Fred Luthans and his associates asked: Do managers who move up most quickly in an organization do the same activities and with the same emphasis as managers who do the best job?


Luthans and his associates studied more than 450 managers.

They found that managers engage in four managerial activities.

Traditional management—Decision making, planning, and controlling

Communication—Exchanging routine information and processing paperwork

Human resource management—Motivating, disciplining, managing conflict, staffing, and training

Networking—Socializing, politicking, and interacting with outsiders

The “average” manager:

32% traditional management activities

29% communicating

20% in human resource management activities

19% networking

Successful managers

Networking made the largest relative contribution to success.

Human resource management activities made the least relative contribution.

Effective managers

Communication made the largest relative contribution.

Networking the least

Successful managers don’t give the same emphasis to each of those activities as do effective managers.

Their emphases are almost the opposite.

This finding challenges the historical assumption that promotions are based on performance, vividly illustrating the importance that social and political skills play in getting ahead in organizations.

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