Norburn's Match of Company Directors to GOGOs, YOYOs and DODOs

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Norburn's Match of Company Directors to GOGOs, YOYOs and DODOs
Stefka Nenkova, Student (University), Netherlands

In an article Norburn (1986) tries to categorize directors of Britain’s largest companies and to find a connection with the economic performance of the industries their companies operate in:
- GOGO’s – industries in growth,
- YOYO’s – industries in turbulence, or
- DODO’s – industries in decline.
In other words, he tries to find which managerial characteristics are of great importance to a company in a different stage of its development, arguing that executive’s traits are of great importance to a firm’s performance (Norburn, 1986).

In general, 3 major aspects are connected to the topic of leadership according to behavior research:
  • TRAITS: What qualifies a “natural leader”: strong responsibility, risk-taking, originality, drive, self-confidence, ability to absorb stress, patience, and capacity to structure social interaction systems (Stogdill, 1974); need for advancement, creativity, and primacy of the workplace (Bray, Campbell and Grant, 1974); need for achievement and power (Donley and Winter, 1970), etc.
  • BEHAVIORAL STYLE: One of the most famous leadership styles categorization is that of R. Likert (1967.
  • SITUATIONAL DETERMINANTS: For example economic conditions: they could predicate both traits and leadership style
Norburn (1986) categorizes three groups of factors that can influence or shape a top executive manager:
  • ECONOMIC ENVIRON: Job-centered, ‘hygiene’ factors, international exposure.
  • DOMESTIC ENVIRON: Family influences, locational upbringing, cerebral and physical education.
  • SELF-CONCEPT: Company and occupational views, personal beliefs and habits.
Based on these factors and the industry’s performance he obtains the following results after multiple case studies:

Variable GOGOs YOYOs DODOs
1. Why change companies Challenge Challenge More money
2. Fastest route to the top Finance Marketing Finance
3. Remuneration Above average Average Below average
4. Workload increase Substantially Significantly Not significantly
5. Company tenure Short Mobile Inert
6. Patronage perception No - Yes
7. International exposure High Low Low
8. Childhood location London and international Scotland Northern England
9. Team vs. individual sports Team - Individual
10. Executive success traits Conceptual and creative Concern for people Integrity
11. First boss influence Low Low High
12. Early retirement Early Very early Later
13. Same career again Same Similar Different
14. Age Younger All ages Older
Norburn, D. (1986) “GOGOs, YOYOs AND DODOs: Company Directors and Industry Performance”, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 101-117
Stogdill, R. M. (1974) “Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research”, Free Press, New York
Bray, D. W., R. J. Campbell, and D. L. Grant. (1974) “Formative years in business: a long term AT&T study of managerial lives”, Wiley, New York
Donley, R. E. and D. G. Winter (1970) “'Measuring the motives of public officials at a distance: an exploratory study of American presidents”, Behavioral Science, 15, pp. 227-236.
Likert, R. (1967) “The human organization: Its management and value”, New York: McGraw-Hill


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