In the past, some organizations had various managerial levels and their leaders spent a lot of time in different strategic activities including mentoring, training, and improvement. Most employees expected to work for their employer for a long time despite providing long term distinguished services. Thereafter, the employees would be able to achieve the same status as management trainees. Since the employees have ample time on their hands, supervisors can effectively see the direct reports concerning all areas of the workplace. In addition, they can assist in guiding employees with the right resources that will enable them to have exemplarily careers in the future (Reeb, 2005). Therefore, it is recommended that all supervisors ensure that they help identify future leaders. The focus on succession planning lasted in some organizations in the 1970’s, and in the 1980’s. Most of the executives who were prominent at the time are now about to retire. Also, as many as half of the senior government officials in America are set to retire (Richtel, 2010). This also includes top executives working in some of the fortune 500 companies. During the World Trade Center bombing, 172 corporate executives in various companies lost their lives. This means that the work force is greatly affected when talent is lost.
This study will focus on finding out how a firm’s productivity is affected by succession planning. The world economy is growing at an extremely fast rate and thus the reason why its industries are booming. This study will attempt to make an effort to measure the processes related to succession planning upon a firm’s productivity. Furthermore, recommendations will be made in order to improve organizational performance and succession planning. The study will be based upon statistical data obtained from business firms. An extensive literature review on succession planning and the impact it has on a firm’s productivity will be conducted. The study will formulate a conceptual framework about the research topic. Lastly, the study will attempt to answer the following research questions:
- How does succession planning affect the overall performance of a firm?
- When is the right time to introduce potential leaders to succession planning?
- What needs to be done to ensure that succession planning is successful?
In the four decades that have passed, there has been a managerial revolution that significantly impacted planning. Some of the enterprises affected by succession planning include educational institutions, governments, and businesses. Succession planning is quite vital according to evidence and emphasis by many researchers. For example, in the past, production managers found out that without prior planning, mistakes showed up shortly after or while working on projects. This means that certain projects halted because of the absence or misfit of needed components (Stoner, 1982).
Succession planning dates back to the 1940’s after being conceptualized by Goetz. He believed that planning involved choosing options that would deal with problems that were likely to arise. An alternative solution or action exists in matters that concern succession planning. There is a direct relationship between decision-making and succession planning. It is therefore recommended that planning is done in advance and be conducted by the right people at the right time. This means that the right alternatives have to be chosen, as it will influence future actions. Departmental goals will be effectively achieved because they are included in the advanced planning process. Succession planning considers the future environments’ nature whereby planning actions and decisions will operate.
Human productivity is a key issue in the field of business as people are responsible for success in any business venture. Human beings are judged upon the quantity and quality of their work input. It is thus conclusive to claim that productivity is concerned with efficiency and effectiveness (Hirsh, 2011). A management theory founding father, Peter Drucker (2003), claimed that in order for success to be achieved, effectiveness has to exist. Doing things that are right is associated with effectiveness whereas efficiency deals with doing things the right way.
In today’s global organizations, there are quite a number of initiatives based on leadership development. This is known to be an important part of any successful corporate strategy. In a leadership study conducted by Hewitt Associates, a Global Human Resources company, information concerning succession planning was obtained. The study established that in the top twenty leading companies in the world, 91 percent of them had a way of identifying leaders. This is compared to the rest, which had only a 61 percent success rate of identifying leaders. In addition, 82 percent of the world’s top organizations have mentoring programs unlike others included in the list. In fact, IBM leads as it has eleven leadership competencies at the various management levels (Avanesh, 2011).
The employees who possess leadership abilities and work at IBM are assessed based upon certain competencies. They are then considered when succession planning is taking place in the organization. Secondly, Microsoft came second as it attracts rare talent and potential leaders are identified during the hiring stage. Potential leaders subsequently endure a grooming process so that they can take up leadership positions in the future. Cutting Edge, an American research firm dealing in business, had a report concerning succession planning (Avanesh, 2011). It found out that majority of companies have succession plans, but few of them fail to follow through with the implementation requirements. It is estimated that as a result of succession planning, as much as 70 percent of all succession plans fail.
Charles Sawyer (2006) has raised some issues concerning succession planning on a firm’s productivity. The depth at which formal succession plans are part of a firm is yet to be established. Today, crisis management is used in the selection of leaders in various organizations. Organizations continue to fail to have succession plans and even resources to be used in the implementation of succession plans. Leadership development and succession planning do not have the adequate focus that middle level managers need (Chirico, 2008). The two strategies have to be urgently considered with special emphasis on middle-level managers.
The study in this research will be quantitative and descriptive in nature. The aim of using quantitative data is mainly to succeed in fact finding. In order to collect the required data, a questionnaire method will be adapted (Amaratunga & Baldry & Sarshar & Newton, 2002). The questionnaire method is viable as a method of data collection since it allows the respondents to give feedback to specially designed questions that are releveant for the research. The sources of data will be secondary data and primary data. The primary data will be collected from the filled questionnaires that the Project Leaders in the various respondent units provide. The secondary data will be collected from the internet, previous research, magazines, journals and books.
Amaratunga, D. & Baldry, D. & Sarshar, M. & Newton, R. (2002). Quantitative and qualitativeresearch in the built environment, Work Study, 51, 1.
Avanesh, Neetha. (2011). A Study on Succession Planning and its Impact on Organizational Performance in the IT Sector. International Refereed Research Journal, 2, 1, 2231-4172.
Chirico, Francesco. (2008). Knowledge Accumulation in Family Firms: Evidence from Four Case Studies International Small Business Journal August, 26, 1, 433-462.
Drucker, P. (2003). The Theory and Practice of Management, a broader perspective. New York: New York Press.
Gabrielsson, Jonas. (2007). Boards of Directors and Entrepreneurial Posture in Medium-size Companies: Putting the Board Demography Approach to a Test International Small Business Journal, 25, 1, 511-537.
Hirsh, Wendy. (2011). Succession Planning: Current Practice and Future Issues. International Journal of Career Management, 3, 2, 345-367.
Reeb, William. (2005). Securing the Future: Building a Succession Plan for Your Firm. New York: AICPA.
Richtel, Matt. (2010).“Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” Retrieved from The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html?
Sawyer, Charles. (2006). Beyond Leadership: Approaches to Comprehensive Succession Planning. New York: Pearson.
Stoner, J. (1982). Management and Planning, a broader perspective. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Publication limited.
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