Human Capital Pipelines: Competitive Implications of Repeated Interorganizational Hiring

Published on Feb 1, 2014in Journal of Management
· DOI :10.1177/0149206313516797
Rhett Andrew Brymer5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Miami University),
Janice C. Molloy12
Estimated H-index: 12
(MSU: Michigan State University),
Brett Anitra Gilbert10
Estimated H-index: 10
(RU: Rutgers University)
This article offers pipelines as a new perspective on human capital heterogeneity between firms. Using resource-based theory logic, we define pipelines as repeated interorganizational hiring and a practice firms use to differentially acquire and accumulate human capital and mitigate human capital risks. Pipelines are a ubiquitous staffing practice with ambiguous implications for firm performance that to date have eluded scholarly examination. Thus we use a systems framework to highlight input, output, and process contingencies in which pipeline hiring can create advantage over rivals—contingencies of human capital scarcity in the labor market, the choice of firm activity system, and product market ambiguity (i.e., credence qualities), respectively. Collectively, the article’s theoretical foundations provide new insights for human resource, strategy, and human capital fields and open the conceptual space of pipelines for examination by organizational scholars. We discuss the theoretical, empirical, and pra...
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