Leadership Succession and Performance: An Application to College Football

in Journal of Sport Management

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Stephanie DohrnDePaul University

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Yvette P. LopezDePaul University

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Gilles ReinhardtDePaul University

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This article examines the impact of leader succession on organizational performance. We argue that both time and size of program are critical factors that need to be considered to appropriately determine the impacts of the leader succession on performance. We focus our analysis on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and examine the effect of performance-related coaching firings on on-field performance (win-loss percentage, Sagarin rating, Sagarin rank) and financial performance (team revenue). We cluster teams into three categories based on revenue and analyze team performance following leader succession after the first, second, and fourth year following the change. While most studies in this area report findings consistent with vicious cycle theory or ritual scapegoating, our findings offer primary support for common sense theory and ritual scapegoating, contingent on time and the size of the program as determined by team revenue.

Stephanie Dohrn, Yvette P. Lopez, and Gilles Reinhardt are with the Department of Management, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois. Address author correspondence to Gilles Reinhardt at greinhar@depaul.edu.

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