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Directors’ Human Capital, Firm Strategy, and Firm Performance

Journal of Management and Governance, DOI:10.1007/s10997-014-9304-y, Forthcoming

46 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2011 Last revised: 23 Dec 2014

Pascal A. Gantenbein

University of Basel

Christophe Volonté

University of Basel; University of Konstanz

Date Written: December 23, 2014


Ideally, corporations are directed by boards whose directors provide valuable human capital that match the firms’ strategy. We investigate how directors’ human capital (international experience, industrial know-how, CEO experience, and financial know-how) affects firm performance including the firm’s strategy (diversification and internationalization) and how human capital is related to acquisition strategies (non-diversifying and international acquisitions). Our sample consists of 560 firm-year observations in Switzerland. We find empirical evidence that directors’ human capital affects firm performance and that this relationship depends on the firm’s strategy. Furthermore, human capital is also correlated with acquisition strategy. The study shows that focusing on board independence and compliance issues may be unrewarding in board research and practice.

Keywords: corporate governance; board of directors; resource dependence theory (RDT); agency theory; human capital; firm performance

JEL Classification: G30, G34, G38

Suggested Citation

Gantenbein, Pascal A. and Volonté, Christophe, Directors’ Human Capital, Firm Strategy, and Firm Performance (December 23, 2014). Journal of Management and Governance, DOI:10.1007/s10997-014-9304-y, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Pascal Gantenbein

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003


Christophe Volonté (Contact Author)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, CH-4002

University of Konstanz ( email )

Fach D-144
Universitätsstraße 10
Konstanz, D-78457

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