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Leadership competencies across organizational levels: a test of the pipeline model

by Guangrong Dai, King Yii Tang, Kenneth P. De Meuse
Journal of Management Development ()
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This paper aims to test the pipeline model of leadership development by investigating how the competency profile change across position levels. The skill and importance ratings in leadership competencies were compared between four position levels. The data were from an archive 360 degree feedback (n=770). Six SMEs were also employed to rate the importance of the competencies. The study found that the difference between two positions in terms of the relative importance of the competencies increases as the organizational hierarchical distance between the two positions increases. Comparing the skill ratings yielded similar results. Further, the correlation between the skill and importance ratings for the same position level was higher than correlations of the two types of ratings for different position levels. The study discusses the implications of the research findings in the context of leadership development and succession management. One of the essential tasks in a succession system is to clearly define critical leadership skills at different levels of management. By defining the leadership pipeline, companies will be able to get their best people the right developmental experiences to help them transition from one position level to another. The paper provides empirical support for the pipeline model of leadership skill requirement across the organizational hierarchy.

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