The feasibility of using assessment centers for managerial promotions at the Northern Illinois Works
Mielke, Patricia Carol
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The American Telephone and Telegraph Company developed the first industrial assessment center in 1956. Since then, the assessment center method for the selection of supervisors has been increasingly popular. The purpose of this study was to determine if the Northern Illinois Works, a facility of the Western Electric Company, should follow the lead of its parent, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, in using the assessment center for selection of first-level managers. The study attempted to determine how both supervisors and their subordinates felt about the current method of selection and the use of an assessment center. The study revealed that the supervisors in the first and second levels generally preferred candidates who were much like themselves because the supervisors found it difficult to predict how their subordinates would perform in a managerial position. The study additionally revealed that most supervisors surveyed were not familiar with the assessment center concept, but after the supervisors were informed of this concept, most agreed that the centers would be a helpful tool in making selections among managerial candidates. The hourly and salaried employees generally felt that better selection methods were needed. Like the supervisors, most of these employees did not know what assessment centers were. After being told about the assessment center method of selection, the employees generally expressed the opinion that this method would be superior to the traditional selection method. In conclusion, the study revealed that the assessment center would be a helpful tool in the selection of first-level managers at the Northern Illinois Works. A pilot program could be constructed, patterned after the program at American Telephone and Telegraph, with the results being compared to the traditional selection method to establish its validity. Other possibilities, such as using the assessment center, for developmental purposes, could also be investigated.