Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Source of Publication

Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Finance, Economics, Management and IT Business

Publication Date



Digitalization as a business enabler has speeded and scaled innovation in many firms. As the corporate leader, the CEO is there to set the stage for a learning process that facilitates strategic agility and enhances network effects to create value. This study uses innovation efficiency as the proxy of digitalization to examine the contribution of the CEO networks to firm-level innovation efficiency in Chinese listed firms. We apply a frontier analysis approach (e.g., DEA and SFA) and measure innovation efficiency based on the scale ratio of innovation output (i.e., patent counts) and input (R&D investment and R&D personnel). First, we find that innovation is more efficient when CEO has more outside directorships by considering 13,516 firm-year observations in Chinese listed high-tech firms between 2007 and 2017. Second, a significant and positive relationship exists between a well-connected CEO and innovation efficiency when the newly appointed CEO has larger networks than the predec essor. Third, it is found out that the positive correlation between a well-connected CEO and innovation efficiency will become non-significant when the number of outside directorships is above the yearly median level. This empirical study provides evidence for the network effects of a CEO for improving innovation efficiency. The findings emphasize the contingent value of the CEO's external social capital on agility, especially the multiple directorships in a transitional economy.


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Social Capital, CEO Networks, CEO Transition, Agile Leadership, Digitalization, Innovation Efficiency

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Hybrid: This publication is openly available in a subscription-based journal/series

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