Individualistic CEO and corporate innovation: Evidence from U.S. frontier culture

Lei Gao, Jianlei Han, Zheyao Pan, Huixuan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We study the relationship between a CEO’s individualistic cultural background and corporate innovation. Using hand-collected data on the birthplaces of U.S.-born CEOs, we present robust evidence demonstrating that CEOs born in frontier counties with a higher level of individualistic culture are associated with superior corporate innovation outcomes. Firms led by these CEOs exhibit higher levels of both quantity and quality in their innovation output, placing a greater emphasis on breakthrough innovation compared to firms led by CEOs born elsewhere. Furthermore, our findings are consistent with the notion that individualistic CEOs cultivate an innovation-oriented corporate culture and enhance human capital by attracting a greater inflow of inventors, thereby promoting corporate innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104852
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Innovation
  • Culture
  • Individualism
  • Frontier history
  • Human capital


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