AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION OF THE PREDICTORS OF EXECUTIVE CAREER SUCCESS

Authors


  • The majority of the work on this paper was completed while the first, second, and fourth authors were at Cornell University. The authors thank Sharon Voros of Paul Ray Berndtson for assistance with this study. The authors also appreciate the helpful comments of three anonymous reviewers on earlier drafts of this paper. The Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, Cornell University, provided funding for this study.

and requests for reprints should be addressed to Timothy A. Judge, Department of Management and Organizations, College of Business Administration, University of Iowa, Iowa City IA 52242-1000.

Abstract

This study examined the degree to which demographic, human capital, motivational, organizational, and industrylregion variables predicted executive career success. Career success was assumed to comprise objective (pay, ascendancy) and subjective (job satisfaction, career satisfaction) elements. Results obtained from a sample of 1,388 U.S. executives suggested that demographic, human capital, motivational, and organizational variables explained significant variance in objective career success and in career satisfaction. Particularly interesting were findings that educational level, quality, prestige, and degree type all predicted financial success. In contrast, only the motivational and organizational variables explained significant amounts of variance in job satisfaction. These findings suggest that the variables that lead to objective career success often are quite different from those that lead to subjectively defined success.

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