Session 20

New Frontiers in Human Capital Research

Track L

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Time: 14:15 – 15:30

Common Ground

Room: Plaza Court 3


  • Thomas P. Moliterno, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Title: How HR Practitioners Make Sense of the Injunction to ‘Be More Strategic’


  • Kurt Sandholtz, Brigham Young University

Abstract: This paper examines the "great divide” between economic definitions of strategic activity and the lay theories articulated by HR practitioners. Based on a year-long qualitative study of HR work in two large corporations, the paper explores how HR practitioners make sense of the widespread demand that they “be strategic.” Detailed analysis of the daily activities and “work talk” of 17 HR practitioners reveals five distinct “theories in-use” about what it means to do HR work in a strategic way. The findings indicate that much of the work that HR practitioners describe as “strategic” may have minimal impact on the firm’s ability to attract and deploy human capital in ways that build sustained competitive advantage.

Title: Human Resource Slack and Early Internationalization


  • Hadi Fariborzi, University of Calgary
  • Olga Petricevic, University of Calgary

Abstract: We study the role of slack in human resources (HR Slack) of entrepreneurial firms in their internationalization. Our analysis of 4928 newly established firms from Kauffman Firm Survey, shows a negative effect of HR slack on internationalization, contrary to our predictions. However, we found a positive relationship for entrepreneurial capability and also its positive moderation effect on the relationship of HR slack and internationalization. These results contribute to our understanding of early internationalization by providing a parsimonious model based on the understudied notion of entrepreneurial redeployment of slack human resources which represent the firm’s transferrable human capital. We also contribute to the discussion on the role of HR slack in firm growth, by clarifying when and how it pays off to utilize excess human resources.

Title: Professional Human Capital Flows: Loss, Replacement, and Contingent Bunding Effects on Firm Performance


  • Rhett Brymer, Miami University

Abstract: Resource-based theory suggests little about the effects of unintentionally losing valuable resources. Further, RBT is silent about the manners in which firms replace after such losses by acquiring external resources. Attending to these gaps, this study considers the loss of professional human capital (PHC) in a panel data set of the largest U.S. based law firms, the contingencies that effect subsequent firm performance, and the manner in which firms replace with new PHC. Results suggest that losing PHC with less firm specificity and PHC that has greater redundancy in geographic locations weakens the negative effects of loss. Additionally, organizational strain is theorized to cause replacement of PHC with external PHC hires similar to those already in the firm. Implications for RBT, the attraction-selection-attrition (ASA) model, and strategic human capital theory are discussed.

Title: Reconciling Tensions: Board and CEO Influences on CEO Succession Planning Processes


  • Donald Schepker, University of South Carolina
  • Anthony Nyberg, University of South Carolina
  • Michael Ulrich, University of South Carolina
  • Patrick Wright, University of South Carolina

Abstract: CEO succession is an essential transition in every firm’s life cycle. However, there remains surprisingly little theory or exploration about the processes used for making executive succession decisions. Two competing parties, the Board of directors and the outgoing CEO, have strong and often competing interests. Based on in-depth interviews with senior insiders, and survey data obtained from 156 Chief Human Resource Officers at large, primarily Fortune 500 firms, we develop and test theory about the planning processes and find that Boards try to increase the number of candidates evaluated and the use of external help. Simultaneously, we hypothesize and find that CEOs try to decrease the number of candidates evaluated and the likelihood that external help is used. Finally, the relationship between the board and the CEO moderates the Board processes’ effect on the number of successors identified. We also discuss the implications of our findings for future research.

Title: Users as Part of Firm's Strategic Human Capital: The 3D Printing Revolution


  • Marta Gasparin, Leicester University
  • Maria Rita Micheli, IESEG School of Management
  • Mario Campana, University of London

Abstract: By providing ideas and knowledge, users become part of firms' strategic human capital and managers can leverage on them for enhancing growth and innovation. In recent times, users’ opportunities for interacting with companies increased substantially due to the spread of social networks and the diffusion of Internet connectivity. As a consequence, companies' opportunities to leverage on users' knowledge increased but, at the same time, it is also more difficult to assess the value of a higher number of users, driven by different motivations. In this paper, we explore this issue using the 3D Printing community as empirical context. We show how companies can leverage on different users’ contributions and invest in users with a higher potential to become valuable strategic human capital for the company.

Title: When Do Multicultural Employees Become Cultural Brokers?


  • Hae-Jung Hong, NEOMA Business School
  • Yves Doz, INSEAD

Abstract: Multicultural employees are known for their cultural competence and skills that can contribute to organizational effectiveness, including innovation and global team effectiveness, essential dimensions of strategy. Contextual features affecting their roles in organizations, however, have been underexplored. This study addresses two main issues: 1) what contextual factors are relevant; and, 2) and how these factors affect multiculturals’ propensity to enact the role of cultural brokerage. To answer these questions, this study investigates boundary conditions through ethnographic fieldwork in firms in two distinct industries—fast-moving consumer goods and auditing and business consulting. By comparing and contrasting the findings of a field study in these two industries, we found six boundary conditions that either enable or constrain multiculturals from enacting the cultural brokerage role in global organizations.

All Sessions in Track L...

Sun: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 287: Strategic Human Capital in a Global Market
Sun: 09:45 – 11:00
Session 289: Seeing the Future in the Recent Past: Predicting Seminal Work
Sun: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 288: Strategy Microfoundations and Human Capital: What Have We Learned?
Sun: 16:15 – 17:30
Session 13: Employee Mobility: Barriers and Enablers
Sun: 17:45 – 00:00
Session 321: Strategic Human Capital Business Meeting
Mon: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 14: Typologies of Human Capital and Strategy
Mon: 11:15 – 12:30
Session 15: Human Capital, Company Networks, and Reputation
Session 204: Acquiring human capital: Process and outcomes
Mon: 13:45 – 15:00
Session 16: Human Capital and Innovation
Tue: 08:00 – 09:15
Session 18: Human Capital Architectures
Tue: 11:00 – 12:15
Session 19: Motivating and Governing Human Capital
Tue: 14:15 – 15:30
Session 20: New Frontiers in Human Capital Research
Tue: 15:45 – 17:00
Session 17: Human Capital and Entrepreneurship
Tue: 17:30 – 18:45
Session 21: Revisiting Theory in Strategic Human Capital Research

Strategic Management Society