Growth option value varies widely across firms. This research explores managerial incentives as a source of firm heterogeneity in growth option value. We argue that when the payoff structure of managerial incentives corresponds to that of growth options, managers will be motivated to pursue actions that increase firms' growth option value, particularly when greater growth opportunities are available in an industry. Results indicate that stock option holdings and managerial stock ownership have a positive effect on growth option value, while short-term pay has a negative effect. We also find support for a positive interaction effect between equity-based managerial incentives and industry growth opportunities on growth option value. These findings highlight the critical role of managerial incentives in affecting firms' realization of growth option value. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.