Week 31

The Succession Decision

Maintaining the Spirit of the Organization

Introduction

The succession to the top position of an organization is a difficult decision and indeed, according to Drucker, sometimes a “desperate gamble” (Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, 1973, p. 618). And past performance in a range of lower-level positions is no guarantee of success in the top position.

One of the best examples comes from American political history. James Buchanan, fifteenth president of the United States, was a graduate of Dickinson College and served five terms as a congressman and two terms as a United States senator from Pennsylvania. He also served as minister to Russia and to Great Britain. Before assuming the presidency in ...

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