Mixed Ethnic Teams and Firm Innovation: Consequences of Internal Workings Choices of Organizations

Larissa Rabbiosi, Francesco Di Lorenzo, Anupama Phene, Paul Almeida

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The existing strategic management and innovation literature recognizes the innovation advantages gained by firms from teams that include both ethnic and non-ethnic inventors, i.e. mixed teams. We add to this stream of work by examining the choices employed by firms to reduce potential frictions that might emerge in mixed teams and to more effectively exploit the innovation opportunities offered by this mix of inventors. In particular, we consider the choices available to the firm, in terms of the approach to diversity, such as recruitment of immigrants and appointment of ethnically diverse teams, and team firm common ground. We explore how these internal workings choices and their interdependences shape the relationship between mixed teams and firm’s innovation outcomes. We analyze 35,195 teams from 225 semiconductor firms, during the period 1995 and 2013. Our results suggest that although mixed as opposed to homogenous teams are less likely to create exploratory innovation, overall their patents tend to be more valuable. It would seem that hiring immigrants in the firm enhances the negative differential in exploratory innovation between mixed and homogenous teams but that firm experience in appointing ethnically diverse teams and the team’s firm common ground reduce this difference. We show also that the moderating effects of hiring immigrants and appointing ethnically diverse teams on exploratory innovation and patent value depend on the degree (low vs. high) of a team’s firm common ground, suggesting a somewhat nuanced understanding of the interdependence between the micro (team) and macro (firm) choices of internal workings of organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventDRUID23 Conference - NOVA School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 10 Jun 202312 Jun 2023
Conference number: 44


ConferenceDRUID23 Conference
LocationNOVA School of Business and Economics
Internet address


  • Mixed teams
  • Ethnic inventors
  • Firm innovation performance
  • Semiconductor
  • Firm common ground
  • Hiring immigrants

Cite this