Challenging the knowledge resources complementarity hypothesis: a counterexample

Ferran Vendrell-Herrero, Luis M. Molina-Fernandez, Oscar F. Bustinza*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Drawing on the resource-based view of the firm, and counter to the mainstream literature, we propose and empirically show that two knowledge resources can be substitutive (rather than complementary) for each other. Our test focuses on the interplay between managers’ and workers’ knowledge stock, considered as knowledge resources that firms can apply to improve innovation. We hypothesise a mutually exclusive effect of managerial experience (managers’ knowledge stock) and labour skills (workers’ knowledge stock) on product innovation. Drawing on the most recent waves of the World Bank Enterprise Survey (WBES), we construct a cross-sectional sample of 2,725 manufacturing firms. We used binary choice model to test the proposed effects. The results show negative interaction between labour skills and managers’ experience in determining the probability to achieve product innovation, putting the knowledge resource complementarity hypothesis into question, and opening an academic debate that will have implications for knowledge management practice.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalKnowledge Management Research and Practice
Early online date31 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • capabilities
  • innovation
  • interaction effects
  • knowledge resources
  • Latin America


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