Dancing with the Stars: Benefits of a Star Employee's Temporary Absence for Organizational Performance

Forthcoming, Strategic Management Journal

48 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015 Last revised: 19 Dec 2017

See all articles by John S. Chen

John S. Chen

University of Florida

Pranav Garg

Stevens Institute of Technology

Date Written: December 19, 2017

Abstract

While research has focused primarily on stars as individual contributors, we examine organizational situations where stars must work closely with non-stars. We argue that, in such situations, building teamwork around a star is an exercise in learning under complexity. In response, organizations prioritize interactions involving the star to simplify learning. This simplification, however, creates organizational myopia. We claim that a star’s temporary absence helps the organization overcome myopia by triggering a search for new routines. When he returns, the organization may combine these new routines with pre-absence routines to improve teamwork and performance. We exploit injuries to star players in the National Basketball Association as an exogenous shock and find that on average, teams perform better after a star’s return than before his absence.

Keywords: Human Capital, Organizational Learning, Routines, Organizational Performance, Organizational Adaptation

JEL Classification: D22, D83, M10, M54, Z22

Suggested Citation

Chen, John S. and Garg, Pranav, Dancing with the Stars: Benefits of a Star Employee's Temporary Absence for Organizational Performance (December 19, 2017). Forthcoming, Strategic Management Journal, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2647049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2647049

John S. Chen

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

Pranav Garg (Contact Author)

Stevens Institute of Technology ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States
201-216-3406 (Phone)

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