Previous brain imaging work suggests that stroke alters the effective connectivity (the influence neural regions exert upon each other) of motor execution networks. The present study examines the intrinsic effective connectivity of top-down motor control in stroke survivors (n = 13) relative to healthy participants (n = 12). Stroke survivors exhibited significant deficits in motor function, as assessed by the Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) of resting-state fMRI data to investigate the relationship between motor deficits and the intrinsic effective connectivity between brain regions involved in motor control and motor execution. An exploratory adaptation of SEM determined the optimal model of motor execution effective connectivity in healthy participants, and confirmatory SEM assessed stroke survivors' fit to that model. We observed alterations in spontaneous resting-state effective connectivity from fronto-parietal guidance systems to the motor network in stroke survivors. More specifically, diminished connectivity was found in connections from the superior parietal cortex to primary motor cortex and supplementary motor cortex. Furthermore, the paths demonstrated large individual variance in stroke survivors but less variance in healthy participants. These findings suggest that characterizing the deficits in resting-state connectivity of top-down processes in stroke survivors may help optimize cognitive and physical rehabilitation therapies by individually targeting specific neural pathway. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.