The voluntary flow of R&D employees into and out of the organization allows the regeneration of ideas and knowledge within the organization, but it also disrupt the communication and working routines. This study conceptualizes the effect of R&D worker flows on the inventive output of firms, as resulting from the direction (inbound/outbound), the levels, as well as the composition of these flows. Empirically, we use biannual data on French firms involved in R&D activities between 2007 and 2015. Results suggest that the levels of inbound R&D worker flows have an inverted u-shaped effect on the inventive output of the firm. Although the levels of outbound R&D worker flows have a negative effect on the inventive output of the firm, for large firms, this effect follows an inverted u-shaped curve. Our findings also suggest that the diversity of the R&D worker flows (in terms of distinct professional experience moderates this effect. We discuss the implications of these results for theory and policy.
About Isabel M. Bodas Freitas
Isabel M. Bodas Freitas is Professor of technology and innovation management at Grenoble Ecole de Management. She received her PhD in Science and Technology Policy from SPRU, University of Sussex, UK. Her main research interests include the management and economics of innovation, with particular emphasis on the process of knowledge development and diffusion in different organizational and industry contexts. Her research also explores university-industry links, open innovation, entrepreneurship and innovation policy.