Profile: John McCarthy

Ph.D. Candidate


His research specializes in organizational behavior and social network theory. He is passionate about unpacking the historical nature of workplace relationships and their lasting implications for organizationally relevant attitudes and behaviors. For example, it is often seen as axiomatic in the social capital literature that relationships require ongoing investment to remain valuable (Coleman, 1990; Burt, 1998; Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998; Adler and Kwon, 2002) and as a consequence social network research has focused almost exclusively on relationships that are active and ongoing. Challenging this view, a study from my dissertation presented evidence that intra-organizational “dormant ties” psychologically anchor workers to their organization and also leave residues, or imprints, that affect organizational outcomes long after communication comes to an end. A version of this chapter was nominated for the 2014 Best Paper Proceedings at Academy of Management and is currently under review at Administrative Science Quarterly. Relatedly, he is also co-authoring a “big data” research project (with colleagues from Wharton and Rotman business schools) that examines the behavioral imprints left by call center workers’ first supervisors. Their preliminary findings suggest that the characteristics of a worker’s initial supervisor continue to affect the worker’s behavior long after he or she moves on to new supervisors. Naturally, these findings have direct implications for HR, including job rotation plans, reassignments, and career mobility more generally.

His research has already appeared in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals, including Personnel Psychology, British Journal of Industrial Relations (third highest impact factor for industrial relations), and Advances in Industrial Relations. Popular media outlets such as the LA TimesThe New York Times, and The Center for American Progress have also cited my research.  Many of his research projects have been generously funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2009-2013) and by the US Department of Labor (2008). 

  • Education

    BA, English (High Honors), Rutgers University (2007)

  • Research Initiatives

    His research interests include Worker Centers and community organizations, with a particular focus in networking problems that arise between organizations.

  • Files