Modified assessment center approach facilitates organizational change

Michael S. Lehman (Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Jerry R. Hudson Jr (Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA)
George W. Appley (Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA)
Edward J. Sheehan Jr (Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA)
Dennis P. Slevin (Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Publication date: 20 September 2011



As companies grow and evolve, they inevitably face an influx of new personnel and changing responsibilities of existing staff members, often resulting in an increasingly complex organizational design. During periods of rapid organic growth, new layers of management and labor may be created as a reactionary, rather than a planned activity. This often results in redundancy of responsibility and confusing communication channels within the company, ultimately impacting financial performance. The purpose of this paper is to describe a case study of significant organizational change that was accomplished using assessment center philosophy, combined with web‐based technology.


Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), a research and development professional services organization that rapidly grew its workforce to over 1,400 was faced with these challenges, resulting in direct labor billings losses. Upon strategically designing a new organizational structure, CTC was faced with making critically important staffing changes. A modified assessment center approach using web‐based technology was employed to rapidly select the best candidates for these new positions.


It is the authors' contention in this paper and practice in the implementation of this organizational realignment that practicing managers who have extensive experience with middle managers can effectively evaluate them on assessment center dimensions without observing them in assessment center simulations. These enlightened assessments leveraged web‐based technology, while avoiding the costly and time‐intensive simulation and exercise phases of the traditional assessment center.


Based on the authors' experience with CTC, combining this modified assessment center approach (evaluating managers on competencies without using simulations and exercises) with web‐based technology can provide organizations with a powerful tool for implementing fast and effective organizational change. This new and original approach can support executives in evaluating managerial talent and realigning organizational structure.



Lehman, M., Hudson, J., Appley, G., Sheehan, E. and Slevin, D. (2011), "Modified assessment center approach facilitates organizational change", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 30 No. 9, pp. 893-913.

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