“Indirect” impact of high-performers on their subordinates’ careers
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Studies propound that the intentional effort of the managers to contribute towards their subordinates’ growth and satisfaction leads to a positive impact on the latter’s career advancement (Dulebohn et al., 2012; Scandura & Schriesheim, 1994). We posit that in addition to this “direct” impact, high-performers can have an impact on their subordinates’ careers advancement even without making any deliberate effort towards the same. The primary focus of our study is this “indirect” impact which can be attributed to the inherent characteristics of high-performers. Our study explores job competencies and networking abilities as the two characteristics of high-performers that cognize “indirect” impact, along with other mediating variables. Social Learning Theory (SLT) (Bandura, 1977; Weiss, 1977) & Social Identification Theory (SIT) (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) form the theoretical foundation of “indirect” impact. SLT predicts and forms the underlying construct for emulation of the characteristics of the high-performers by their subordinates. The study was done in two phases. In the first phase, we collected data on the variables from our model from a sample of 343 subordinates and 240 managers to understand the relationship between the characteristics of the manager and their impact on subordinates. The results partially supported our model. Considering that there is inadequate research on HRM’s perspective on high-performers and their subordinates’ careers, we further looked at this perspective through a qualitative study. Through semi-structured interviews with senior HR managers, the application of “indirect” impact through HR processes and policies was explored. This study provides an unexplored though potentially prolific field of research in the domain of manager-subordinate dyads. It opens up a new area where we can understand “indirect” impact in addition to “direct” impact. The model becomes imperative in the absence of extra-role behaviours of high-performing managers and provides an alternative to HR to transfer learning from managers to subordinates and to create pools of high-performance work ethic at the workplace. Theoretically, this model gives us an alternative framework using Social Learning Theory to elucidate the positive impact of managers on their subordinates.
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