Sink or Swim: The Role of Workplace Context in Shaping Career Advancement and Human-Capital Development
MetadataShow full item record
CitationChattopadhyay, Shinjinee, and Prithwiraj Choudhury. "Sink or Swim: The Role of Workplace Context in Shaping Career Advancement and Human-Capital Development." Organization Science (forthcoming).
AbstractWe develop and test predictions on how early-career challenges arising from the workplace context affect short- and long-term career advancement of individuals. Typically an organization’s decision to deploy a manager to one of several possible contexts is endogenous to unobservable factors, and selection makes it challenging to disentangle the effect of workplace context on individual career advancement. We work around this problem by studying an organization, the Indian Administrative Services, which deploys entry-level managers quasi-randomly across India. We find that managers deployed to more challenging contexts early in their careers experience faster career advancement in the short term. We present suggestive evidence that this is because challenging contexts provide managers more opportunities to develop skills (“crucible experiences”) and a greater motivation to relocate out of the challenging context. We also find that managers deployed to a challenging context early in their careers continue to experience faster advancement in the long term, suggesting that initial deployment to a challenging context is associated with human capital development. Managers initially deployed to more challenging contexts were not, however, more likely to break into the upper echelons of the organization.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:32062561
- HBS Scholarly Articles