Handbook of Research on Strategic Human Capital Resources
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Handbook of Research on Strategic Human Capital Resources

Edited by Anthony J. Nyberg and Thomas P. Moliterno

Strategic human capital resources are a relatively new construct with a scholarly literature that is still evolving. Work in this area requires the integration of multiple theoretical perspectives and empirical approaches, but that integration rarely occurs. Within these pages, the editors have combined the voices of leading scholars from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds to provide a comprehensive introduction to the current state of the field.
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Chapter 10: Retaining valued human capital: a commentary on the role of firm-specificity as a mobility constraint

John E. Delery and Dorothea Roumpi


The traditional strategic human capital literature suggests the role of firm-specificity is critical as a mobility-limiting mechanism that enables organizations to retain their valued human capital. Recently, however, numerous scholars have raised concerns regarding the effectiveness of firm-specificity as an employee mobility barrier. On the basis of this debate, we decided to take a step back in this chapter and offer a more practical approach to what may constitute firm-specific human capital. We develop a broad typology of various forms of firm-specificity (e.g., firm-specific human capital stemming from the interaction with organizational resources, and relational firm-specific human capital stemming from interactions with external constituents of the firm) and explore, on a theoretical basis, their effectiveness as employee mobility constraints.

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