The purpose of this study is to provide an insight into the characteristics perceived to be most important to the management development of senior executives in a variety of Australian organisations. The study provides an update of previous research into the profiles of chief executive officers conducted by Mukhi (1982), and Sarros and Butchatsky (1996). In particular, this study extends the scope of Mukhi’s research in two ways. Firstly, the focus has been broadened to incorporate chairmen, managing directors, general managers, and chief executives. Secondly, the study includes an examination of the perceived importance of the following discipline-based fields of knowledge; human resources management, marketing, law, accounting and computer technology. This paper identifies and assesses the relative importance of 28 items relating to the management development of senior executives. Mailed questionnaires designed to gather both quantitative and qualitative data were sent to 101 senior executives throughout Australia over a two month period. The target sample was randomly selected through computer generation from a larger list of 404 senior executives whose names appeared in The Australian newspaper over a twelve month period. Because the perceptions of respondents are an important focus of this study, one of the sampling objectives was to secure responses from executives whose activities and/or comments have been considered newsworthy at the national level. This does not preclude the importance of achieving sufficient organisational diversity in the sample, an objective which was met in order to provide scope for variance analysis according to a range of factors including organisational size and business sector.
The Business Review, Cambridge Vol. 5, Issue 1, p. 121-131