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



Counter-cyclical strategies to exploit investment opportunities amid industry downcycles are important to achieve competitive advantage in highly cyclical industries. However, little research attention has been paid to the qualities of CEOs who establish and implement such counter-cyclical strategies. Drawing from the literature on career imprinting, we propose a CEO’s career history as one of the CEO characteristics that leads CEOs to implement counter-cyclical strategies. We propose that downcycle-imprinted CEOs (i.e., CEOs who started their industry career during industry downturns) are imprinted with downcycle-specific cognitive capabilities and interpretive frames, which make them more capable of sensing and seizing investment opportunities that emerge amid industry downcycles. We tested our argument by examining CEO career history and their corporate investment decisions in the semiconductor industry between 2001 and 2020. We found that downcycle-imprinted CEOs engaged in more counter-cyclical investments in terms of capital expenditures (CAPEX) during downcycles. Moreover, CAPEX executed by downcycle-imprinted CEOs yielded higher post-downcycle performance. Our idea about CEO downcycle imprinting highlights the importance of strategic leadership in cyclical industries and as an extension, contributes to the emerging streams of studies on the micro-foundations of dynamic capabilities to cope with the changes in business environment.

Keywords: Cyclical industries, Counter-cyclical strategies, Career imprinting, Micro-foundations of dynamic capabilities



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