Two Essays on Strategic Human Resources Management

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Two Essays on Strategic Human Resources Management

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In the modern knowledge-based economy, the most crucial source of sustainable competitive advantage is human capital resources (Becker & Huselid, 2006; Campbell, Coff, & Kryscynski, 2012). Thus, it comes as no surprise that much attention has being paid to the optimization of human capital resources in both research and practice. Researchers of strategic human resource (HR) management examine the way in which strategic HR practices can help to optimize human capital resources and improve work outcomes (Crook, Todd, Combs, Woehr, & Ketchen, 2011). Examples of these HR practices include employee selection processes to improve the quality of human capital inflow, employee training programs to keep skills up to date, dismissal of poor performers to improve the net quality of human capital resources, and layoffs to increase the efficiency of these resources. In this dissertation, I focus on employee selection and staffing decisions made to optimize human capital resources in two distinct settings: public education (Chapter 2) and retail (Chapter 3). I examine the consequences of these HR decisions in terms of individual-level (Chapter 2) and unit-level (Chapter 3) outcomes. I draw on the recent developments in the literature on human capital resources and adopt a multidisciplinary approach that bridges scholarships in organizational psychology and personnel economics. I also apply a series of complex and rigorous analytical strategies to bridge scholarship in organizational behavior and personnel economics (i.e., machine learning and Heckman selection method (Chapter 2) and cross-lagged analysis and panel vector autoregression method (Chapter 3)). In general, both essays in this dissertation are informed by the resource view of human capital that conceptualizes human capital resources as “individual or unit-level capacities based on individual knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) that are accessible for unit-relevant purposes” (Ployhart, Nyberg, Reilly, & Maltarich, 2014, p. 371). Ployhart et al. (2014) emphasized that researchers should move beyond the bifurcation of human capital into general and specific domains and instead focus on the foundation of human capital resources that resides at the individual level; the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) brought to the organization by individual employees. Taken together, these essays support the importance of different strategic HR practices in the optimization of human capital resources, both at individual level KSAOs and unit-level human capital. The following essays also demonstrate the way in which changes in human capital resources can shape individual and workplace outcomes. Moreover, these studies support the notion that HR practices can have different effects on outcomes over time, based on the contexts in which they take place.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.May 2018. Major: Business Administration. Advisors: Alan Benson, John Kammeyer-Mueller. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 188 pages.

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