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My manager moved! Manager mobility and subordinates' career outcomes


Organization Science


Organisational Behaviour

Publishing details

Organization Science 2021 Vol 33:5 p 1861-1888

Authors / Editors

Baek M;Bidwell M;Keller J R


Publication Year



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 U.S. 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.


Careers; Employee mobility; Promotions; Relational embeddedness

Available on ECCH


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