Selecting Leaders

Executives and High-Potentials

Authored by: George C. Thornton , Stefanie K. Johnson , Allan H. Church

Handbook of Employee Selection

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138915190
eBook ISBN: 9781315690193
Adobe ISBN:


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Despite the importance of leaders at the senior-most levels of organizations, there has been relatively little research on executive selection. There is a large literature on leadership concepts (Dinh, Lord, Gardner, Meuser, Liden, & Hu, 2014) and leadership development (Day, Fleenor, Atwater, Sturm, & McKee, 2014) but surprisingly little empirical research on selecting leaders into top-level positions. Although selection in general is a major area of practice in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology, and executive selection is extremely important in any organization, recent books on assessment and selection (Geisinger et al., 2013; Scott & Reynolds, 2010) provide little or no guidance on the selection of executive leaders. A notable exception is Howard and Thomas (2010), who compare factors distinguishing assessment of lower-, mid-, and executive-level managers and describe systems for designing and implementing assessment systems. There are many reasons for the dearth of research on executive selection (e.g., small samples, proprietary concerns, organization-specific requirements), which we will address in subsequent sections.

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