This study is based on a cross-industry sample of top executives in the United States. At the beginning of 2011 an email invitation to participate in an online-survey was sent to 6,000 key informants. These respondents worked for firms that were randomly selected from a database of a commercial provider. After one week a reminder email was sent out to increase the response rate. In total, 3,568 respondents received this invitation. The remaining emails were either undeliverable (e.g., blocked and returned by spam software or wrong email addresses) or the respondents were inaccessible (e.g., had left the firm or were out of office). Although additional reminder emails might have further increased the number of respondents, I refrained from employing this means to not unnecessarily bother the top executives. Instead, I offered different incentives, comprising an executive summary of the survey, a donation of 3 dollars to a charity organization for each respondent and the opportunity to win a tablet computer, to increase the response rate. Overall, the two waves of survey administration resulted in 409 agreements to participate, representing a response rate of 11.46 percent. According to prior literature, this response rate is typical for top executive surveys, which usually indicate response rates between 10 and 12 percent. However, of these 409 responses I discarded 207 because of missing or inaccurate information and respondents that did not fulfill the key informant criteria. In essence, the final sample comprises 202 top executive respondents, corresponding to a response rate of 49.39 percent based on 409 agreements to participate.


Partial Little Square Strategic Management Operation Management Manufacturing Firm Service Firm 


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Copyright information

© Gabler Verlag | Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Kortmann
    • 1
  1. 1.MünsterGermany

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