How Does Board Composition Affect R&D Investments? : Quantitative Study Based on Swedish Listed Companies
The purpose for this paper is to determine whether there is any direct connection between board composition and R&D investments of Swedish listed companies. A century ago, Sweden was among the poorest nations in Europe, yet today Sweden is 3rd among world leaders in innovation. Innovation is approximated as a good proxy measurement for R&D investments. R&D has been the primary source for innovation because of today’s nature of economies in which firms are challenged with competitive advantage. R&D investments have become very essential for every organization as well, yet there is no clear relationship between board composition and R&D investments. The researchers sought to confirm whether the effects of board composition are not only to monitor but also to provide resources since R&D spending requires appropriate forms of control systems and proper level of resources in the form of skill, experience and knowledge. The researchers obtained that the Swedish code of corporate governance is the main form of regulation and control mechanism that are mandatory for the boards of listed companies to adapt and comply with.
In this study, the researchers integrated agency theory, resource dependence theory, and stakeholder theory and stewardship theory perspectives to explain the effects of board composition on R&D investments. The hypotheses were derived from these mentioned theories, tested from the sample data of 68 companies extracted from listed firms in Stockholm Stock Market. Board tenure, board interlock, independent directors, and ownership of shares, board size, age diversity and gender diversity were used as the influential factors for R&D investments. Additionally, firm size, ROA, firm age and leverage were adopted as moderating variables to test the effect of board membership composition against R&D spending. However, only board interlock came out to be negative and significantly correlated at 5% level with R&D investments and the remaining variables were detected to have negative low correlations with R&D investment, though no significant associations were found. Out of the control variables chosen only ROA obtained a significantly negative low correlation at 1% level.
The epistemological and ontological choices for this study were positivism and objectivism with deductive approach. In order to examine if there is a relationship between board composition and R&D investment, the researchers employed multiple regression analysis. The researchers also identified a research gap since they did not find any evidence of a study that examines board composition in relation to R&D investments in Sweden. As indicated by the results of this study, only board interlock has effect on R&D spending. Therefore, there is need for further research on R&D investments by examining other forms of board composition characteristics such as education and professional experience. Both qualitative and quantitative studies are recommendable in this area. The authors concluded that the board characteristics do not directly matter for Swedish corporations to invest annually in R&D activities. This paper provides full support to stakeholders’ theory and stewardship theory while partially agrees with agency theory and resource dependence theory.
Key words: Corporate governance, Research and Development (R&D), board tenure, board interlock, independent directors, ownership, board size, age diversity and gender diversity.
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