Research Seminar: What causes a star to shine? Evidence from the Manhattan Project
Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business invites you to the Research Seminar titled "What causes a star to shine? Evidence from the Manhattan Project" by Dr. Nathan Betancourt.
Star scientists are an important source of novel knowledge and, consequently, highly sought after by organizations. Because novel ideas rarely originate in a single person’s mind, contemporary research views their creation as a social phenomenon; stars generate novelty by (re)combining the different information, perspectives, and experiences that exist within their social and organizational context. Inspired by recent work that connects stars’ work environment to their productivity, this manuscript employs an aspirational and information-processing capability lens to uncover variance among star scientists in their translation of diversity into novelty. For the aspirational lens, we distinguish between rising and established stars. For the information-processing capability lens, we differentiate between specialist and generalist star scientists. We use participation in the Manhattan Project, a large-scale research project that created the atomic bomb, as a quasi-natural experiment to uncover how stars are influenced by the diversity in backgrounds in their teams. We show that diversity has an overall impact on the novelty of star scientists’ knowledge output. This influence is concentrated among rising stars and generalist stars rather than established stars and specialist stars.
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