The End of an Era

Among the most prominent companies in the world for developing employees was AT&T Corporation and its affiliated Regional Bell Operating Companies. AT&T was famous not only for the time and energy that went into planning employee careers but also for studying itself. By the mid-1950s, the company saw a number of manpower planning problems on the horizon. First, it predicted a demand for a large number of executives in the near future not only because the system was growing quickly but also because it foresaw a wave of retirements based on the company’s internal demographics.

Second, like other corporations at the time, AT&T saw the need to hire more college-educated managers. Lateral hiring was not an option because there ...

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