Star Employees: Conceptualization, Scale Development, and Measurement Validation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



College of Business


The growth in sectors demanding highly productive individuals shows no signs of abating. Extant scholarship exploring the nexus between market dynamism and human capital almost unanimously propounds the importance of attracting and retaining star performers. Yet, a growing body of research suggests that the roles and impacts of stars are quite complex and that any meaningful assessment of the influence exerted by star performers requires deeper theorization and more sophisticated measurement tools. Stars have been defined, conceptualized, and measured inconsistently across literature, resulting in difficulties in identifying and interpreting their impact on organization-level outcomes. To address these maladies and enhance the intelligibility of the star construct, we develop and validate a parsimonious instrument to capture the multi-dimensionality of the construct. Our study indicates that the proper measurement of stars incorporates performance, status, visibility, and social capital. We discuss the implications and guidelines for using our scales in future scholarship.

Publication Title

Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings