Scholarly article on topic 'Bundling Career Capital with Intertwined Governance Structure: Career Construction of Pioneering CEOs in Turkey'

Bundling Career Capital with Intertwined Governance Structure: Career Construction of Pioneering CEOs in Turkey Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Nihat Erdogmus

Abstract The aim of the study is to explore career construction of pioneering CEOs in Turkey. A qualitative research methodology was used in order to understand CEOs’ career progression. Data was collected from career stories about pioneering CEOs of big and well-known companies in Turkey. It was found that career construction of pioneering CEOs was shaped by bundling career capital with intertwined governance structure. Managing relations with chairman and board members are critical success factors in CEOs’ careers. CEOs are more successful in the cases in which there was a dominant chairman of the business group and CEOs accommodated the management style and business expectations of the chairman.

Academic research paper on topic "Bundling Career Capital with Intertwined Governance Structure: Career Construction of Pioneering CEOs in Turkey"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 229 (2016) 407 - 416

5th International Conference on Leadership, Technology, Innovation and Business

Management

Bundling career capital with intertwined governance structure: Career construction of pioneering CEOs in Turkey

Nihat Erdogmus

Yildiz Technical University, Department of Business Administration, istanbul, Turkey

Abstract

The aim of the study is to explore career construction of pioneering CEOs in Turkey. A qualitative research methodology was used in order to understand CEOs' career progression. Data was collected from career stories about pioneering CEOs of big and well-known companies in Turkey. It was found that career construction of pioneering CEOs was shaped by bundling career capital with intertwined governance structure. Managing relations with chairman and board members are critical success factors in CEOs' careers. CEOs are more successful in the cases in which there was a dominant chairman of the business group and CEOs accommodated the management style and business expectations of the chairman.

Key Words: Pioneering CEOs in Turkey, Career Capital, CEO Career Construction

CrownCopyright©2016PublishedbyElsevierLtd. Thisisanopenaccessarticleunder theCCBY-NC-NDlicense (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the International Conference on Leadership, Technology, Innovation and Business Management

1. Introduction

Managerial elites such as Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director occupy important roles in organizations (Pettigrew, 1992). As a sub group of managerial elites the chief executive officers (CEOs) are one of the key decision-makers in organizations and they have a significant effect on the overall performance of the organizations. Studies on CEOs started in late 1980s and notably among them are becoming CEO in England (Cox & Cooper, 1989), CEO tenure (Hambrick & Fukutomi, 1991), CEO celebrity (Hayward, et al., 2004; Wade et al., 2006), construction of CEO charisma (Fanelli & Grasselli, 2006), CEO-board relationship (Shen, 2003), professionalization of CEO (Keiser, 2004), what makes a CEO (Bertrant, 2009), functional backgrounds of CEOs (Ocasio & Kim, 1999; Koyuncu et al., 2010), CEO rhetoric for CSR (Marais, 2012).

Literature about becoming CEO mostly stems from managerial elites literature, especially upper echelons theory. The theory focuses on observable managerial attributes such as education, socioeconomic roots, age, tenure and functional background (Hambrick & Mason, 1984). Notably among background studies are family background and postsecondary education (Useem & Karabel,

Corresponding author.

E-mail address: nihaterdogmus@sehir.edu.tr

1877-0428 Crown Copyright © 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the International Conference on Leadership, Technology, Innovation and Business Management doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.07.151

1986); business, associational, educational and kinship networks (Useem, 1980); and school origins (Finkelstein & Hambrick, 1996). In a study it was found that there are national differences in backgrounds of managers. German top managers have technical backgrounds and they were members of owning families. French managers with engineering backgrounds had important state and family connections as starting point. British managers with strong financial backgrounds were independent from state or family (Mayer & Whittington, 1999). There were very little changes in national differences over the last two decades. The sources of continuity in national differences were explained by regarding the patterns of corporate ownership, the role of the state and power of family capitalism (Mayer & Whittington, 1999). In comparison to German, French and British managers, the profile of top managers in Swiss companies were more international in terms of citizenship, educational background and work experience abroad (Davoine & Ravosi, 2013).

There are few studies on the backgrounds of top managers in Turkey (Yamak, 2006; Usdiken & Oktem, 2008). Studies on the top managers in Turkey examined the changing institutional environment and its impact on top management (Usdiken, 1992; Yamak, 2006; Yamak & Usdiken, 2006), education of managerial elites (Yamak, 1998), board characteristics and composition of firms within family business groups (Usdiken & Oktem, 2008; Selekler-Gok§en & Oktem, 2009), the position of general manager in family business (Yamak & Oktem, 2008), the impact of ownership structure on duality (Yamak et al., 2006) and the new elites in Turkey (Yamak, et al., 2012). The studies mentioned here were conducted in emerging economy or late-industrializing country context with a structural/institutional perspective. The scarcity of the studies on top management, especially CEOs, shows the need to investigate the further studies in Turkish context. CEOs, as a sub group of managerial elites, have not been studied in terms of career progression. Regarding this need this study is a first one focusing on CEO career construction and can be stated as a significant contribution to the field.

"The CEO" is a new and popular phenomenon in Turkish Business life. CEO title was used at the beginning of 2000s in Turkish business groups. Before that "General Coordinator" was used to define head of executives in business groups. It seems similar to CEO but it was not a well defined position and title. Recently the CEOs of big and reputed companies or groups published books, and gave interview on TV and business magazines about their work life. Later the title of CEO is used widely without regarding the scale of the organization, the requirements of the position and career paths of CEOs. In this regard emergence of a new top position and career progression towards CEO position in Turkey seem an interesting phenomenon to study. CEOs, as powerful agents, bring their preferences and resources to their job and execute the role under governance structure. Careers also give access to resources, organizational facilities and social connections that together constitute a strong learning environment (Warde, 2011). Since careers are influenced by personal factors as well as many contextual factors (Sullivan & Baruch, 2009), it can be argued that CEO careers in Turkish management context can be better understood with the perspective of interplay between agent and structure. Conceptually the combination of career capital and governance structure theories helps to understand and explain the CEO phenomenon. For exploring CEO careers in Turkey to combine career capital of CEOs and corporate governance structure is the second contribution of the study.

The aim of the study is to explore career progression of pioneering CEOs in Turkey. The focus of the research can be stated as exploring how pioneering CEOs bundled career capital with intertwined governance structure in their career construction. The paper is structured in three main parts. Firstly the paper examines a brief overview of the literature on the career capital and governance structure. Secondly, methodology of the study with cases and their analysis are presented. Thirdly findings of study are given and discussed.

1. Literature Review

The conceptual background of the main research questions is elaborated in the subsequent sections. For explaining career construction of CEOs, career capital and governance structures seem to be convenient. Therefore career capital and governance structure literature is presented as background.

1.1. Career Capital

Career capital can be defined as the collection of an individual's all personal qualities, knowledge, skills work experiences, achievements, and relations. It takes a variety of forms and is acquired in diverse ways at different career stages (Lamb & Sutherland, 2010). Career capital theory suggests that people invest in their careers through three ''ways of knowing" or career competencies (Parker, et al., 2009). Knowing-why reflects an individual's motivation and identity, knowing-how indicates skills and expertise and knowing-whom shows relationships and reputation (De Fillippi & Arthur, 1994). In order to acquire career competencies individuals try to identify their own drives and motivations, gain portable capabilities, develop social networks, and apply these capitals in their work (Inkson & Arthur 2001).

Investments in knowing-why competencies are response to the question "Why do you work?" Answer to the question is the reflection of an individual's self-concept, dispositions, interests and values (De Fillippi & Arthur, 1994). Knowing-how capabilities are response to the question ''How do you work?" Knowing-how career competencies are skills, expertise, and work-related knowledge (Inkson & Arthur 2001). Knowing-whom investments are response to the question ''With whom do you work?" This includes relationships in the organization, attachments to professional associations and contacts with individual in social environment (Arthur, et al., 1995). Through these relationships and contacts individuals have channels for exchanging information as well as they build personal reputation.

As individuals progress along their careers they "can divest from their former backgrounds by observing role models, experimenting with provisional selves and evaluating external feedback" (Ibarra, 2003). Individuals also draw upon their economic, social, and cultural capital resources in order to compete for status that is called as symbolic capital by Bourdieo (1986). This provides social advantage in society by opening the doors to better education, occupations, and social networks (Holt, 1998).

1.2. Intertwined Governance Structure in Business Groups

According to resource-based view "entrepreneurs and firms create business groups if political-economic conditions allow them to acquire and maintain the capability of combining foreign and domestic resources to repeatedly enter new industries" (Guillen, 2000). In emerging economy or late-industrializing country context business groups are operating under somewhat unified entrepreneurial guidance in diverse industries and they have not integrated organizational structure. The examples of these business groups are The Turkish family holdings, The Korean chaebols, the Indian business houses and the Latin American and Spanish grupos (Guillen, 2000). Turkish business groups or holdings are usually founded by a single family or a small number of allied families (Bugra, 1994).

In order to understand the context of CEOs' career progression in Turkish business groups/holdings, ownership structure and board formation are important factors to take into account. Therefore in this section the ownership structure and board formation of Turkish business groups were portrayed. Demirag & Serter (2003, p. 41-42) describe ownership structure of Turkish business groups/holding as the following way: "The typical Turkish holding company incorporates both a complicated web of intercorporate shareholdings and pyramidal structures. Families hold the majority control of a holding company, which in turn has shareholdings in several other companies, giving rise to a pyramidal structure. There are also cases where, under the holding company, the companies hierarchically own shares of each other, i.e. cross shareholdings". Demirag & Serter (2003) continued that the separation of ownership from control is mainly achieved through pyramidal or complex ownership structures. In a pyramidal group the same entrepreneur controls many companies through a chain of control relations (Yurtoglu, 2000; Orbay & Yurtoglu, 2006). While families hold the majority control of a holding company, at the same time they have shareholdings in several other companies in the pyramidal structure (Demirag and Serter, 2003). Family controlled ownership and unrelated diversification coexisted through legally separate firms, and central coordination and control in family business groups (Oktem & Usdiken, 2010). It should also be noted here that most of the business groups in Turkey have established or acquired a bank in later stages of their growth. Nearly all private banks were under the control of a business group and serves as the main bank of the group (Demirag & Serter,

2003). In this regard, banks have a special feature and an important role in Turkish business groups. Banks also deserve special interest in terms of CEO careers. Banking was one of the first industries employed the pioneering CEOs who are the subject of the study.

Board formation depended more on institutional pressures and the influence of external powerful parties than the needs of group firms. Socio-political factors were more influential in the way boards were formed (Yildinm & Usdiken, 2007. Boards are usually composed of either members of the controlling family or executive managers in the group or group firms. Independent directors are almost non-existent. Most of the dependent outsiders are either consultants or retired managers. They mainly came from public sector (Usdiken & Oktem, 2008). Ownership structure and board formation are two factors that influence CEO career success. Since chairman and CEO position is splitted in Turkey, professional manager has not enough power in CEO duality structure (Yamak ve Oktem, 2008). Managing relations with chairman and board members affected career success of the CEOs. In the study, it is aimed to find answers to the following questions.

1. What are the backgrounds and career capitals of CEOs?

2. How do CEOs bundle career capital with intertwined governance structure?

3. How do CEOs succeed in their career progress in intertwined governance structure?

2. Methodology

In this study qualitative research methodology was preferred and case study approach was used to explore cases of CEO careers. It was believed that qualitative methodology is suitable for understanding the complexity of CEO careers, organizational context and the interplay between them. The purpose of the case study approach is not to predict and seek universal explanations based on cause and effect relationships (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Yin, 2003). In this study the main sources of the material to be investigated are four books about pioneering CEOs of big and well-known companies in Turkey. Supplementary archival sources such as TV programs, newspapers and business magazines were also used. Especially TV interviews like "CEO Club" and "Success Stories" that were about 40 minutes and were very valuable sources. The sources were used to gain a full appreciation of CEOs careers. We examine four cases in detail and the cases can be regarded as exemplars, rather than representing the population. Books were written in the years around 2010s, nearly ten years later after their retirement from CEO position. Three out of four books were written by the CEOs themselves as autobiography style and one book was a biography. The books are;

1. "CEO Kantarci" (CEO Kantarci) by Hazim Kantarci, was the former CEO of Sabanci Holding.

2. "Keep Going When I'm Gone" (Benden Sonra Devam) by Akin Ongor was the former CEO of

Garanti Bank.

3. "That is Yapi Kredi, the Difference was There" (Orasi Yapi Kredi, Fark Oradaydi) by Burhan Karagam was the former CEO of Yapi Kredi Bank.

4. "A Can Paker Book: Do Not Look Back" (Bir Can Paker Kitabi: Geriye Bakmak Yok) by Can Paker is the former CEO of Turk Henkel.

Coding was developed to explore components of each way of knowing and the factors influencing CEO careers. Coding frame was:

• Social background

S family S education

• Career capital (ways of knowing)

S motivation and identity (knowing-why) S work experiences, skills and expertise (knowing-how) S social networks, relationships and reputation (knowing-whom)

• Governance structure

S ownership structure S board formation

The cases that data and findings were gathered represent pioneering examples of the CEOs. Gathered materials were regarded as raw data. A series of extended readings about four CEOs were conducted. These data were then comparatively analysed to check for patterns and themes of explanation. Similarities and differences in the experience of each CEO were identified. Data were analysed and categorised on the basis of the coding frame. We especially wanted to distinguish between information relative to career capital and information relative to governance structure. We provide quotes from texts to illustrate our points.

3. Findings

Findings are grouped under two headings: background and career capital of CEOs, and career construction of CEOs by bundling career capital with intertwined governance structure.

3.1. Background and Career Capital of CEOs

In this section the data from each case study are outlined under family and education background, career capital, and work history of CEOs.

Family and Education Background

In Table 1 data about family and education backgrounds of CEOs were presented.

Table 1: Family and Education Back ground of CEOs

HAZIM KANTARCI BURHAN KARACAM AKIN ONGOR CAN PAKER

Date of Birth 1945 1949 1945 1942

Date of Place Kayseri Istanbul Ankara Eski§ehir

Father's Occupation Brick Trader Doctor Doctor Wood Trader (Graduated Law Faculty)

Mother's Occupation Housewife Housewife (graduated St. Joseph High School) Mathematics Teacher Chemist

Primary School Kayseri Istanbul Ankara Eski§ehir

Secondary School Talas American College Tarsus American College Ankara TED College Istanbul High School

High School Tarsus American College Robert College Ankara TED College Robert College

University METU (ODTU) Business Adm. Bosphorus (Bogaziji) Business Adm. METU (ODTU) Business Adm. -Berlin Technical Mechanical Eng. -Freie Un. Sociology

Graduate Study Columbia, MBA Yildiz Teknik, Phd.

Table 1 shows that Turkish CEOs have a highly prestigious and privileged family and education background. If we look at the years of mid 1940's, they were born in big cities, and jobs of family members were higher than average citizens. These show us that social and economic capitals of CEOs' families were high. CEOs were also identified with their schools. They emphasized the contribution of schools to acquire some values and principles. Kantarci defined Talas American College as "It shaped my character". Can Paker mentioned that he learned individualism during high school years. Education backgrounds Of CEOs reflects that they were members of an elite social class. The family environment and schools they graduated provided a rich human and social capital at the beginning of their career. It seems that the human and social capital they had contributed them to be aware of themselves and opportunities around them. It can be concluded that the CEOs had elitist backgrounds that helped them to be members of the corporate elites. These findings support the argument that social, human, cultural and economic capitals have important influences on a business executive's chances of entrance into the

corporate elite (Useem & Karabel, 1986). Family and education background influenced the chances to be a Chief Executive Officer. This finding supports the idea that types of degrees may provide extra advantages in an executive's career (Gottesman & Morey, 2006).

In addition to findings mentioned above the role of mothers was critical, especially secondary and high school preference. Karagam stated his mothers role as: "We are not aware of it but determine our vision. My mother planned all my future". Lastly, Ongor and Karagam referred the contribution of playing basketball to their career as development of teamwork, creativity and motivation.

Work experinces of CEOs

In Table 2 data about work experiences of CEOs were presented.

Table 2 Work History of CEOs

JOB TITLE INDUSTRY COMPANY GROUP Years

HAZIM KANTARCI Specialist in Project Management Textile BOSSA SABANCI HOLDING 1970-1972

Planning Manager Textile SANTRAL MENSUCAT 1972-1974

Deputy General Manager Cord fabric KORDSA SABANCI 1974-1980

General Manager Tire LISA SABANCI 1980-1985

General Manager Tire LASSA SABANCI 1985-1988

General Manager and SABANCI

Member of the Board in

BRISSA Tire BRISSA 1988-1996

General Manager and Automotive Group SABANCI

Chairman in SABANCI HOLDING &

HOLDING Automotive TOYOTOSA TOYOTA 1996-2000

Chief Executive Officer SABANCI HOLDING SABANCI 2000-2003

BURHAN ARTHUR ANDERSEN

KARAÇAM Consultancy (London office) 1972-1975

ARTHUR ANDERSEN

Founding Partner Consultancy (Istanbul office) 1975-1979

ARTHUR ANDERSEN

Consultancy (London office) 1979-1981

Deputy General Manager Banking PAMUKBANK ÇUKUROVA 1981-1983

General Manager Banking EGEBANK 1983-1987

General Manager (CEO) Banking YAPI KREDI ÇUKUROVA 1987-1999

AKIN ONGOR Marketing Expert Diesel Motor HATZ (England)

Electric TURK GENERAL

Marketing Manager Motor ELEKTRIC

Marketing Manager Agriculture Equipment CUKUROVA Z1RAAT

Credit Manager Banking PAMUKBANK ÇUKUROVA 1981-1983

Deputy General Manager Banking PAMUKBANK ÇUKUROVA 1983-1987

Deputy General Manager Banking GARANT1 DOGUÇ 1987-1991

General Manager (CEO) Banking GARANT1 DOGUÇ 1991-2000

CAN PAKER Research Assistant University YILDIZ TEKNlK 1969-1971

Chemical

Chief of the Workshop Products TURK1YE HENKEL 1971-1972

Chemical

Factory Manager Products TURK1YE HENKEL 1972-1984

Chemical

General Manager (CEO) Products TURK1YE HENKEL 1984-2004

Tablo 2 show that CEOs have career paths in big and reputed companies belong to business groups or holdings. It seems that they have taken important responsibilities at younger ages. Paker was factory manager at age of 30, Karaçam was General Manager at age of 34, and Kantarci was General Manager at

age of 35. When Karagam was the General Manager of the biggest bank in Turkey, Yapi Kredi, he was at age of 38. Since upward mobility in organizations is considered as the criterion for career success, CEOs can be regarded as successful in their careers. As a result getting faster promotion and higher salary earnings of CEOs are objective signs of their career success.

3.2. Bundling career capital with intertwined governance structure

As CEOs progress along their careers they divested from their family and education background. The background provided opportunity for accumulating career capital and increased the chances of entrance into the corporate elites. With strong career capital they were promoted to CEO position and started execution. Tablo 3 indicates challenges and success factors for CEOs.

Table 3 - CEO Success Factors

HAZIM KANTARCI BURHAN KARAÇAM AKIN ONGOR CAN PAKER

Main focus in the position -Customer orientation -Total Quality Man. -Joint ventures -Corporate Governance -Customer orientation -Restructuring -Change Management -Innovation in banking -Investment in HR -Corporate Communication -Corporate Culture -Differentiation -Customer orientation -Restructuring -Change Management -Innovation in banking -Investment in HR -Corporate Communication -Corporate Culture -Sustainability -Customer orientation -Strategic business unit -Job rotation - Autonomy in management -Social innovations

Critical relations -Relations with family members in board -Relation with chairman -Relation with state institutions -Relation with chairman -Relation with state institutions -Relation with World Henkel Board -Relations with workers

Critical experience -Joint ventures -Mergers and acquisitions -Crises management -Mergers and acquisitions -Crises management -Crises management

Management Philosophy -Openness -Teamwork -Participation -Motivation -Openness -Teamwork -Participation -Openness -Teamwork -Participation -Stress management -Teamwork -Human relations

Social Responsibility -Yapi Kredi Publications -Social responsibility projects -Henkel meetings -Henkel magazine -Henkel publications

Network -No information - TÜSlAD -Turkish-Greek Business Council -Alumni organizations -Sport organizations -Turkish-American Business Council - IKSV -Bogaziçi University Foundation -World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Turkey -President of CEO Club -TÜSIAD - IKSV -TESEV -Open Society -ENKA Schools Advisory Board

CEO tenure -3 years -12 years -9 years -20 years

Reason for leaving CEO Position -Difficulty to manage the differences between family members in board -Differences of opinion between the controlling shareholders and Karaçam -To apply life plan -Age (retiremet at 62 was a rule)

Tablo 3 shows that CEO tenure ranged from 3 years to 20 years. CEOs focused on corporate governance, change, restructuring, innovation and customer satisfaction. As top decision makers CEOs influenced business strategy, restructuring, change and innovation in organizations. During CEO term, CEOs experienced merger and acquisitions, joint ventures and crises management. The process of merging group companies was one of the main tensions between CEOs and chairman, and also board of members. Openness, teamwork, participation, stress management and good human relations were emphasized as management philosophy. CEOs supported art and culture events and founded publications. They were members of some alumni and business associations. Reason for leaving CEO position was different between CEOs. Reasons were difficulty of managing differences between board members, opinion difference with chairman, personal life plan and rule of retirement age.

Kantarci was successful at different managerial positions in business group companies but he could not demonstrate the same success in CEO position. Kantarci has the shortest tenure among pioneering CEOs. Kantarci's main objective was to strengthen corporate governance, reorganize group businesses and investment in businesses that have growth potential. Disagreement among family members in holding administration was one of the most important difficulty for Kantarci as it was in CEO position. Disagreement and tensions between family members have not decreased and he has left Sabanci Holding in 2003. Ongor and Karagam had more CEO tenure than Kantarci. Both of them worked in a business group in which there was a strong chairman. In Ongor case, in the board of the bank he was CEO there were managers from construction company of the group. He has to work with managers from group companies and the relations among the chairman, the bank, shareholder and customers were intertwined (Ongor, p. 134). He was aware of the advantage of working with a strong chairman in the business group, therefore he was very sensitive and careful in the relations with chairman. We can say that Karagam has also had similar conditions and used similar approach. Paker worked with Henkel family from Germany and his case was different from the three. Henkel family delegated work more and he had more autonomy during execution process. He also emphasized the importance of good relations with the family.

It seems that governance structure and context is very critical for CEO success in big groups. Since CEOs worked in business groups that have intertwined structure, corporate governance was one of the most important priorities of CEOs. Because of the intertwined context, relationship management was very critical for CEO success. Relations with chairman, board members, group companies and state institutions affected the performance of CEOs. It should be given special interest to CEO-Chairman relations, because chairman had a strong control over the business and structure. Managing these relations successfully made easy to manage relations with other actors in the group. This is especially true for business groups in which chairman has a strong and dominant role. We can find evidence for this argument from Tablo 3 by looking at the factors such as CEO tenure and reasons for leaving CEO position. We can conclude that CEOs are more successful in the cases in which there was a dominant chairman of the business group and CEOs accommodated the management style and business expectations of the chairman.

Conclusion

The aim of this study was to explore career progression of pioneering CEOs in Turkey. It was found that the CEOs had a highly prestigious and privileged family and education background. The family environment and schools they graduated provided motivation and identity, and rich human and social capital at the beginning of their career. It seems that the human and social capital they had contributed them to be aware of themselves and opportunities around them. It was explored that CEOs bundled their career capitals with intertwined governance structure in their career construction as CEO. Recognizing the intertwined governance structure and context of the companies, the role relations and behaving in accordance of them was very critical in CEO success. As a result CEOs career capital provided opportunity for accessing to resources, organizational facilities and social connections and as powerful agents they bring their preferences and resources to their job. The more critical for CEO career success is bundling their career capitals with intertwined governance structure and context. Managing relations with chairman and board members are also critical success factors in CEOs' careers. CEOs are more successful in the cases in which there was a dominant chairman of the business group and CEOs accommodated the management style and business expectations of the chairman.

This article shares the career construction of pioneering CEOs in Turkey. The aim of this article is to explore and deepen understanding of the complex nature of CEO careers by examining career progress. Therefore the four cases and the contextual environment of them do not render this study to generalise to the wider population.

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