Over a span of two years, researchers at the Center for Creative Leadership conducted in-depth interviews with 325 senior executives who had personally taken part in choosing someone for a top-level position. The findings, reported here, illuminate (1) how executive selection takes place in modern organizations, (2) what factors determine whether organizations look inside or outside for candidates, and (3) how selected executives are defined as successful or unsuccessful.

The Authors

Valerie I. Sessa is a former research scientist at CCL in Greensboro, North Carolina. She worked primarily in the areas of executive selection and transitions, improving team effectiveness, and the impact of technology on leadership. Sessa was part of a team that created the Peak Selection Simulation, which emulates the decision-making styles of those who choose candidates for executive positions. She holds a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from New York University.

Robert Kaiser is an innovation associate with Kaplan DeVries Inc., where he conducts both client-focused and basic research in the areas of personality functioning and development, leadership assessment for development and psychometric evaluation of measurements instruments. He is also an adjunct research at CCL in Greensboro, providing data-analysis assistance for various research projects. Kaiser has an M.S. degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Illinois State University.

Jodi K. Taylor is president of Summit Leadership Solutions, a consulting firm dedicated to creating organizational excellence through focusing on leadership as the key link between strategy and performance. She holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Richard J. Campbell was former research scientist and head of executive selection research at CCL. He was the creative mind behind all of the work in executive selection.

Published: April 1998
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