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Reference SA/TIH/B/2/9
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Level Series
Extent 14 boxes
Title Unilever Companies' Management Development Scheme (UCMDS)
Date 1951-1977
Box Number 216-233
Ordering Instructions This archive record describes a grouping of orderable items: to order any of them for consultation, order copies or view them if they have been digitised, navigate down the archive hierarchy to Item level.
Description The Unilever Companies' Management Development Scheme (UCMDS) was in introduced in 1952, replacing the Management Training Scheme which had been in operation since 1927. The UEMTS was added in 1971. The scheme still exists (as of 2017), and Unilever is one of the largest employers of graduates.

The aim was to identify and appraise the performance and potential of managers, and to recruit strong management potential into the organisation. Successful candidates to UCMDS were expected to be capable of reaching upper middle management by their mid-thirties, and senior management thereafter.

The majority of candidates who joined Unilever through UCMDS were university graduates, and tended to be no older than 26.

The selection board consisted of a President and selectors from across the business, accompanied by two advisors from the Tavistock Institute. The role of TIHR on the board was to assist the selectors in their appraisal of candidates, and help the candidates informally in their career development.

The selection programme included a combination of group discussions and tasks and individual interviews. Tests included matrices test, Mill Hill vocabulary test, Quantitative Information test (QIT), Myers-Briggs test, personal preferences exercise. The aim of the tests was to gain an understanding of individual aptitudes, which might not necessarily be indicated by educational records alone.

On the continent, investigations into potential appraisal were conducted under the guidance of Professor van Lennep of Urecht University (Holland), in close contact with social scientists in the UK. On the basis of these experiences, appraisal experiments were conducted on a larger scale in Belgium, Holland and Germany.

As part of the process, management reviews were also conducted. The purpose of conducting regular and systematic management reviews was to provide a detailed note of the action to be taken in respect of individual managers as part of career planning; to indicate the size and scope of functional or general management courses to be provided for UK managers; and to provide a forecast of future management requirements, by potential and type of manager.

The review procedure included a first review, whereby the Head of the Unit first reviewed all his managers and records comments and recommendations. A second review, attended by the Control Authority and Personnel division, as appropriate, was conducted for certain managers to be reviewed again. Those reviewed twice include Senior Managers, Managers on the "C" list, Managers for whom some action by Personnel has been requested, any others nominated for discussion by the head of the unit.

Digitised No
Access Status Open
Access Conditions The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material.
Reproduction Conditions Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.
MaterialType Archives - Non-digital
System No. 02b93e28-7628-4703-bac7-c4ee74ce250b

Associated person entries (click number link for details):


Armstrong; David


Bridger; Harold


Drake; Richard


Higgin; Gurth


Miller; Eric (1924-2002)


Murray; Hugh (1919-?)


Pollock; Alex B.


Rice; Albert Kenneth (1908-1969)


Wilson; Tommy (1906-1978)