Employee Treatment and Firm Innovation
53 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2015 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016
Date Written: August 3, 2015
We identify firm innovation as a new channel by which employee treatment affects firm value. Growth and innovation incentive theories support positive effects of “good” employee treatment on innovation. Alternatively, entrenchment theory suggests such treatment will lead to complacency and shirking, hence deterring innovation. These opposing views merit investigation since in the “new economy,” human capital is increasingly essential to firm value and the growth and success of a firm has become more reliant on corporate innovation. Using the KLD Research & Analytics, Inc. SOCRATES database and newly acquired patent/citation data, we find an overall significant positive relationship between positive employee treatment and innovation input (R&D), quantity (Patents), and quality (Citations). Furthermore, we find that favorable employee treatment improves innovation focus – innovation projects more related to firms’ core business. These findings, robust to an alternate data source and endogeneity concerns, are consistent with the theories of growth and innovation incentive and suggest corporate innovation represents a channel by which employee treatment enhances firm value.
Keywords: Employee treatment, human capital, innovation, patents, citations
JEL Classification: G32, M14, J28, O31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation