Short-term versus long-term impact of managers: evidence from the football industry

Studies into the impact of top manager change on organization performance have revealed inconsistent findings. Using longitudinal data over a 12-year period on football organizations, we test for the short-term and long-term effects of manager change in comparison to the tenures of incumbent top managers. We find that long incumbent tenures are associated with performance far above the average. But when looking at change events, contrary to theoretical expectations, we find that change in the short term leads to a brief reprieve in poor performance only for performance to deteriorate in the long term as underlying weaknesses once again take hold. Our findings reveal the illusion of a short-term reprieve and the long-term consequences of this illusion. We map several implications for research and practice from our work.