ILR HR Studies Professor Shares Findings on Star Performers

podium showing first place between second and third

Cornell Chronicle's "Star Employees Get Most of the Credit - and Blame" features HR Studies Associate Professor Rebecca Kehoe's research on Star Performers.

Working with a “star” employee – someone who demonstrates exceptional performance and enjoys broad visibility relative to industry peers – offers both risks and rewards, according to new research from the ILR School.

In collaborations, stars tend to get more than their share of the credit when things go well – and more of the blame when projects don’t succeed, according to “Shadows and Shields: Stars Limit Their Collaborators’ Exposure to Attributions of Both Credit and Blame,” published Dec. 10, 2020, by Personnel Psychology.

“We look at what happens when you collaborate with a star in terms of whose getting credit when that collaboration is successful,” said Kehoe. “What we find, and this is consistent with research on the Matthew effect and other work, is that if you collaborate with a star and that collaboration is successful, the star does get more of that credit and you benefit less than if you were working with somebody that wasn’t a star. The silver lining here though is that if you collaborate with a star and that collaboration is not successful, the star takes the heat.”

To learn more about these findings, check out the CAHRScast "Managing Star Performers."