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Journal cover: Industrial and Commercial Training

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Online from: 1969

Subject Area: Learning and Development

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How chief executives learn and what behaviour factors distinguish them from other people

Document Information:
Title:How chief executives learn and what behaviour factors distinguish them from other people
Author(s):Gerry Beamish, (Director of Beamish Associates, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. E-mail:
Citation:Gerry Beamish, (2005) "How chief executives learn and what behaviour factors distinguish them from other people", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 37 Iss: 3, pp.138 - 144
Keywords:Chief executives, Competences, Individual behaviour, Learning, Managerialism, Personality
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00197850510593746 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

PurposeTo research how chief executives learn and what behavioural characteristics distinguish them from other managers.

Design/methodology/approachThe research used a personality profile (DISC) and structured interviews to compare the behaviours of a sample of chief executives from the public service with a sample from the private sectors in Northern Ireland.

FindingsThe research found three distinguishing characteristics of chief executives and challenged stereotypes of differences between the public and private sector and between male and female chief executives.

Research limitations/implicationsThere were no historic data to compare findings to indicate whether the behaviours highlighted were intrinsic or learned. Neither were the data differentiated by age nor was there any indication of how successful chief executives were. Future research might also look at differences between successful and less successful chief executives or look at other categories of leaders. An extremely interesting field might be to look at political leaders and compare their profiles with the chief executives.

Practical implicationsThe research challenges some of the basis for core competency approaches to development and reinforces the argument for action-based approaches.

Originality/valueProvides data for the debate on how one can best design and plan the selection and development of senior executives.

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