The Training of the Executive

Public Policy, Vol. 10, 1960, Carl J. Friedrich and Seymour E. Harris, eds., pp. 16-43. Reprinted in Edward C. Banfield, Here the People Rule: Selected Essays (Washington, DC: AEI, 1991).


The postwar popularity of executive development programs raises in slightly new form the old question of what should be the training of the executive. An executive development program is a conference, course, or seminar lasting from one or two days to a month. Executives, drawn usually from “middle management,” are brought together, usually under the auspices of an academic institution or a trade association (the American Management Association is one of the chief operators in the field), to hear talks by “experts,” usually professors of administration or executives of large organizations, to engage in discussions, and in some cases to engage in “simulation” of administrative situations. Many businesses every year send several of their “coming men” to these institutes expense. Until recently federal employees were not so fortunate; the agencies were not permitted to use their appropriations to send employees to “outside” training institutions. Many federal employees took development courses, but they did so at their own expense or on grants from foundations. The Government Employees Training Act of 1985 has given the agencies more freedom, however, and no doubt the demand for executive development will increase accordingly.

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