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The management of managers: A review and conceptual framework


  • Professor Peter Boxall is from the Department of Management and Employment Relations, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Dr John Gilbert is from the Department of Strategic Management and Leadership, Waikato Management School, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand.


The management of managers is an important contemporary concern, but the literature on the issue is not well integrated. This paper reviews key sources on the topic across organizational economics, human resource development and strategic human resource management. It presents a novel interdisciplinary framework for analysing how firms manage senior managers and for guiding future research, arguing that firms adopt different styles to attract–defend, develop–renew and motivate–harvest their senior managerial resource, depending on their contexts and choices that are made in the firm over time. The notion that some styles draw on early identification of élites while others treat management identification as more of an emergent problem is central to the typology. Within each of the styles identified, effectiveness in the management of managers hinges on recognizing and handling certain strategic tensions and problems.