Educate to innovate: STEM directors and corporate innovation

Tien Shih HSIEH, Jeong Bon KIM, Ray R. WANG, Zhihong WANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Using a sample of 14,245 firm-year observations from 2,579 listed firms in the Chinese capital market, this study investigates whether board directors with an educational background in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are associated with greater corporate innovation. The results suggest that such directors have significant beneficial effects on corporate innovation activities. This study provides novel empirical evidence supporting resource dependence theory and extends the labor economics literature regarding the value of STEM graduates for corporate innovation. The findings have significant implications for policymakers and practitioners, showing that firms with a strategic focus on innovation may find it beneficial to appoint more directors with a background in STEM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Our paper has greatly benefitted from the insightful comments and constructive suggestions of Yonggui Wang (the editor) and three anonymous reviewers throughout multiple rounds of the review process. Jeong-Bon Kim acknowledges financial support from the City University of Hong Kong . Ray R. Wang acknowledges financial support from the Hong Kong Baptist University. All errors are our own.


  • Board of directors
  • Corporate innovation
  • STEM
  • STEM directors


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