Do some stars shine brighter than others? The role of female stars in inventor teams

Schmallenbach, Leo ; Reber, Mona ; Singh, Himani

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2020
Conference title: 2020 DRUID PhD Academy Conference
Location of the conference venue: Odense, Denmark
Date of the conference: 16.-17.01.2020
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > Organisation und Innovation (Hoisl 2015-)
Subject: 650 Management
Abstract: This paper draws attention to female stars, an underrepresented group of star knowledge workers, whose collaborative behavior is likely to differ from that of male stars. Starknowledge workersplay a key role in the generation of knowledge and benefit organizations through disproportionate individual contributions and knowledge spillovers to others. The extent of knowledge spillover in teams, however, largely depends on the star’s collaborative behavior. Arguing that women–acting in line with gender role expectations –tend to be more collaborative, we hypothesize that the presence of a female star should foster team innovative performance because of more balancedinteractions and knowledge flows. Empirically, we rely on a sample of star inventors, representingknowledge workers, and their patents filed at the US patent office in the period of 1990-2010. To test the hypothesis, we use the breadth inknowledge recombination of technological areas to proxy innovative performance and compare patents involving a female star to those of male stars. Employing a large set of controls, we find thatteamswithfemale stars combine5% more technological classes,on average. Our findings on thebehaviors and performance of female stars may help leverage the untapped potential of women in many knowledge-based industries.

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