THE IMPACT OF THE HETEROGENEITY OF EMPLOYEES’ QUALIFICATIONS ON FIRM-LEVEL INNOVATION: EVIDENCE FROM NIGERIAN FIRMS

International Journal of Innovation Management, Ahead of Print.
The capacity to generate knowledge and disseminate it in a firm is considered a primary strategic competence to attaining competitive gain. Knowledge literature reveals how relevant it is to increase interest in recognising and managing knowledge inherent in workforces and other firms’ dynamic capabilities that allow them to benefit from available knowledge within the milieu. In recognising the importance of employees’ baggage of knowledge, this study uses the Nigerian Innovation Survey for two waves, 2008 and 2010 of 1359 repeated observations of firms in the manufacturing and service sectors to examine the interplay of firms’ dynamic capabilities and innovation optimisation. It uses a recursive bivariate probit and a Tobit model for the estimations. Evidence shows that PhD, BSc, and Diploma associate positively and significantly with the ability of the firms to introduce product innovation. On the moderating estimations, there are mixed results regarding the blend of employees’ qualifications, training and internal R&D. Based on this, while the share of the highly educated workforce supports the introduction of product innovation, it does not, however, substantially increase the probability of firm-level innovativeness regarding process innovation. Although the blend of BSc and HND with R&D supports the propensity to introduce process innovation, it results in a decline with Diploma and R&D. The implication of the results offers management some investment choices on the initiation of formal training and the management of internal R&D through employees’ expertise. This study contributes to the existing literature on the relevance of employees’ different degrees being reinforced by training and internal R&D being boosted by employees’ qualifications in supporting the development of product and process innovation.