Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Corey Miller (Committee Chair), Gary Burns (Committee Co-Chair), Nathan Bowling (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Star employees have significant influences on the successes or failures of organizations. Current research on stars has not addressed who a star is or how stars are different from other good employees. In this study I tested the efficacy of a proposed definition of star employees and verified the accuracy of other previously established characteristics and behaviors associated with stars. In addition, I qualitatively explored managers’ perceptions of star employees. The study consisted of two separate samples: managers identified on MTurk (n = 40) and high-level executives from various industries (n = 46). Participants provided a series of open responses and ratings of both a star employee and an above average non-star employee. Results show strong support for previous findings within the literature and offer additional information regarding the existence and importance of specific characteristics and behaviors which differentiate star employees from other high-performers. Overall, performance was found to be the most important differentiator of stars. Initiative, leadership, prosocial behaviors, and social skills were all found to be important star attributes.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded