Coupling men-to-women: Promoting firm innovation in emerging markets

Michael Machokoto*, Tesfaye T Lemma, Ouarda Dsouli, Rebecca Fakoussa, Eghosa Igudia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Motivated by calls to explore corporate outcomes of gender diversity-related dependencies in the upper echelons of a firm, the study examines whether gender diversity in the manager-owner(s) team of a firm shapes firm innovation, using the context of emerging markets. Based on examination of Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS) data drawn from 33,629 firms operating in 39 emerging markets, we find robust evidence that firms with a gender-diverse manager-owner(s) team are associated with higher odds of undertaking innovative activities. That is, women (men) owned firms managed by a male (female) top manager are associated with a higher likelihood of undertaking innovation relative to women (men) owned businesses managed by women (men). Additionally, we find that female-owned businesses run by male (female) managers are the most (least) innovative, while male-owned businesses run by female (male) managers are the second (third) innovative. Our findings suggest that heterophilic manager-owner(s) teams have the potential to foster firm-level innovation in emerging markets. Our finding implies that businesses and policymakers could use initiatives that promote manager-owner(s) team gender diversity to overcome the social and structural barriers that impede corporate innovation in emerging economies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Finance and Economics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 May 2023


  • Gender diversity
  • Firm innovation
  • Female-owned businesses
  • Female-top managers
  • Emerging markets


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