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Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation

Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation


Best Dissertation 2016

The Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation has made the award for Best Dissertation 2016 to Georg Wernicke, Assistant Professor in Management at Copenhagen Business School

'Media disapproval of CEO compensation: Determinants and consequences' is structured as three empirical essays on the antecedents and effects of media disapproval of CEO compensation in US public firms. It builds on the premise that top executives serve multiple constituencies and are evaluated along different dimensions. Executives have had to recognise some norm of fairness if they want to secure continued stakeholder engagement, especially given the strong growth of executive compensation in the US over recent decades. Firms face pressure from the media, which does not hesitate to publicly disapprove of firms that are perceived to violate societal norms, but the media’s role in corporate governance has been overlooked.

Research on corporate governance has predominantly focused on internal governance mechanisms - for example, executive compensation and boards of directors.This thesis answers the calls for further research on external governance mechanisms by studying the drivers of media disapproval of perceived CEO overcompensation, theorising about and providing empirical evidence for novel mechanisms through which the media directly impacts future CEO compensation, and investigating how such media disapproval diminishes the career prospects of outside members on the board of directors at targeted firms.