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Research Seminar

The Social Constellation of Star Employees: Why an Open Network is Necessary for High Levels of Individual Innovation in Professional Service Firms


July 16, 2020 from 11:00 to 12:30

Building upon the literature on social networks and individual innovation, we argue that an open network position is a necessary condition for achieving high levels of individual innovation in professional service firms. Using survey data on the knowledge sharing relationships and innovative behavior of professional service employees, we conduct a necessary condition analysis and show that closed networks prevent employees from achieving high levels of individual innovation. In contrast with current theorizing, our results suggest that it is not possible for employees in closed networks to fully compensate for the information disadvantage of their network position. An important insight of our study is that star employees can only thrive in open networks. We discuss the implications of these findings for the literature on star employees, social networks, and individual innovation.