Skip to main content

Haifeng Wang

Haifeng Wang
PhD Student | Management and Human Resources
Management and Human Resources
5268 Grainger Hall


Haifeng is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Management and Human Resources at the Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on employee mobility, knowledge spillover, and employee entrepreneurship, particularly the labor market frictions that impact human resource-based competitive advantage.

Haifeng’s dissertation examines the factors influencing firms’ noncompete agreements (NCAs) enforcement and the subsequent outcomes, including the organizational and contextual drivers of NCA enforcement and the effects of NCA enforcement on employee mobility, productivity, and spinouts. The SMS Will Mitchell dissertation research grant has supported this project.

This project aims to investigate the contextual and organizational factors that drive NCA enforcement within firms and further explore the impact of a firm’s strong reputation in NCA enforcement on employee mobility, knowledge productivity, and entrepreneurial choices. Empirically, he manually collected lawsuits from various sources such as Bloomberg Law and PACER, utilized text analysis to identify cases of employers suing employees for breaching NCAs, and generated variables related to litigation for further examinations. For the results, he finds that, for instance, noncompete litigation is very common in service-intensive industries such as insurance and consulting, despite these industries are not among the highest in terms of use. The reverse is true for high-tech firms that are knowledge-intensive. He also finds that within the insurance industry, firms that use independent agent model are much more likely to litigate for noncompete violations. He attributes these results to a legal uncertainty of whether the noncompete is promissory that stems from the close relationship between the agent and the customer, and the existence of other protective measures.

Haifeng is also conducting another entrepreneurship project that explores how early employment organizational context influences employees’ human capital accumulation and entrepreneurial transition.


Selected Published Journal Articles

Wang, H. & Coff, R. (2022). On the Matter of How Much Industry Matters Strategic Management Review