufacturing firms are obtained. Statistical technique of Pearson product correlation yields intriguing, contrasting patterns of findings. On the basis of these results, we then discuss the roles of CEOs in highly adaptive versus lowly adaptive manufacturing firms.
    Findings – The results are seen through the lenses of molecular structuring of organizations suggest a sharp contrast in the nature of the roles of CEOs. In organizations that are highly adaptive, there is much closer interactions. In the lowly adaptive, CEOs seem uninvolved, staying aloof from core operations of their firms.
    Research limitations/implications – Since, the contrasting samples are from within the manufacturing sector, these insights are particularly relevant to China as a global manufacturing centre.
    Originality/value – This is the first paper of its kind to empirically validate the prescriptions of Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage and author of the 2,500 years old Tao Te Ching.
    Keywords Chief executives, Leadership, Organizational change, Manufacturing industries, China
    Paper type Research paper
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6-24
    Number of pages19
    JournalChinese Management Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • chief executives
    • leadership
    • organizational change
    • manufacturing industries
    • China


    Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular structural firm adaptations to environments: empirical Tao of the CEO'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this