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An article reports on an exploratory inquiry into the beliefs and perspectives that shape business executives as an occupational culture. The findings and theory were derived from the analysis of components of subject-generated stories of work place experiences. Data were collected from chief executive officers of their direct reports in the Fortune 500 companies. The results suggest that top executives informally influence work assumptions and education of their own profession. Results additionally indicate that executive managers constitute an action-oriented, somewhat insular, and highly influential cultural entity. They control subtly by creating organizational templates that promote assertion, risk-taking, creativity, flexibility, financial acumen and team play to operationalize their organizational visions. It is argued that students of management need to understand executive's values, biases, and expectations in order to succeed in managerial roles. Additional implications for management education are discussed.


This article was originally published in the Journal of Applied Management Studies. Copyright © 1997 Taylor & Francis.