Entrepreneurial Human Capital and Firm Innovation

Louise Lindbjerg, Theodor Vladasel

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Using a human capital lens, we argue that former entrepreneurs are endowed with execution skills: a generalist ability to create and exploit new market opportunities by acquiring and mobilizing resources. We propose that entrepreneurial human capital enhances innovation inside established firms by developing new uses for existing, but possibly underused knowledge. Combining Community Innovation Survey and register data from Denmark, we find that entrepreneurial hires are associated with higher sales from innovation, with stronger effects for incremental rather than radical innovation. Hiring entrepreneurs in middle management is particularly important for firm innovation, consistent with execution skills’ higher effectiveness when paired with broader decision rights and resource access. Together, our findings suggest that entrepreneurial hires provide a way for firms to potentially appropriate a larger share of the value their knowledge generates.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventDRUID21 Conference - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 18 Oct 202120 Oct 2021
Conference number: 42


ConferenceDRUID21 Conference
LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Execution
  • Human capital
  • Innovation
  • Learning by hiring
  • Middle management

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