Star Scientist’s Effects on R&D Team, Colleagues, and Firm Innovative Performance


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Abstract: While star scientists are thought to have a significant impact on the innovation team, curiously we still know little about when and how they may enhance or constrain firm innovation performance. Using a longitudinal sample (2001-2010) of 649 U.S. biotechnology firms, we demonstrate that while star scientists increase their firms’ innovation productivity, their presence limits the opportunities of non-star colleagues to become an innovative leader in the team. We suggest that CEOs with innovation-related expertise better manage stars and R&D team. We find that firm innovation performance and innovation leadership among non-star scientists are greatest when both CEO inventors and star scientists are present on R&D team. Our findings highlight the dual effects of star scientists and affirm the resource orchestration view of the firm in the context of the R&D function.

Keywords: star scientists, human capital, innovative performance, star managing, biotechnology