Mounting Corporate Innovation Performance: The Effects of High-skilled Migrant Hires and Integration Capacity

Keld Laursen*, Bart Leten, Ngoc Han Nguyen, Marc Vancauteren

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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We adopt an organizational learning approach to examine how firms’ recruitment of high-skilled migrants contributes to subsequent firm-level innovation performance. We argue that due to migrants’ often different experience from that of native high-skilled workers, their perspectives on problem-solving and access to non-overlapping knowledge networks will also differ. The implied complementarity between these worker types makes migrant hires a particularly valuable resource in the context of firm-level innovation. We refine our diversity hypothesis further by predicting that migrant hires who add to the firm's cultural diversity should contribute more to firm innovation performance than new high-skilled migrant hires who do not add cultural diversity. Finally, we conjecture that firms with high integration capacity as a function of prior experience of employing high-skilled migrants should derive more innovation-related benefits from migrant hiring than firms with a low integration capacity. We track the inward mobility of high-skilled workers empirically using patents and matched employer-employee data for 16,241 Dutch firms over an 11-year period. We find support for our hypotheses.
TidsskriftResearch Policy
Udgave nummer9
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2020


  • High-skilled migration
  • Innovation
  • Immigrant/firm cultural match
  • Integration capacity