Agnes Guenther & J. Myles Shaver (2023)
Re-Examining the Industry Experience–Venture Survival Relationship
Strategy Science, Articles in Advance, pp. 1–18 ISSN 2333-2050 (print), ISSN 2333-2077 (online) and

We re-examine the finding that new ventures employing individuals with industry experience have survival advantages and conclude that it is unlikely a reflection of the underlying theoretical mechanism advanced in the literature—individuals applying their industry-specific knowledge. We come to this conclusion by leveraging detailed linked employer-employee data from Denmark and conducting an inferred pattern analysis where we analyze several empirical relationships that we interpret in tandem. After replicating the industry experience–venture survival relationship, we identify several empirical puzzles if the underlying causal mechanism is leveraging industry-specific knowledge. In light of these puzzles, analysis of their robustness, and initial exploratory empirical investigations, we propose that other human capital characteristics that correlate with industry experience (i.e., overall experience and wages) are better explanatory factors. The analysis illustrates how the data-grounded steps of an inferred pattern analysis can guide future theoretical development and empirical investigations to identify the causal mechanism underlying a well-established empirical relationship in the literature.

Working papers

Agnes Guenther & Jay B. Barney (2023)
Does Firm-Specific Human Capital Increase or Decrease Mobility?

An ongoing debate in the field of strategic human capital is whether high levels of firm-specific human capital decrease or increase employee mobility. Some argue that firm-specific human capital limits employment options, thus reducing mobility. Others argue that firm-specific human capital, because it signals an employees’ willingness and ability to make such investments, is broadly valuable and increases mobility. Empirical findings using tenure as a measure of firm-specific human capital provide mixed results. Addressing the puzzle, this paper suggests that whether firm-specific human capital decreases or increases employee mobility depends on the extent to which an employee’s current firm relies on team production to generate economic value. Analysis of linked employer-employee data on 1,024 R&D workers in acquired firms provides support for this idea. Implications for human capital theory are discussed.

Agnes Guenther (2023)
Complementary Human Capital and Post-Acquisition Employee Mobility

Much of the literature on how acquisitions impact employee mobility has focused on the psychological consequences of acquisitions on employees. This study explores an alternative explanation of employee decisions to leave an acquired firm or not: potential changes in individuals’ post-acquisition productivity that would occur if the individual decided to leave the firm. It suggests that employees working in target firms with high levels of complementary human capital are less likely to leave post-acquisition because they may face difficulties in realizing the same level of productivity elsewhere, which reduces their ability to appropriate some of the value of their human capital. In line with the theorized mechanism, the relationship between the level of complementary human capital in a target firm pre-acquisition and employee post-acquisition mobility is attenuated by (1) the likelihood of complementary human capital being disrupted by the acquisition itself, (2) an employee’s reliance on her general human capital, and (3) her replaceability via the external labor market. Implications for the literature on acquisitions and on complementary human capital are discussed.

Agnes Guenther, Francesco Di Lorenzo & HC Kongsted (2022)
Managerial reconfiguration in acquisitions

Agnes Guenther, Andreas Distel & Wolfgang Sofka (2023)
Salary Comparison within marriages and its effect on the salary negotiations of R&D workers

R&D workers are of strategic importance for firms because they accumulate tacit knowledge about their employers’ technologies. They have substantial bargaining power about their wages because this knowledge would be attractive for competitors but hard to replace by their existing employers. While these conditions are well understood, we know comparatively little about when R&D workers are motivated to negotiate aggressively for higher wages. We draw on theoretical mechanisms from social comparisons within marriages in social psychology and reason that R&D workers who earn less than their spouses will negotiate higher wage increases. Further, we propose that social norms make this effect stronger for male R&D workers who are traditionally considered as the breadwinners in households as well as for R&D workers who have a relatively higher-ranked job than their spouses which makes them sensitive to seeing their status threatened. We test and support these hypotheses for 70,312 married R&D workers in 3,710 unique firms in Denmark between 2008 and 2016.

Jay B. Barney & Agnes Guenther.
“Firms” can be Stakeholders, too.

Budgets and returns in private research funding

Referred publications outside of management

Agnes Guenther, Boris Eisenbart & Andy Dong (2021)
Creativity and successful product concept selection for innovation. International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, 9(1), 3-19. doi:10.1080/21650349.2020.1858970

Selecting novel product concepts for further development into successful innovations entails decision making under conditions of high uncertainty. The literature discusses several influencing factors for making accurate decisions in such situations, such as domain expertise to evaluate technical feasibility and market potential. Recent scholarship increasingly highlights the decision makers’ personal creative capabilities to have an important influence in dealing with uncertain options. This article examines an individual’s creativity and its relation to the individual’s propensity to select novel product concepts and to choose product concepts correctly for further development. We present an experimental study showing that an individual’s level of creativity increases the likelihood of accepting novel product concepts without negatively affecting decision accuracy. Domain expertise operationalized as familiarity with the intended, central use case or technology in the product concept neither influences the likelihood of accepting new product concepts nor decision accuracy. These findings have strong implications for companies in relation to managing individuals selecting product concepts for further development in early stages of the innovation process.

Oehmen, J., Guenther, A., Herrmann, J., Schulte, J., & Willumsen, P. (2020) Risk Management in product development: Risk identification, assessment, and mitigation – a literature review. Proceedings of the Design Society: DESIGN Conference, 1, 657-666. doi:10.1017/dsd.2020.27

Guenther, A., Eisenbart, B., Dong, A., (2017)
Creativity as a way to innovate successfully.
In: Proceedings of the 21th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED17), Vol. 8: Human Behavior in Design, Canada. ISBN: 978-1-904770-96-4