The Origins and Careers of American Business, Government and Academic Elites

by Michael Ferrari



The U.S. greatly needs effective leaders to manage its complex organizations. Private corporations and public institutions have long been committed to identifying, developing, and sustaining administrative talent to direct the activities of business and government. More recently, concern from many quarters and for a variety of reasons has focused on the type of leadership needed to direct the activities of colleges and universities. Such concern has led to numerous debates and discussions about the appropriate background needed by those who head American colleges and universities. Quite often, the academic presidents are compared with their counterparts in business and government with respect to presumed similarities or differences in social origins and career patterns. Although there are research data on the origins and careers of business and government executives, it is apparent that there have been relatively few research investigations that carefully detail crucial aspects of the careers of academic presidents.

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