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Experience matters: The role of academic scientist mobility for industrial innovation


Kaiser, Ulrich; Kongsted, Hans C; Laursen, Keld; Ejsing, Ann-Kathrine (2018). Experience matters: The role of academic scientist mobility for industrial innovation. Strategic Management Journal, 39(7):1935-1958.

Abstract

Research Summary: A learning-by-hiring approach is used to scrutinize scientists' mobility in relation to the recruiting firms' subsequent innovation output. Our starting point is that among firm hires, individuals with university research experience—hired from universities or firms—can be particularly valuable. However, conflicting institutional logics between academia and industry makes working with academic scientists challenging at times for firms. We suggest two solutions to this difficulty: hiring “ambidextrous” individuals with a mix of experience of university research and working for a technologically advanced firm, and a strong organizational research culture in the recruiting firm reflected by the presence of a scientist on the top management team. We track the mobility of R\&D workers empirically using patent and linked employer-employee data. Managerial Summary: An important way to make organizations more innovative is hiring individual researchers with the right types of skills and experience. We show that individuals with university research experience beyond their final degree are particularly likely to help boost firm-level innovation output after hiring compared to R\&D workers with other types of skills and experience. However, to obtain good returns to innovation from hiring such individuals, firms need a university research–friendly organizational culture when hiring individuals with university research experience, from either firms or academia.

Abstract

Research Summary: A learning-by-hiring approach is used to scrutinize scientists' mobility in relation to the recruiting firms' subsequent innovation output. Our starting point is that among firm hires, individuals with university research experience—hired from universities or firms—can be particularly valuable. However, conflicting institutional logics between academia and industry makes working with academic scientists challenging at times for firms. We suggest two solutions to this difficulty: hiring “ambidextrous” individuals with a mix of experience of university research and working for a technologically advanced firm, and a strong organizational research culture in the recruiting firm reflected by the presence of a scientist on the top management team. We track the mobility of R\&D workers empirically using patent and linked employer-employee data. Managerial Summary: An important way to make organizations more innovative is hiring individual researchers with the right types of skills and experience. We show that individuals with university research experience beyond their final degree are particularly likely to help boost firm-level innovation output after hiring compared to R\&D workers with other types of skills and experience. However, to obtain good returns to innovation from hiring such individuals, firms need a university research–friendly organizational culture when hiring individuals with university research experience, from either firms or academia.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:12 June 2018
Deposited On:21 Aug 2019 15:42
Last Modified:25 Sep 2019 00:42
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0143-2095
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.2907
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:17281

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