Going Public and the Internal Organization of the Firm

We examine how firms adapt their organization when they go public. To conform with the requirements of public capital markets, we expect IPO firms to become more organized, making the firm more accountable and its human capital more easily replaceable. We find that IPO firms transform into a more hierarchical organization with smaller departments. Managerial oversight increases. Organizational functions dedicated to accounting, finance, information and communication, and human resources become much more prominent. Employee turnover is sizeable and directly related to changes in hierarchical layers. New hires are better educated, but younger and less experienced than incumbents, which reflects the staffing needs of a more hierarchical organization. Wage inequality increases as firms become more hierarchical. Overall, going public is associated with a comprehensive transformation of the firm's organization which becomes geared towards efficiently operating a public firm.

19. May 2022

Authors Daniel Bias Benjamin Lochner Stefan Obernberger Merih Sevilir

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