Modeling the managerial promotion process

James A. Breaugh (College of Business Administration, University of Missouri‐St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 3 May 2011



The purpose of this paper is to introduce and test a model of the managerial promotion process.


Utilizing longitudinal data from multiple sources (i.e. employees, their immediate supervisors, their personnel files, and task forces charged with succession planning), the study reported examined a model of the promotion process involving district managers being considered for advancement to the position of regional manager in a large organization.


Results support a model in which a district manager's past performance, current job tenure, and prior job tenure predict the manager's promotability rating which, in turn, predicts whether or not the manager is promoted.

Research limitations/implications

Given that data were used for actual employment decisions by an organization, reliance on single‐item measures was necessary.

Practical implications

Several issues that employers should be evaluating (e.g. adverse impact, whether promotability ratings are valid predictors of performance in the next higher level job) are discussed.

Social implications

Given that women and older employees face hurdles in advancing in organizations, a better understanding of the promotion process may shed light on how to remove impediments.


Although the process by which organizations make employee promotion decisions is an important one, it has received relatively little attention from researchers.



Breaugh, J. (2011), "Modeling the managerial promotion process", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 264-277.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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