Where the Stars Still Shine: Some Effects of Star‐Performers‐Turned‐Managers on Organizational Performance

Jongsoo Kim, Richard Makadok*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research Summary
Do former star performers become superior managers? If so, why? Using performance data from a professional sports league, this study finds that organizational performance is greater under star-performers-turned-managers (SPTMs) than other managers. We develop a typology of six causal mechanisms by which SPTMs might affect organizational performance, and we indirectly test for each of them using data from a professional sports league. Our results indicate that SPTMs outperform other managers, and that this benefit is due to their role modeling and their superior ability to train and incentivize subordinates.

Managerial Summary
Organizations are often, but not always, led by managers who previously achieved outstanding performance in an individual contributor role. Do such star-performers-turned-managers (SPTMs) benefit an organization's performance more than other managers? If so, why? Our statistical analysis finds that National Basketball Association (NBA) teams managed by head coaches who had previously been All-Star NBA players win games more often than other NBA teams, and also that this effect is due to a combination of SPTMs serving as a role model for their players, as well as training and incentivizing their players better.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages45
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • incentivizing
  • role modeling
  • star performer turned manager (SPTM)
  • strategic human capital
  • training
  • star-performer-turned-manager (SPTM)


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