Elements of Executive Promotion

by Reed Powell



No other decisions are more important to the welfare and future growth of the corporation than those affecting the selection of the firm's executive officers. This feeling within industrial organizations is further emphasized by the growing use of executive search agencies, the large amounts of time and money spent upon finding and developing executives, the practice of "pirating," and the degree to which the companies' chief executive officers personally concern themselves with this aspect of their jobs. The search of both individual executives and corporations for answers as to what types of men to place in top-level executive positions has led to an intense national interest in the elements of executive promotion. It was this same interest which has led the author to three years of research on the executive promotion process. The subject is difficult to investigate, first, because of the sensitive nature of the data and the resistance of people to requests that they candidly expose their real thoughts and feelings. Second, the promotion process involves a wide variety of interrelated elements both inside and outside the plant and, although the executives live amidst the interplay of these forces, they do not understand them fully.

California Management Review

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