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Gender diversity and capacity to innovate.pdf

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Master of Science Thesis INDEK 2017: 145

Gender Diversity in the Workforce and
New Firms’ Capacity to Innovate
Insights into Tech start-up teams

Despoina Tsiougkou




Anders Broström

Kristina Nyström

The present thesis examines the relationship between innovation and gender diversity
in the workforce, through the lens of new firms in the Stockholm Tech start-up
ecosystem. Taking a point of departure in a knowledge-based understanding of
innovation and firm dynamics, the study explores the relationship between gender and
innovation at the firm level. First, the theoretical framework is built on relevant
literature and empirical research in a multidisciplinary fashion. Then, a qualitative
inquiry is designed with the aim of contributing to the growing research corpus in the
intersection of gender diversity and firm capacity to innovate. Employing a qualitative
interviewing method, data was collected among founders and founding team members
of entry-level tech start-ups in Stockholm. The objective was to document how
founders and entrepreneurs, in general, approach gender diversity when building their
start-up teams. The analysis reveals that gender diversity, albeit acknowledged as an
input to innovative performance, is not prioritized over other human capital aspects,
such as talent. This is in line with the bulk of literature that studies the diversity in
knowledge base and firm performance, hence highlighting the cognitive aspects of
innovation process. The thesis findings are of considerable benefit both for
broadening the extant approach to innovation process and for understanding gender
diversity dynamics in the workforce.

Key-words: Innovation, Gender Diversity, Start-up, Tech Industry, Stockholm.