The Effect of Knowledge and Social Interdependencies on Inventor's Outward Mobility

Research Seminars
Academic Areas Strategy
Daniel Tzabbar, Associate Professor, LeBow College of Business Drexel University Associate Professor, LeBow College of Business Drexel University 
January 10, 2018 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM | Wednesday
AC 2 MLT, Level - 2, Hyderabad, India
Open to Public
Using the curriculum vitae and patent data of inventors at the Intel Corporation, we argue and demonstrate that an inventor’s position within a firm’s social and knowledge networks has varying effects on the likelihood of her outward mobility. This effect also varies depending on the direction of the mobility: moving to a new employer vs. starting a new venture. Our competing risk model indicates that counter to prevailing views, individuals who are embedded in the social network are more likely to move to a new employer but less likely to join or form a spinout. Inventors whose others depend on their knowledge, making their departure potentially more disruptive, are less likely to leave. By decoupling the social and knowledge networks we challenge the common wisdom that both are isomorphic, while providing a more nuanced view on the extent to which skilled employees are “free to leave at will.” We maintain that to fully appreciate the likelihood of outward mobility, we must consider the employees’ positions in the social and knowledge networks, and the target of their future employment. Our results provide a strong basis for cross-disciplinary discussions on topics associated with employees’ moves to new employers and their entrepreneurship.