Who Gets to the Top? Generalists Versus Specialists in Managerial Organizations

33 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2009 Last revised: 27 Jul 2012

See all articles by Daniel Ferreira

Daniel Ferreira

London School of Economics - Department of Finance; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Raaj Kumar Sah

University of Chicago

Date Written: July 27, 2012

Abstract

We study organizations with individuals whose expertise differ in content and breadth. For example, specialists have deeper expertise than generalists, but in fewer areas. Difficulties in communication depend on who communicates with whom. Our analysis, which is consistent with several empirical findings, shows that: (i) an organization is more valuable and its leader has broader expertise if it is more complex, or faces more unpredictability, or if communication technologies improve; (ii) those higher in multi-layered hierarchies have broader expertise; and (iii) any one-dimensional concept (e.g., talent) cannot explain the assignment of different individuals to different levels in hierarchies.

Keywords: Organizations, decision-making, communication, hierarchies

JEL Classification: D21, D23

Suggested Citation

Ferreira, Daniel and Sah, Raaj Kumar, Who Gets to the Top? Generalists Versus Specialists in Managerial Organizations (July 27, 2012). RAND Journal of Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1370105 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1370105

Daniel Ferreira (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Department of Finance ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
(+44) 20 7955 7544 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/FERREIRD/

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Raaj Kumar Sah

University of Chicago ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States
+1 773 288 1117 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
610
Abstract Views
2,901
rank
42,911
PlumX Metrics