Gravity's pull: The identity-related motives and outcomes of hiring stars

Matthew C.B. Lyle, Rory Eckardt, Kevin G. Corley, David P. Lepak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Strategic human capital scholarship, alongside a wealth of evidence from the popular press, suggests that star employees can influence an organization's socially constructed identity. However, an overarching conceptual framework that explains these shifts has yet to emerge. In this paper, we draw upon Hatch and Schultz's (2002) theory of identity change to discuss how organizational identity-change related motives – defined as decision makers' interest in spurring changes to socially constructed, internal perceptions of their organization's central and distinctive features – act in concert with considerations of value creation and capture to influence the hiring of different identity-aspirant stars (i.e., stars that embody a desired future organizational identity). Given that stars represent catalysts for identity change that have agency and become part of the social fabric of an organization, we then explain how the mechanisms by which stars' attempts to gain or retain status – coupled with organization members' willingness to emulate their behaviors – can affect internal-oriented organizational identity change. This paper advances consideration of social-psychological factors alongside economic views of stars and offers implications for the literatures on strategic human capital and organizational identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100932
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptual
  • Organizational identity
  • Stars
  • Strategic human capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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