Blinded by the sun? Celebrity-tie effects on recruitment decisions

Professor Martin Kilduff from University College London (UCL) visits Aarhus University in early March and presents research under the title "Blinded by the sun? Celebrity-tie effects on recruitment decisions".

2014.02.12 | Julia Rolsted Stacey

Drawing on insights from the literatures on social networks and organizational behaviour Martin Kilduff presents a paper on March 6, 2014 about how the presence of a celebrity tie distorts the signals that potential employers receive concerning applicants for managerial appointments.

The paper seeks to extend previous research by examining both positive and negative outcomes of celebrity connections.

“Celebrity ties help people rise to the very top of organizations”, says Martin Kilduff and continues:

“But celebrity-tied individuals, who are likely to have been promoted beyond their abilities, are at risk of demotion in subsequent promotion tournaments”.

Careers in the U.S. National Football League

Martin Kilduff and co-authors provide an analysis of 1298 coaches' careers in the 32-team U.S. national football league over 31 years.  Even when making momentous decisions – such as appointing senior executives – employers were swayed by perceptions of celebrity affiliation.

In sum, the paper contributes to signalling theory by exploring the possible distortion of human capital by social capital. The paper also exposes the dark side of social capital in positing the dangers of dependence on celebrity influence.

Innovation Management Group

“We are very pleased to welcome Martin Kilduff to the Department of Business Administration, Aarhus University. Martin’s work serves as a great inspiration and input to our own research projects in the field of innovation management and entrepreneurship, explains Professor Lars Frederiksen.

The Innovation Management Group arranges a range of seminars every year. The aim is to provide inspiration and insight from the research frontier of innovation management, strategy, entrepreneurship and organizational change.

Time and place

March 6, 2014 from 10.30-12.00 in building 1325, room 242. The seminar is open to researchers at Aarhus University.

About Martin Kilduff

  • Martin Kilduff is Professor of organizational behavior in the Department of Management Science and Innovation (MS&I) at University College London (UCL).
  • Martin Kilduff received his PhD in organizational behavior from Cornell University. Before joining UCL, Martin held positions at Cambridge University, University of Texas at Austin, Penn State and Insead.
  • Martin Kilduff's research work focuses on how individuals create, perceive and benefit from the social networks that facilitate opportunities and productivity in organizations. His research relates personality to network structure, perceived networks to actual networks, and proposes new theory concerning scientific innovation.
  • Martin Kilduff publishes regularly in the top journals in management and social psychology. From 2006-08 he served as editor of the leading theory journal – the Academy of Management Review – and is currently associate editor of Administrative Science Quarterly.

Further information

Lars Frederiksen
Professor (MSO) in Innovation Management
T: +45 8716 5182
M: +45 5360 8842

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