In selecting the company participants, we examined three groups of potential candidates. Each brings a unique perspective to the developmental challenges of our research. The criteria used to select the work-in-progress case-study companies are as follows:
The first group of candidates included organizations that participated in the Foundation's 1994 research, The Empowered Organization: Redefining the Roles and Practices of the Financial Executive.6 These companies were CoreStates Financial Corporation, Corning, W. L. Gore & Associates, Harley-Davidson, Geo. E. Keith Company, Herman Miller, Levi Strauss & Company, and Silicon Graphics. Each of these organizations was committed early on to the advancement of today's finance executive as a true business partner and facilitator of shareholder value.
From this first group of research candidates, we selected W. L. Gore & Associates to participate in the current research. Besides bringing a "past-study" perspective to the research, Gore's participation is noteworthy because it has been consistently selected as one of the best companies to work for in America.7
The second group of candidates included those organizations whose commitment to leadership development has been well documented,8 but whose approach to the development of finance leaders has had little or no mention. These companies include Asea Brown Boveri, Canon, General Electric, IBM, Intel, Kao Corporation, Solvay Polymers, Unilever, and a wide range of other global organizations.
From this second group, we selected Solvay Polymers and Unilever. This research explores how these leading-edge companies have incorporated the importance of a wide range of competencies into the developmental paths and career expectations of their finance executives.
The third group of candidates included organizations that have received noteworthy attention for making the leadership development of their finance executives a key organizational priority,9 but that have not communicated the details of how they facilitate this development. These companies include Air Products and Chemicals, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Chrysler, Dana Corporation, Caterpillar, General Public Utilities, Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks, Procter & Gamble, Southern New England Telecommunications, Synovus Financial Corp., and Whirlpool.
From this third group, we selected Air Products and Chemicals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dana Corporation, Nortel Networks, and Synovus Financial Corp.
In-depth interviews were conducted at the corporate headquarters of each of the eight participants. These interviews were based on a detailed research questionnaire protocol.10 More than 30 in-depth interviews were conducted with high-level finance, human resources, and business line professionals.