Promotion and Performance Evaluation of Managerial Accountants: An Archival Analysis

J. Hunton, D. Stone, B. Wier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using survey, interview, and archival data, we investigate two questions related to managerial accountants' (MA) performance evaluations (PE) and promotion processes: (1) Are there “fast tracks” (i.e., positive serial dependencies) in promotions? (2) Are promotions primarily determined by within-rank comparisons (i.e., “relative” comparisons) or comparisons to standards (i.e., “absolute” evaluations)? The survey data (n = 101) suggest that lower- and higher-ranking MA have differing perceptions of PE and promotion processes. For example, lower-ranking MA generally believe in the existence of fast-track promotions while higher-ranking MA do not. Twenty years of archival PE and promotion data (1976–1995) from 5,899 managerial accountants employed at 2,525 companies in three industries (publishing, paper, and chemical) do not support the existence of fast-track promotions; instead, the archival data suggest a negative correlation between time to promotion to senior and time to promotion to manager. In addition, these data suggest that comparisons to standards are the largest influence on promotions to manager, while within-rank comparisons are the largest influence on promotions to senior. We conclude by discussing the importance and limitations of our results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-208
JournalJournal of Management Accounting Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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