Research Seminar Series: Prof Sun Hyun Park

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Speaker: Prof Sun Hyun Park, Graduate School of Business, Seoul National University
Title: Do Bad Times Cultivate Courage? CEO Downcycle Imprinting and Counter-cyclical Strategies
Date: Thu, 22nd Jun 2023 
Time: 12pm – 2pm
Venue: Allan Barton Forum, Level 2, CBE Building 26C

Dr EY Song is the host of this visit



Where does a management style come from? We propose a more dynamic process model of managerial career imprinting by reconciling the prior imprinting perspectives with individual experiences, learning, and development of cognitive frameworks in a fast-changing business environment. A CEO’s career imprinting in a cyclical industry and the implementation of counter-cyclical investment strategy are proposed as an empirical study context. We theorize that CEOs who began their career in downcycle periods are imprinted with a unique management style specific to the industry downcycle. Thus, downcycle-imprinted CEOs are more likely to implement counter-cyclical strategies when they encounter another industry downcycles over their career. This imprinting effect is strengthened by individual accumulation of contrarian experience, i.e. positive performance outcomes following the previous countercyclical strategies, and development of cognitive framework valuing the industry downturn as an opportunity for long-term investment. We tested our argument by examining corporate investment decisions in the semiconductor industry between 2001 and 2020 and the CEOs’ entire career history since 1977. Our idea about CEO downcycle imprinting highlights the importance of strategic leadership in cyclical industries and the cognitive aspects of managerial capabilities to cope with the changes in a volatile business environment. 

Keywords: career imprinting, cognitive framework, managerial capabilities, cyclical industries, counter-cyclical strategies



Sun Hyun Park is Professor of Strategy and International Management at the College of Business, Seoul National University. He received his Ph.D. in Corporate Strategy from Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. Prior to joining SNU, he served as Assistant Professor of Management and Organization at Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California.

Professor Park’s research focuses on how corporate managers cope with a firm’s external environment, which includes technological, institutional, and competitive dynamics. His research has been published in the leading journals of the field - Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. He teaches topics in corporate strategy, corporate governance, and research methods both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Professor Park is a recipient of the Academy of Management Best Paper Award (OMT, 2010) and the Strategy Research Foundation Dissertation Scholar award (2011) from the Strategic Management Society. He also served as a global representative for the Organization and Management Theory division of the Academy of Management (2017-2019) and a board member of the International Corporate Governance Society. He currently serves on the editorial review board for Strategic Management Journal (Associate Editor, 2022-2025) and Administrative Science Quarterly (ERB, 2022-2024).

Event Details

Start Date
End Date
Allan Barton Forum, Level 2, CBE Building 26C