Research.

Articles.

How do managers’ moves across jobs affect the subordinates they leave behind? Manager mobility disrupts established manager-subordinate relationships, as subordinates must now learn to work with a replacement. We explore how this relational disruption affects subordinates’ objective career success – specifically their financial rewards and subsequent promotion chances. We argue that manager mobility may have both positive and negative implications for subordinate outcomes. The loss of an established relationship may reduce subordinates’ performance and managers’ propensity to reward them; on the other hand, relational disruption may make subordinates more willing and able to seek out valuable opportunities elsewhere in the organization. We also argue that these effects are likely to be greatest for those subordinates who had worked with the previous manager for longer. Using eight years of personnel data from the US offices of a Fortune 500 healthcare company, we show how managers’ mobility is associated with a decrease in subordinates’ financial rewards, but an increase in their promotion prospects.

In this study, the authors explore a heretofore unappreciated benefit of managerial openness to employee voice: internal attraction. Previous work has shown that managers who are more open to listening to employees receive valuable information and their units have higher relative retention levels. The authors explain and empirically demonstrate that managers who are more open to employee voice also more effectively attract workers from other units in their organizations. They describe how and why managerial openness to voice likely shapes the information that employees in a focal organizational unit (‘‘employee insiders’’) share with employees in other units (‘‘employee outsiders’’). They find that units with managers who are perceived as more open to voice are viewed as more attractive places to work. Conducting two field studies in separate US school districts, the authors find that managerial openness to voice positively predicts a work unit’s attractiveness among employees who work in other areas of the organization. They discuss the implications of their findings for organizations in general and school districts specifically.

Prior research suggests that individuals react negatively when they perceive they are underpaid. Moreover, individuals frequently select pay referents who share their race and gender, suggesting that demographic similarity affects one’s knowledge of pay differences. Leveraging these insights, the authors examine whether the gender and racial composition of a work unit shapes individuals’ reactions to pay deprivation. Using field data from a large health care organization, they find that pay deprivation resulting from workers receiving less pay than their same-sex and same-race coworkers prompts a significantly stronger response than does pay deprivation arising from workers receiving less pay than their demographically dissimilar colleagues. A supplemental experiment reveals that this relationship likely results from individuals’ propensity to select same-category others as pay referents, shaping workers’ information about their colleagues’ pay. The study’s findings underscore the need to theoretically and empirically account for how demographically driven social comparison processes affect reactions to pay inequality.

This paper explores whether and when firms benefit by rehiring former employees. We adopt a knowledge-based view of hiring in theorizing that, relative to new hires, boomerangs’ familiarity with the organization’s social system will allow them to more effectively engage in coordination and overcome internal resistance from organizational incumbents. Comparing the post-hire performance of 2,000+ boomerangs and 10,000+ new hires in a large health care organization, we find that boomerangs outperform new hires. We also find that this performance advantage is larger in jobs requiring greater internal coordination and in contexts characterized by greater internal resistance to external hires.

This paper explores when employees are more or less likely to exit an organization having been rejected after applying for a new job within their current firm organization. We drawing on the extant intraorganizational mobility literature in theorizing that variations in post-rejection turnover are shaped by the information the market provides employees about their likelihood of future internal advancement. Analyzing 9,000+ rejections over five years in a large organization, we find that rejected employees are significantly less likely to exit when they are interviewed by the hiring manager (compared to being rejected earlier) and when they are rejected in favor of another internal candidate (compared to an external candidate).

This paper details the portfolio of internal hiring processes employed by large organizations, focusing particular attention on postingand slotting. Posting is a predominantly market-based process in which a manager posts an open job and invites interested candidates to apply, whereas slotting is a predominantly relational process in which a manager personally identifies a preferred candidate and “slots” them into an open job. I then examine how key differences between posting and slotting shape two outcomes of central importance to firms and workers: quality of hire and compensation. My analysis of 8,000+ internal hires at large US firm reveals that outcomes for internal candidates depend, in part, on the nature of the process used to facilitate the movement from one job to the next; compared to slotted employees, workers who enter a job through posting have higher performance ratings, earn higher salaries, and are less likely to exit the firm.

This paper examines which jobs are more likely to be filled by internal mobility versus hiring. Building off the assumptions of transaction cost accounts of employment, we develop theory that focuses on the interaction between the problems of evaluating and integrating external hires on the one hand and the incentive costs of failing to promote eligible workers on the other. We predict how three specific characteristics of jobs – demands for firm-specific skills, performance variability, and supply of internal candidates – affect how those jobs are filled. Using seven years of personnel data from the US offices of a large investment bank, we find that jobs with higher performance variability and a larger grade ratio of junior to senior workers are more likely to be filled by internal mobility. We also find evidence that the effects of performance variability are contingent on the grade ratio, only affecting staffing decisions when the firm does not face strong pressures to promote junior workers in order to maintain incentives. We find no effect for firm-specific skills.

Talent management: Conceptual approaches and practical challenges (Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior)

The challenges associated with managing talent in modern labor markets are a constant source of discussion among academics and practitioners, but the literature on the subject is sparse and has grown somewhat haphazardly. This paper provides an overview of the literature on talent management—a body of work that spans multiple disciplines—as well as a clear statement as to what defines talent management. We describe three themes that largely define contemporary talent management: (1) the challenge of open labor markets, including issues of retention as well as the general challenge of managing uncertainty, (2) new models for moving employees across jobs within the same organization, and (3) strategic jobs for which investments in talent likely show the greatest return. We review the conceptual and practical literature on these topics, outline the evolution of talent management over time, and present new topics for future research.

Classifying work in the new economy (Academy of Management Review)

This paper outlines an inclusive classification system that distinguishes clearly between employment and its alternatives. It also distinguishes among the alternatives themselves by grouping work arrangements into categories that share common properties and that are distinct from each other in ways that matter for practice and for research. The classification system is based on distinctions about the sources and extent of control over the work process, the contractual nature of the work relationship, and the parties involved in the work relationship. Our classification system is both informed by and reflects the legal distinctions among these categories. We explore implications of our system for research and theory development.

Based on a national probability sample of U.S. establishments, this paper presents estimates of the extent of alternative or “nonstandard” work arrangements—part-time hours, temporary help, independent contracting, and other configurations—evidence on changes in their use over time, and analyses that contribute to understanding why alternatives have come into play.

Chapters.

The historical context of talent management (Oxford Handbook of Talent Management)

In this chapter, we trace the historical context of talent management to identify the key issues and debates likely to shape the field going forward. We begin by offering a definition of talent management that reflects how both academics and practitioners have come to view the field. In doing so, we provide an overview of the conceptual history of talent management and a historical tour of the practice of talent management—focusing primarily on developments in the United States, where much more has been written on the subject—from the early days of industrial production to today. We conclude by offering our thoughts on the areas of inquiry we believe hold the most promise for those interested in advancing the science and practice of talent management.

A supply chain approach to talent management (Strategic Talent Management: Contemporary Issue in an International Context)

In this chapter, we describe what it means to adopting a supply-chain approach to talent management. We explain how this approach is particularly useful for explore two pressing questions. First, how do organizations ensure a sufficient supply of human capital when both demand and supply are uncertain? Answering this question from a supply-chain perspective requires us to recognize that forecasting under conditions of uncertainty is incredibly difficult, almost inevitably leading to either an undersupply or oversupply of human capital. As a result, the focus shifts from meeting a point estimate of demand to minimizing the costs incurred as a result of these inevitable errors. Second, what are the different human capital sourcing strategies available to firms, and when should each be used? Here, a supply-chain perspective is helpful because researchers are particularly interested in how firms combine internal and external sourcing in order to minimize the costs associated with undershooting or overshooting actual demand. The reliability and responsiveness of the available sourcing options, as well as whether those options are designed to mitigate potential disruptions to the supply chain or are more contingent in nature, emerge as key considerations.

Selected working papers.

Recent research demonstrates that reallocating workers to new internal jobs creates value when it occurs through a free-flowing internal talent market in which employees are encouraged to actively pursue new internal opportunities. Yet individual managers often introduce friction into internal talent markets by dissuading or otherwise preventing their subordinates from pursuing other jobs within the firm, a practice known as talent hoarding. While noting that there are clear reasons why managers might engage in talent hoarding, we argue and show that managers who secure promotions for their subordinates actually attract more, better, and more functionally diverse internal candidates for their open jobs. In demonstrating how facilitating internal mobility benefits individual managers, we provide a powerful counterargument to the rationale underlying talent hoarding.

Recruiting scholars have demonstrated that the composition of the candidate pool for an open job an influence which candidate gets hired. Less explored is how candidate pool composition impacts post-hire outcomes. We introduce internal-external pool composition (i.e., the mix of internal and external candidates) as a salient yet understudied characteristic of candidate pools and explore its influence on the post-hire outcomes of internal hires. We develop theory to explain how the concurrent consideration of internal and external candidates provides information to hiring managers that improves their ability to create better internal matches vis-à vis considering only internal candidates. We also call attention to the fact that the composition of the candidate pool provides candidates themselves with valuable information about their future mobility prospects. Analyzing over 2,000 internal hires in a single firm over a five-year period, we find that internal hires made from pools consisting of both internal and external candidates (i.e., mixed pools) are significantly more likely to be rated high performers than hires from internal-only pools. Yet we also find that internal hires from mixed pools are significantly more likely to subsequently exit the firm. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for both theory and practice.