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In this study, we examine the influence of hometown proximity on collegiate athletic recruit performance. The geographic proximity of a new recruit’s local community to a recruiting organization can influence the recruit’s performance after joining an organization. However, the direction of the effect of such proximity is not clear. Previous research suggests that human resource proximity facilitates recruits’ social embeddedness in the community in and around the recruiting organization. In turn, proximity may increase recruit performance by facilitating learning, trust-building, and social commitment. However, prior research also suggests that proximity could have some negative influences. Our empirical analysis of collegiate basketball recruits suggests that the geographic proximity of an organization to a new recruit’s hometown generally has a positive influence on both individual and team performance. However, proximity may become a disadvantage when there is a disruptive, involuntary coaching change after the recruit joins the organization.
Barden is with the College of Business at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Mitchell and Lee are with the Dept. of Management and Organization, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Bluhm is with the Dept. of Management, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO.