Academy fellow independent directors and innovation

Sihai Li, Yi Quan*, Gary Gang Tian, Kun Tracy Wang, Stella Huiying Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Drawing on human capital theory, this paper develops a contingency approach to explore how independent directors’ scarce human capital affects innovation investment intensity and innovation outputs in the Chinese context. Controlling for the presence of ordinary technical independent directors (TIDs) and a range of other factors, we find that academy fellow independent directors (AFIDs) have an incremental positive effect on innovation investment intensity and innovation outputs, and that this effect exists only for non–state-owned enterprises (non-SOEs), which are more constrained in their ability and resources to pursue value-enhancing innovation activities. Our channel analyses suggest that AFIDs play a strong resource provision role in enhancing innovation. However, their positive role in promoting impactful innovation activities diminishes when they face intensified government intervention and political risk. We clearly document that regulations that are designed to impose only intense external monitoring of independent directors may have unintended negative consequences on innovation, particularly when firms’ demands for resource provision are intense, as is the case with firm innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-148
Number of pages46
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Academy fellow independent directors
  • Government intervention
  • Human capital theory
  • Innovation
  • Ownership


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