Associate Professor of Strategy
IAF 08/09; IAF 2520443; Corporate Governance; Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation;
In preparing for their IPOs, firms have incentives to enlist prestigious affiliates to signal their quality. The authors describe two theoretical mechanisms for explaining the amount and pace of prestige-enhancement that a firm engages in during the year leading up to an IPO, as well as the costs involved.The “snowball model” represents our consolidated portrayal of some well-known processes that cause those organizations that already have the most prestige to steadily accumulate even more. The “dressing-up model” is built upon a phenomenon that has not been studied in the macro-organizational context: deadline-induced remediation. Examining final-year hiring of prestigious executives and directors in a sample of 242 software IPOs, we find that the snowball model substantially explains final-year prestigious hiring. But there is also strong evidence of a tandem dressing-up process.As the final year counts down, prestige-scarce firms engage in aggressive hiring of prestigious executives and directors, and they pay a relatively higher price in doing so.