This phenomenological study focused on the succession management actions taken internally by organizations during times of economic crisis. This study's purpose was to understand the specific ways that organizations alter or suspend their succession management efforts during "hard times" when other short-term crises, such as restructuring, lay-offs, and debt accumulation, overshadow the importance of long-term strategic planning. Three research questions were addressed in this study: 1. Are succession management programs subject to decrease or downsizing during times of economic crisis? 2. What can organizations do to keep short-term crises from derailing long-term succession-management efforts? 3. Are well established succession management programs less likely to be cut during an economic crisis? In order to most effectively answer those questions, a quantitative survey method was employed. Through this process of data collection, answers to those questions provided new insights into why organizations experienced turmoil, retention issues, and lack of leadership during trying economic times. These data formed the basis for the following conclusions and recommendations: 1. The succession management plan must be tied to business results. The importance of clear and specific outcomes cannot be underestimated since they form the foundation upon which everything else is built. 2. The succession management program will be seen as more successful if there is a visible commitment of sponsorship by executives in the organization. 3. Organizations must build a structured succession management process and a solid plan for administering the program that is not too complex to manage. This process needs to include a consistent application for how decisions will be made, the methods that are used to collect performance data, consistent criterion for performance measurement, and a mechanism for communicating key developmental feedback critical to the success of individuals in the organization. 4. Organizations must design the measures and metrics of the program so that the business value to the organization is clear and supported by a specific budget dedicated to the succession management program. 5. Organizations must include measures in the succession plan that provide significant value but do not add significant cost.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Management; Educational leadership; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Organizational change

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Allen, Mark;