How is the performance of a knowledge worker affected by the departure of a colleague? While prior research has highlighted the aggregate impact of knowledge worker mobility on firms, in this chapter we look inside the firm, to explore the individual-level impact of a coworker's departure on the performance of a remaining employee. We propose that the departure of a coworker can change the remaining employee's access to knowledge, but the implications of such changes will depend on the nature of the coworker's relationship with the employee: the employee's performance will be negatively affected to the extent that the relationship is collaborative, but it will be positively affected to the extent that the relationship is competitive. Moreover, these effects will be magnified to the extent that the employee was dependent on the coworker for knowledge access prior to the move, but weakened to the extent that the relationship persists after the move. Our knowledge-based perspective on coworker departures advances research on employee mobility and knowledge flows by highlighting the variety of changes in knowledge access that may result when a colleague leaves the firm, and illuminating the implications of these changes for the performance of employees who remain behind.
We would like to thank our colleagues who provided valuable feedback on early drafts of this paper: Matthew Bidwell, Drew Carton, Katherine Klein, Nancy Rothbard, and Basima Tewfik. We would also like to thank the editors, Bruno Cirillo and Daniel Tzabbar, and the reviewers, Elisa Operti and Srikanth Paruchuri, for their helpful guidance and suggestions throughout the review process.
Anderson, T. and Haas, M.R. (2020), "My Colleague Just Left! A Knowledge-based Perspective on Coworker Departures", Tzabbar, D. and Cirillo, B. (Ed.) Employee Inter- and Intra-Firm Mobility (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 41), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 221-239. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0742-332220200000041014Download as .RIS
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