Attracting knowledge workers to high-tech ventures: a signaling perspective on employee mobility

Kun Zhang*, Jeffrey J. Reuer*, Francisco Morales*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Strategy and entrepreneurship scholars have identified many benefits of signaling for new ventures to access resources in financial and other factor markets. However, scholars have not studied the extent to which new ventures can employ signals to hire new talent. This chapter investigates inventor mobility across biopharmaceutical new ventures and examines the effects of two signals, venture capitalist (VC) prominence and alliance network prominence. We suggest that VC prominence and alliance network prominence can provide assurances to prospective employees about a venture’s resources and prospects, thereby facilitating inventor mobility owing to enhanced labor market efficiency. Empirical evidence from biopharmaceutical startups shows that new ventures can benefit from signals emanating from their ties to VCs and alliance partners and attract inventors to join them. We also find that these signaling effects attenuate as information asymmetry diminishes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmployee Inter- and Intra-Firm Mobility
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Strategic Management
ISSN (Print)0742-3322

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Emerald Publishing Limited All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.


  • mobility
  • signaling
  • VC prominence
  • alliance network prominence


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