Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Donald C. Weaver

Second Advisor

Dr. Ernie Stech

Third Advisor

Dr. Sid Dykstra


This study investigated middle managers' perceptions concerning factors and conditions necessary to implement and adapt a career development system within an organization. More specifically, this study drew implications regarding the vital role played by middle managers in the initiation, implementation, and adaptation of a career development system in a large industrial organization.

Five research questions dealing with the role of middle managers in implementation of career development systems were investigated by means of an interview schedule developed by the researcher adapted from instruments developed by the American Management Association (Walker & Gutteridge, 1979) and Burack and Mathys (1980). The survey instrument was administered to 32 middle managers in a large Fortune 500 company with a 95% response rate.

Findings from the present study include: (1) Middle managers in the company studied were generally supportive of career development as a part of their responsibilities (90.7%). (2) Respondents in the present study reported a high degree of awareness of two of the four components of career development in their company, namely, performance appraisal and career discussion. (3) A high percentage of the respondents in the present study (96.9%) believed it was important for the corporation to assist employees in their career plans and indicated that they believed that the implementation of a career development system was a joint responsibility between management and employees. (4) Respondents viewed top management as serving an active participatory role in career development and reported the role of middle management as that of initiating, implementing, and administering the career development program. (5) Of the 13 factors considered by the middle managers having "considerable" or "great" importance in influencing career development systems, the four reported by most respondents as of "great" importance were top management commitment, middle management commitment, individual employee responsibility, and employee initiative.

Generally, results of the present investigation indicated that in the company studied middle managers play a vital role in the implementation of career development of employees. Middle managers in this company appear to be linking change agents who interpret organizational goals as well as individual employee goals to further the development of employee careers.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access