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The Relationship between Human Resource Diversity, Innovation Activity and Internationalization Intensity in Colombian and Mexican Firms

Anne Marie Zwerg-Villegas César A. Bernal-Torres Ulf Thoene Fernando Camacho Luz Elena Guzmán-Ibarra Efraín Torralba-Chávez
Global Business Review. November 1, 2022

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Extant developed country-based literature suggests that human resource diversity is a significant predictor of both innovation and internationalization. Equally, this literature consistently finds innovation to be a clear contributor to internationalization and vice versa. This study tests these assumptions in an emerging market context, thus responding to the call for increased business research in under-represented regions and Latin America, specifically. Executives of 343 firms responded to a Likert-scale survey to identify recent HR diversity practices, firm innovation activity and firm internationalization intensity. Principal components, logistic regression and multivariate regression analysis provide insight into how diversity and innovation impact internationalization and how diversity and internationalization impact innovation. As the first study of these relationships in the Latin American setting, our research contributes to the literature on emerging markets by providing evidence of firm behaviour in Colombia and Mexico and demonstrating that Latin American firms do not perform as developed country-based literature would suggest. Diversity, innovation and internationalization do not act as complementary activities in the Colombian and Mexican firms in this study, which contrasts with findings in developed market firms. This study contributes to the literature by exploring the relationships among HR diversity, firm innovation activity and firm internationalization intensity.