Socioeconomic Mobility and Talent Utilization of Workers from Poorer Backgrounds: The Overlooked Importance of Within-Organization Dynamics

Pitesa, M and Pillutla, M (2019) Socioeconomic Mobility and Talent Utilization of Workers from Poorer Backgrounds: The Overlooked Importance of Within-Organization Dynamics. Academy of Management Annals, 13 (2). pp. 737-769.

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Socioeconomic mobility, or the ability of individuals to improve their socioeconomic standing through merit-based contributions, is a fundamental ideal of modern societies. The key focus of societal efforts to ensure socioeconomic mobility has been on the provision of educational opportunities. We review evidence that even with the same education and job opportunities, being born into a poorer family undermines socioeconomic mobility because of processes occurring within organizations. The burden of poorer background might, ceteris paribus, be economically comparable to the gender gap. We argue that in the societal and scientific effort to promote socioeconomic mobility, the key context in which mobility is supposed to happen—organizations—and the key part of the life of people striving toward socioeconomic advancement—that as working adults—have been overlooked. We integrate the organizational literature, pointing to key within-organizational processes impacting objective (socioeconomic) success with research, some emergent in organizational sciences and some disciplinary, on when, why, and how people from poorer backgrounds behave or are treated by others in the relevant situations. Integrating these literatures generates a novel and useful framework for identifying issues people born into poorer families face as employees, systematizes extant evidence and makes it more accessible to organizational scientists, and allows us to lay the agenda for future organizational scholarship. Our hope is that the current review will help bring organizational science—in our view, the best equipped domain of scholarship for studying how workers from different backgrounds fare in organizations—to the forefront of the quest for promoting socioeconomic mobility of workers coming from poorer families.

Affiliation: Indian School of Business
ISB Creiators:
ISB Creators
Pillutla, M 0000-0001-5529-5094
Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The research article was published by the author with the affiliation of London Business School
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mobility, Talent Utilization, Organization Dynamics
Subjects: Organization Behavior
Depositing User: Gurusrinivasan K
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2021 06:27
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2021 06:28
Publisher URL:
Publisher OA policy:
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Statistics for DESI ePrint 1542 Statistics for this ePrint Item