Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Tepper School of Business


Linda Argote


The dissertation examines how the micro processes surrounding employee mobility across boundaries affect firms’ ability to learn from their new recruits. I draw on literature from multiple disciplines, including Organizational Theory, Strategic Management, Psychology, and Entrepreneurship, to inform our understanding of employee mobility and firm capabilities. The dissertation uses multiple methods, including archival data analysis on industry-wide employee mobility, interviews with mobile employees, and a group laboratory experiment in which participants move randomly between groups. The approach taken in the dissertation advances knowledge about the relationship between employment movements and competitive advantage. The results advance our understanding of conditions that allow employee prior experiences to provide vital resources to their new firms. In particular, the results show that recruits whose backgrounds match the hiring firm’s strategic focus and new hires who have worked as generalists allow for added benefits for their hiring firms.