Gender diversity in R&D teams and innovation efficiency: Role of the innovation context

Luqun Xie, Jieyu Zhou, Qingqing Zong, Qian Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


How gender diversity affects the innovation performance under different innovation contexts has been a complex and unsolved puzzle in the innovation literature. This study aims to examine the effect of gender diversity within research and development (R&D) teams on firms’ innovation efficiency, which is defined as their capability to generate new product sales per unit of R&D investment. We argue that gender diversity in R&D teams can promote innovation efficiency by providing informational and social benefits throughout the innovation process. More importantly, we propose that this positive effect will be enhanced when task intensity or complexity is high as well as when market competition or market uncertainty is high. With a unique dataset of manufacturing firms in a coastal province of China from 2009 to 2013, we find strong empirical evidence for our theoretical framework. Ultimately, our study provides several managerial and policy implications to the issues related with female R&D employees.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103885
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Innovation efficiency
  • R&D team gender diversity
  • Informational benefit
  • Social benefit

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