When the going gets tough, the tough are let go? The effects of political ideology on leader tenure in organisations

Teng Zhang, Andrew T. Soderberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Drawing on moral foundations theory (MFT), this paper aims to examine the relationship between community-level political ideology, organisational performance and leader tenure by proposing and testing an “ideology-authority hypothesis” wherein political ideology moderates the relationship between organisational performance decline and leader tenure in organisations. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used archival data pertaining to the performance of teams from the National Basketball Association (NBA), the tenure of the head coaches and the voting record of the communities in which the teams are located. The authors used hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) to test the relationships among these variables at multiple levels. Findings: The results provided empirical support for the “ideology-authority hypothesis”. Specifically, the magnitude of team winning percentage decrease from the previous season is positively associated with the tenure of the head coach in teams located in more conservative communities but not in teams located in more liberal communities. Originality/value: This study examines leadership stability and change by highlighting the moral foundation of authority/subversion. The findings also illustrate the importance of a community-level variable – the general political climate of the community in which an organisation is embedded – in organisational decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1653-1668
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 31 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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