Benchmarking CEO compensation: developing a model for different business strategies
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Porter's generic business strategies of cost leadership and differentiation were adjusted to make them applicable to CEO compensation strategies. The cost leadership strategy equates to a firm that attempts to signal that their CEO is not over paid, not reaping off much of the profits, but is compensated according to best practices. The differentiation strategy relates to a firm that believes it is important to signal that their CEO is above average and therefore should earn an above average compensation. The purpose of the study was to develop a data envelopment analysis (DEA) model with two stages. The first provides a best practice frontier to benchmark segments of CEO compensation against determiners thereof, including firm-, CEO- and governance characteristics. Firms with different strategies will then position themselves differently to the best practice frontier. Irrespective of the strategy chosen at the first stage, the second stage estimates how efficient firms are to convert the above-mentioned determiners into multiple performance measures. The contribution of the study is that employing such a model may change the philosophy of how firms look at CEO compensation, for example firms whose CEOs are at the bottom half are not necessarily below average or underpaid, but signal that their CEOs are compensated according to best practices.