Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings includes abstracts of all papers and symposia presented at the annual conference, plus 6-page abridged versions of the “Best Papers” accepted for inclusion in the program (approximately 10%). Papers published in the Proceedings are abridged because presenting papers at their full length could preclude subsequent journal publication. Please contact the author(s) directly for the full papers.

Specializing Generalists: Job Rotations, Managerial Learning, and Promotions

    Published Online:

    We examine the effect of cross-functional lateral transfers on managers’ advancement within an organization. We suggest that job rotations influence managerial development and as a result career progression through two distinct elements – functional diversity and skills specialization. While cognitive complexity and adaptability require diverse experience and could be learned through dealing with novel situations, many other managerial skills, such as people management or negotiation skills take time to develop and therefore need a certain level of concentration on performing similar tasks. Job rotations create opportunities for the former but may undermine the development of the latter. We test our hypothesis using personnel data from the Russian branch of a large multinational pharmaceutical company. We find that in general managers with experience in multiple functions achieve higher grades in the organizational hierarchy than those whose experience is concentrated in one function. However, functional diversity seems to create career benefits only when an individual has achieved a middle management level and has the opposite effect earlier in career. We also find that those managers who specialized in performing certain types of managerial activities throughout their career have improved chances to achieve senior organizational levels. The findings have implications for research on managerial development, as well as literature on labor mobility and career studies."

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