Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Marcia Dickerson


This dissertation examines attitudes of individuals related to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) compensation within the context of interactions between organizational variables (level of employee pay, firm performance, and corporate social responsibility) and individual-level variables (equity sensitivity, race similarity to CEO, and respondent's pay). Vignettes (see Appendix A) were created in which respondents will have an opportunity to express their opinions on the distributive justice of CEO pay. The CEOs presented in the vignettes represented non-specific companies and had the same level of high total compensation. The respondents provided opinions of CEO pay and information about their own pay on a paper-and-pencil survey.

I used correlation analysis, t-tests, and moderated hierarchical regression to investigate whether or not the assumed organizational and individual variables actually interacted to predict perceptions of distributive justice of CEO pay. This dissertation used three measures of attitudes: perceived distributive justice of CEO pay, perceived prestige of organization, and likelihood of buying a product from the organization.

Results indicated that when the CEO's pay was perceived as fair, that respondents felt that the reputation of the firm was more positive. Additionally, if the pay of the employees in the vignettes was perceived by the respondents to be low, then the CEO pay was seen as less fair. However, respondent perceptions of the level of firm performance and of corporate social responsibility in the vignette (high versus low) were not related to perceptions of the distributive justice of CEO pay.

Interactions between respondents' equity sensitivity and the three organization-level variables in the vignette were tested to determine if they related to distributive justice of CEO pay; however, only one interaction was supported. Further, respondents' demographic similarity to the CEO did not interact with organization-level variables to predict distributive justice of CEO pay.