A study of succession‐planning practice in 12 large UK employing organisations, selected for their considerable experience of producing and using succession plans, is summarised. Succession planning is taken to cover the identification of successors for posts and of posts for people (career planning). The major purpose is to show how organisations have recognised the inherent difficulties of succession planning and adapted it to be of practical value. The trends noted include: changes in scope and objectives, changes in the planning process itself and changes in information support. The pay‐offs and spin‐offs are summarised. Future issues are raised, particularly decentralisation, pressures to adapt fast tracks and succession planning in self‐development cultures.
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