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Key criteria in twenty‐first century management promotional decisions

Clinton O. Longenecker (College of Business Administration, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Laurence S. Fink (College of Business Administration, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 9 May 2008




This paper aims to determine the key criteria used by managers in rapidly changing organizations to make promotion decisions.


A survey was conducted of 311 managers from over 100 different US service and manufacturing enterprises experiencing rapid organizational change. Managers were asked to identify no more than five factors that were most critical in their organization to actually getting promoted. Results were content analyzed.


Top ten factors influencing promotion decisions included: getting desired results/strong performance track record; possessing strong business networks; interpersonal/communication skills; strong knowledge‐experience base; demonstrating a strong work ethic; ability to build teams and being a team player; personality, attitude, and ego factors; solving a major problem or getting a “big hit;” demonstrating character, integrity, and trustworthiness; and, preparation and being in the right place at the right time.

Research limitations/implications

Results indicate what organizations are currently using to make decisions but it does not provide a normative guide for what organizations should be using. Also, further research should attempt to differentiate dimensions used at each level of management.

Practical implications

The results provide a useful guide for managers who are looking for a leg up in the competitive fight for promotions. Results also suggest criteria to be considered when organizations update management assessment tools to better reflect the demands on managers working in the new global business environment.


The study focuses on promotions in rapidly changing organizations and uses a sample that is very familiar with how organizations actually make promotion decisions.



Longenecker, C.O. and Fink, L.S. (2008), "Key criteria in twenty‐first century management promotional decisions", Career Development International, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 241-251.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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