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
Date Written: December 19, 2017
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: Suggested Citation