Inter- and intrafirm managerial mobility has emerged as a topic of growing interest among management and organizational scholars. The movement of managers within and between organizations is one of the fundamental processes that links organizations and labor markets and has been the focus of research in organizational behavior, strategy, organization theory, and entrepreneurship for more than 50 years. Managerial mobility affects career opportunities and labor market outcomes for individual managers; influences the structure, strategy, routines, and processes of organizations; and shapes the environments within which organizations operate. Thus, managerial mobility research is a key to unlocking our understanding of a wide range of organizational behaviors and outcomes at several different analytical levels.
Readers are introduced to the topic of managerial mobility and the vast body of existing research is summarized here. To help researchers understand the phenomenon, “managerial mobility” is distinguished from the more general topic of “employee mobility,” various terms that researchers have used to characterize managerial mobility processes are defined, and a distinction is made between intra- and interorganizational mobility. Next, because managerial mobility is a complex process, relevant research on the antecedents of managerial mobility is identified, categorizing some of the most important predictors into individual-, organizational-, and environmental-level antecedents. To demonstrate to researchers the importance of studying managerial mobility, some of the significant consequences of managerial mobility are highlighted, again distinguishing between consequences for individuals, organizations, and the environments in which they reside. To conclude, four potential directions for research to guide scholars and help set a research agenda on lines of inquiry on intra- and interorganizational managerial mobility are offered.