Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 207-232

First online:

Promotion Systems and Organizational Performance: A Contingency Model

  • Steven E. Phelan
  • , Zhiang Lin

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This study explores the organizational impact of a variety of important promotion systems commonly practiced in organizations including up-or-out systems, absolute merit-based systems, relative merit-based systems, and seniority-based systems. Through the computer simulation of organizations in a distributed decision making setting, the results indicate that the effectiveness of any promotion system is dependent on a range of factors including the nature of the task environment, the design of the organizational structure, the frequency of monitoring, the criteria of performance, and the transferability of task knowledge. This study has implications not only for understanding organizational promotion systems from the contingency perspective, but also for bridging the fields of strategic human resource management and computational organization theory.

promotion systems organizational performance computer simulation contingency perspective