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December 07, 1986|Allan A. Kennedy

INSIDE CORPORATE AMERICA: PERSPECTIVES ON MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND CAREER OPTIONS by Allan Cox (St. Martin's: $9.95; 451 pp.). Allan Cox, who previously authored "Confessions of a Corporate Headhunter" and "The Making of the Achiever" is on the bookshelves again with "Inside Corporate America." Cox reports on the results of a comprehensive survey of 1,086 top- and middle-management executives in 115 operating units of 13 large companies. The survey instrument itself is quite comprehensive--including many detailed questions on how the corporation operates (e.g., how much autonomy is given to divisions), who the corporation recruits are, where the corporation succeeds and fails, who the executives themselves are and what it takes to get ahead. With this promising base to draw on, the book itself is surprisingly bland.

For example, in Chapter 10, we learn that 78.7% of the top executives surveyed believe subsidiaries have "a great deal of autonomy." In Chapter 12, we learn that 62.5% of top executives rate communications within their unit as adequate or better. In Chapter 20, we learn that 68.9% of top executives surveyed do not really view their goal as driving their competitors out of business. There is food for thought here somewhere, but where exactly is hard to pinpoint.

The best of the book profiles the managers surveyed. Not surprisingly, hard work, knowledge, articulateness and just a bit of luck are still seen to be the best path for career success.

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