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The present study examined the degree to which demographic, human capital,motivational, organizational, and industry/region variables predicted executive career success. Career success was assumed to comprise objective (pay, ascendancy) and subjective (job satisfaction, career satisfaction) elements. Results obtained from a sample of 1,388 U.S.executives suggested that demographic, human capital, motivational, and organizational variables explained significant variance in objective career success and in career satisfaction. Particularly interesting were findings that educational level, quality, prestige, and degree type all predicted financial success. In contrast, only the motivational and organizational variables explained significant amounts of variance in job satisfaction. These findings suggest that the variables that lead to objective career success often are quite different from those that lead to subjectively defined success.


Suggested Citation
Judge, T. A., Cable, D. M., Boudreau, J. W. & Bretz, R. D. Jr. (1994). An empirical investigation of the predictors of executive career success (CAHRS Working Paper #94-08). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.