Culture and Career Advancement in Europe: Promoting Team Players vs. Fast Trackers


European Management Journal

February 2001, vol. 19, n°1, pp.44-57

Departments: Management & Human Resources, Marketing, GREGHEC (CNRS)

This paper reports the results of a study of the cultural influences on career systems and job promotion. The authors report the conclusions reached during the first phase of a large European study on managerial decision-making. Nearly 300 managers participated in this phase, which surveyed 25 firms from the financial sectors of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Models built upon Sonnenfeld and Peiperl's career typology and on Derr and Evans et al. cultural career maps are examined. The results of this study indicate that nationality is a good determinant of the choice of internal or external promotion systems. It also finds that individual self-interest remains an important factor in managerial decision-making. The authors conclude that human resource programs designed to standardise career management policy across Europe may fail because of intentional and unintentional barriers.