In Search for New Knowledge: When Does Hiring Foreign R&D Workers Foster Exploration?

Wolf-Hendrik Uhlbach, Paul-Emmanuel Anckaert

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This paper examines how firms’ recruitment of high-skilled foreign R&D workers affects firm-level exploration. We argue that by hiring foreign R&D workers, firms are more likely to gain access to novel and complementary knowledge, which will foster exploration. Examining a sample of 376 Danish R&D active firms over the period from 2001 to 2013, we show the effect is most pronounced when foreign R&D hires originate from geographical backgrounds that are represented to a lesser extent within firms’ incumbent R&D workforce. Moreover, we show that this effect holds, even when the cognitive distance between these new hires and firms’ incumbent R&D workforce is low. Finally, we highlight the temporary nature of this “exploration premium” as these results only hold for newly hired foreign workers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-First Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2021
Article number210
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management - Online, Virtual, Online
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021
Conference number: 81


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings

Bibliographical note

Conference entry title: "In search for new knowledge: When does hiring foreign R&D workers foster exploration?".


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