HBR Article: “Research: Do People Really Get Promoted to Their Level of Incompetence?” (link)
Problem: Do workers eventually get promoted into positions that they are not suited for (also known as the Peter Principle)?
Approach: Authors used sales data from 214 firms to examine whether organizations promote salespeople who would make good managers vs those who made good sales.
Findings: 1) higher likelihood of getting promoted with higher sales rank, 2) negative relationship between sales performance and manager performance, 3) predictors of actual manager quality were not emphasized by organizations
Discussion: Results demonstrate that top sales people may not necessarily be the best managers.
Practical performance management strategies for organizations: 1) promotions ≠ changes in responsibility, 2) using dual track career ladders, 3) identify managers and let them manage