Bottom to Top: The Career of the Chief Executive Officer
In the previous chapters we have examined the research and the issues surrounding career mobility in the early years (Chapters 2 and 3) and then in the middle and later years of the career (Chapter 4). We next explored the problems and the opportunities facing women in management today (Chapter 5). Then we turned to the studies of the early backgrounds of CEOs (Chapter 6), and the issue of how the paths to the top depend on the industry and how they change over time (Chapter 7).
What we have not yet done is to examine the entire careers of CEOs. While a good picture of top executive careers may be obtained by piecing together studies that focus on the various phases of a career, some different insights may come from research that focuses on the entire careers of the same individuals.
Industries differ in many ways that affect careers. They face different strategic contingencies, utilize different organizational structures, assign similar titles different meanings (e.g., vice president is typically a much higher position in an industrial firm than in a bank), and, as we have seen in the last chapter, vary in the opportunities provided to those in different functional areas. Therefore we chose to analyze CEO careers by industry, starting with manufacturing.
CEOs of all basic industries and manufacturing firms in Forbes' 1988 listing of corporate America's top CEOs were selected as the sample for the first part of the study. Biographical and career data were obtained