Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)



First Advisor

Wesley Johnston

Second Advisor

Mike Gallivan

Third Advisor

David Nickell

Fourth Advisor

Minna Rollins



This research is about identifying the characteristics or success profiles of professionals working in the turnaround industry. The turnaround industry possesses a number of dynamic capabilities in processes, positions, resources and paths that are unique to its industry. The firms that compete in the turnaround industry serve their clients, the dying organizations, by using a mix of these dynamic capabilities. While these dynamic capabilities are seen as the turnaround firms’ “secrets of success,” they have over time evolved into “best practices.” This commoditization of best practices in the turnaround industry has created a need for turnaround firms to search for a competitive advantage. Specifically, this advantage is identified in the literature as the skills, knowledge, and experience of the turnaround professional. These unique characteristics of the turnaround management professional (TMP), see appendix C for a complete definitions of terms, have been accounted for in the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) certification process called the Certified Turnaround Professional, or CTP. One of the TMA’s goals is to establish professional work standards and guidelines and to regulate the industry. While a noble effort, this focus takes the “competitive advantage” away from the turnaround organization and standardizes it into the “best practices” arena via “certified” professionals leaving these organizations to compete on size and location alone. Evidence from a focus group, case research interviews, and two different surveys, suggests that there is a profound difference in the effectiveness of TMPs beyond the knowledge, skill, and experience levels identified as one of the core components of dynamic capabilities theory.

This evidence led to the investigation of psychometric profiling as a method to measure the distinct success profiles of these “highly successful” TMPs, or Most Valuable players (MVP). Measuring the thinking style (cognitive reasoning ability), work motivation, personality behaviors, and occupational interests of MVP s, has led to the discovery of a success composite. The findings of this research suggest that MVP s score higher on this composite than do other TMPs who were identified as “low performers”, or Least Valuable Players (LVP), as well as non-turnaround managers, executives, and business professionals in general. It is postulated that by using this composite score in hiring, training, and promoting turnaround professionals, a turnaround firm will obtain a competitive advantage in their industry and generate higher success for all stakeholders.

Resultantly, the researchers have uncovered a critical gap in the dynamic capability theory surrounding the construct of human capital. Evidence suggests that psychometric profiling is an acceptable and, indeed, important measure of the value of human capital.