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Lighting the way or stealing the shine? An examination of the duality in star scientists' effects on firm innovative performance


  • Rebecca R. Kehoe
  • Daniel Tzabbar


type="main" xml:id="smj2240-abs-0001"> Do star employees enhance or constrain the innovative performance of an organization? Using data from 456 biotechnology firms between 1973 and 2003, we highlight the duality of the effects that stars have on firm performance. We show that while stars positively affect firms' productivity, their presence constrains the emergence of other innovative leaders in an organization. We find that firm productivity and innovative leadership among non-stars in a firm are greatest when a star has broad expertise and collaborates frequently. We offer cross-disciplinary insights into the role of human capital as a source of competitive advantage, suggesting that the value of human capital in a firm is contingent on the mutual dependence inherent in high-status employees' relationships with other individuals in a firm . Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Rebecca R. Kehoe & Daniel Tzabbar, 2015. "Lighting the way or stealing the shine? An examination of the duality in star scientists' effects on firm innovative performance," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(5), pages 709-727, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:stratm:v:36:y:2015:i:5:p:709-727

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sam Arts & Lee Fleming, 2018. "Paradise of Novelty—Or Loss of Human Capital? Exploring New Fields and Inventive Output," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(6), pages 1074-1092, December.
    2. Marta F. Arroyabe & Katrin Hussinger & John Hagedoorn, 2020. "Hiring New Key Inventors to Improve Firms’ Post-M&A Inventive Output," CREA Discussion Paper Series 20-19, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    3. Kremena Slavova & Andrea Fosfuri & Julio O. De Castro, 2016. "Learning by Hiring: The Effects of Scientists’ Inbound Mobility on Research Performance in Academia," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 72-89, February.
    4. Liu, Xiaohui & Xia, Tianjiao & Jiangyong, Lu & Lin, Daomi, 2019. "Under what institutional conditions does overseas business knowledge contribute to firm performance?," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 588-602.
    5. Matteo Prato & Fabrizio Ferraro, 2018. "Starstruck: How Hiring High-Status Employees Affects Incumbents’ Performance," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(5), pages 755-774, October.
    6. Zhifeng Yin & Qiang Zhi, 2017. "Dancing with the academic elite: a promotion or hindrance of research production?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(1), pages 17-41, January.
    7. Belkhouja, Mustapha & Yoon, Hyungseok (David), 2018. "How does openness influence the impact of a scholar’s research? An analysis of business scholars’ citations over their careers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(10), pages 2037-2047.
    8. Agrawal, Ajay & McHale, John & Oettl, Alexander, 2017. "How stars matter: Recruiting and peer effects in evolutionary biology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 853-867.
    9. Stefan Wagner & Martin C. Goossen, 2018. "Knowing me, knowing you: Inventor mobility and the formation of technology-oriented alliances," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-18-01, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
    10. F. Ted Tschang & Gokhan Ertug, 2016. "New Blood as an Elixir of Youth: Effects of Human Capital Tenure on the Explorative Capability of Aging Firms," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(4), pages 873-892, August.

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