Research shows manager movement impacts subordinates’ careers

Think ahead. The manager who rewards you with raises, bonuses and career opportunities could be replaced by a new boss who puts the brakes on your growth.

New research co-authored by ILR Associate Professor JR Keller indicates that a manager’s influence on your career can be felt even after he or she leaves for a new position, and that departure can hasten an employee’s movement within the firm.

“We spend a lot of time thinking about how employees build their careers, but employees have managers and those managers have careers of their own,” said Keller, who studies how firms make hiring decisions and individual make career choices, with a particular interest in how the dynamics shape how employees change jobs within firms. “Often individual employees are affected by the moves that their managers make. Employees should be aware that those moves by their managers are going to have consequences for their own careers, and they need to proactively think ahead.”

In the study, “My Manager Moved! Manager Mobility and Subordinates’ Career Outcomes,” Keller and his coauthors, Minseo Baek and Matthew Bidwell, both of the Wharton School, found that when an employee’s manager left, their annual bonuses decreased by 4%, while their long-term incentives, such as stock options, decreased by 17%.

The full version of this story appears on the ILR website.

Julie Greco is a senior communications specialist in the ILR School

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