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Anthony J. Nyberg, Robert E. Ployhart and Thomas P. Moliterno
The chapters in this volume demonstrate that scholarly interest in human capital resources (HCR) is vibrant and growing. This volume unites 51 scholars steeped in sociology, economics, strategy, labor economics, human resources, organizational behavior, and psychology. The range of experience contributes to differing views about HCR: what they are, what they do, and how they are formed. When looking across chapters, one may wonder how we can reach an understanding of HCR when leading scholars have such different views. How can there be scientific advancement of HCR if there is such a broad diversity of expert opinion? We argue such a view is unnecessarily pessimistic and misses the point of this book, and the efforts of so many extraordinary researchers. We are encouraged to see researchers exploring the nuances of HCR from a variety of scholarly domains, theoretical perspectives, and academic disciplines. It is through the variability and diversity of these different perspectives that we can understand the multiple dimensions of the HCR construct. Moreover, this volume demonstrates commonalities in the types of questions scholars ask: how human capital (HC) becomes a human capital resource (HCR); how an HCR becomes strategic human capital resource (SHCR); the factors that shape the process of HCR formation; and how HCRs affect outcomes across organizational levels.
Thomas P. Moliterno and Anthony J. Nyberg
This volume is about human capital resources (HCRs). Since the HCR construct is a newcomer to a long-standing literature on human capital (Becker, 1964), we begin with a brief historical thumbnail review of the history of research on HCR. We do so to provide a quick orientation to the focus of this volume: it is neither our intention nor hope to be exhaustive in this regard. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increasing convergence of scholarly disciplines exploring the association of human capital and organizational performance. Early gatherings at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Utah brought together arrays of scholars from diverse backgrounds who were interested in exploring the organizational effects and antecedents of human capital. As scholarly discourse at the intersection of these fields grew, researchers from strategic human resource management (HRM) and strategy disciplines combined to create the Strategic Human Capital Interest Group that first met in Rome in 2010 and has been one of the faster-growing interest groups of the Strategic Management Society (SMS). At this point, the HCR construct had not yet been articulated and defined. Its genesis came from the realization that the human capital construct had begun to take on different meanings in different literatures. Many scholars thought of human capital as something specifically owned by workers (i.e., “the individual’s human capital”), while others were focused on how workers contributed to organizational performance (i.e., “the firm’s human capital”). That is, some researchers (predominantly from the “micro” traditions of organizational behavior, organizational psychology, and human resource management) focused on the “human” and some researchers (predominantly from the “macro” traditions of strategy and economics) focused on the “capital.” Hence the term “human capital” was simultaneously being used too broadly, including all firm-level phenomena involving workers, and too narrowly, missing how individual differences in knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) help define the value of the worker to the firm.