|CSUF Business Scholar
Explores Education and Career Success
Study confirms that promotions and salary
are affected by having at least an undergraduate degree, particularly
in business and engineering.
January 24, 2006 :: No. 117
How much of an effect does a college education have in making
it big as a manager?
study conducted by Sharon L. Purkiss, associate professor
of management at Cal State Fullerton, confirms that promotions
and salary are affected by having at least an undergraduate
degree, particularly in business and engineering.
with her on the study were Amy Hurley Hanson and Stefan Wally
of Chapman University and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of Yale University.
importance of an undergraduate degree seems to be increasing
over time," noted Purkiss, whose area of expertise is organizational
and human resource management. "The selectivity of a university
seems to hold less importance than the type of degree in
study involved a large U.S.-based international service company,
where the researchers reviewed human resource records from
previous decades. They compared two groups of employees who
worked at the company a decade apart — 1972 and 1982 — and
measured promotions into the upper levels of service.
looked at all kinds of things, including timing of degree," Purkiss
noted. "There was lot of business support in earning a degree,
and it was recognized for its added value."
that recognition, however, the study found that it didn't
seem to affect career attainment if the degree was earned
after entering the firm. "Perhaps you have to change organizations
to reap the benefits of earning the degree," Purkiss said.
It's something she would like to delve into in future studies.
the study, Purkiss also looked at control variables, such
as gender, which didn't seem to make much of a difference,
and race, which did, in the particular industry she studied.
of the study were published in the article "The Changing
Role of Education in Managerial Career Attainment" in Vol.
34, No. 5 of Personnel
Review . The article can be viewed on the web at www.emeraldinsight.com.
Click on "Personnel Review," then "Issue 5, 2005."
Sharon L. Purkiss, associate professor
of management, at email@example.com
McLaren of Public Affairs, at 657-278-4852 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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