Th-OR-S16-1 - Expert Leadership Vs. The Peter Principle: Probing The Validity Of Meritocratic Promotion Strategies To Fill Leader Positions

Strategic HR
Oral Presentation
Part of:
Thursday May 18   10:15 AM to 10:30 AM (15 minutes)
Lynch Theatre
Human resource management
Strategic HR
Expert Leadership vs. the Peter Principle:
Probing the Validity of Meritocratic Promotion Strategies to fill Leader Positions
J. E. Schleu 1,*, S. Krumm 2, J.-U. Wegner, J. Hüffmeier 1
1TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, 2FU Berlin, Berlin, Germany
To promote high performing employees into leadership positions is common practice and has high face validity. However, the actual validity of this meritocratic promotion strategy is unclear: Theoretical perspectives diverge in their assumptions (e.g., Callinan & Robertson, 2000; Goodall & Bäker, 2015) and empirical results are inconclusive. Given the prevalence of the strategy, this study aims to advance our understanding of this approach. Our theoretical rational—based on research on work sample tests—does not indicate that employee performance is a valid predictor of leader performance.
We tested the predictive validity of employee performance for leader performance in a pilot study (N = 65) with performance data from professional tennis sport (focusing on players who subsequently became coaches). In the main study, we analyzed (N = 263) performance data of players and coaches from the first German soccer division.
Regression analyses revealed that player performance did not significantly predict coach performance in both studies; the 95% CIs included a possible strong effect for the tennis sample, but excluded medium effects for the soccer sample, d = -0.52 to 0.43.
Reflecting our research question, our data is restricted to high performing leaders. Generalizability to other contexts than sport is unclear.
Practical Implications
Our results do not support the use of meritocratic promotion strategies to fill leader positions.
We developed a psychological perspective on meritocratic promotion strategies for leader positions, tested the validity in two samples, and opened a dialogue between managerial and psychological research.
TU Dortmund
Phd Student

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