Executive search and selection with mediation: The role of executive search firms in executive succession
The dissertation focuses on the determinants of executives' career moves between different employers. It explores the individual- and organization-level factors that increase executives' attractiveness for a hiring organization, and make executives more open to new opportunities in other organizations. The dissertation also explores how the presence of a mediator (retained executive search firms) impacts executive career moves and the predictors of executive career success. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the literature on executive career mobility and executive search firms. Chapter 2 presents a qualitative analysis of work processes in an executive search firm. It explores the most critical aspects that distinguish between excellent and failed searches and demonstrates that the executive search process shows great differences not only across the sample of retained executive search firms, but across individual search consultants as well. Chapter 3 examines the career moves of executives between two different organizations and compares two sets of predictors of executive career success: human capital attributes and the characteristics of executives' employing organizations. The reputation of executives' employing organization has a significant signaling power for other employers and strongly impacts the success of executives' between-organization moves. The characteristics of the organization that executives transition to also powerfully influence executive career success. Executives use their employment spell at reputable, large-sized, public organizations as a conscious career-building mechanism and are willing to forgo a promotion premium to join such organizations. Chapter 4 tests the effect of organization-level determinants of executive movement on two groups of executives: executives who expressed a willingness to move to another organization and "loyal" executives who chose not to be considered for a job opportunity when they were contacted by the executive search firm. Executives are less motivated to leave organizations that have a reputation for operational excellence, good labor market reputation and sound financial performance. Their willingness to stay with an organization, however, is not influenced by the size of their employer or by its dominance in an industry.
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