The founder as the microfoundation of slack resource and firms' R&D investment

Da Teng, Chengchun Li, Xiangdong Sun, Sailesh Tanna

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This paper studies the relationship between slack and research and development (R&D) investment by addressing the role of the founder as the “microfoundation” among Chinese newly listed firms. We propose a contingent approach to understanding the slack-R&D investment relationship by examining the influence of the founder's human capital and social ties, which is distinguished into political and managerial ties. Our results show that the founder’s human capital, measured by its educational level, strengthens the relationship between absorbed and unabsorbed slack resources and R&D investment. We also find that the founder’s managerial ties strengthen the relationship between resource slack and R&D intensity, whereas political ties weaken that link. Our results demonstrate the founder’s crucial role in underpinning resource utilization in newly listed firms and emphasise the importance of social ties in driving firms’ R&D activities in emerging economies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Management and Organization
Early online date23 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant No. BUCTRC202106 and the Social Sciences Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Education in China under Grant No. 22YJCGJW004.


  • founder
  • microfoundation
  • slack
  • social ties
  • R&D
  • newly listed firms


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