Book Review: Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs

Pedigree BookLauren A. Rivera : Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015. 375 pp. $35.00, hardcover.

Jennifer Merluzzi recently reviewed this book in Administrative Science QuarterlyFrom the review:

The book is a very detailed read on hiring and elite firms and is thus best suited for individuals interested in these topics, such as scholars studying early professional careers, elite labor markets, inequality, or hiring specifically. With this said, many insights in the book could be beneficial to scholars interested in these topics more broadly. For instance, Rivera makes a strong case for rethinking core assumptions underlying empirical studies by management and sociology scholars, such as the importance of human resources personnel (who are often cordoned into roles providing administrative rather than strategic support that offer little oversight to assure meritocratic hiring) or the importance of résumés or grades in getting hired (because extracurricular activities that can serve as fodder for interview conversation trump any hard data presented on a résumé). So although the book is clearly situated as a study of class and elites, it does have broader insights into hiring that a wider set of scholars could benefit from reading.

The book’s strength is its rich qualitative descriptions of what goes on behind the curtain of hiring within a firm, particularly the ethnographic portions in which Rivera uses her keen skills as an observer to carefully document, often with sharp wit, what is occurring around her. As Rivera contends, this area has been a black box for empirical research in sociology and management, as information is known about the candidate and then ASQ Coverabout the hiring outcome for that candidate, but less is known about what happens in between. The book’s limitation is in offering concrete conclusions around solutions to the problems identified (more on this below). Nonetheless, it is an interesting read, and readers will be impressed with Rivera’s complete immersion in this elite world.

You can read the full review from Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts to receive research and reviews like this directly in your inbox!

This entry was posted in Book Review, Employees, employers, Hiring and tagged , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 900 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington DC, our publishing programme includes more than 560 journals and over 800 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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