3. Human Resource Configurations and Modes
Lepak and Snell (2002) constructed a model that shows the relationship between human capital characteristics and employment modes. They identified 4 different modes of employment, that are measured along two dimensions, namely strategic value and uniqueness. Strategic value refers to whether the human capital contributes value to the company´s strategy by gaining a competitive advantage. Uniqueness, on the other hand, relates to the whether the human capital is of rare and specific value to the firm. In the first quadrant, human capital is seen as both valuable and unique. Employees hired on a full-time basis have specialized knowledge and perform a specific task to contribute to the firm. Moreover, employees are seen as core value to the firm and the company focuses on internal development and long-term commitment. Thus, when employees are of high strategic and unique value to the firm a company should construct knowledge- based employment modes that focus on development of core competencies and skills of employees. In the second quadrant, employees are of high strategic value but of limited uniqueness to the company which makes them easily transferable. When hired the employees already possess the needed skills and are limited to the boundaries of their predetermined tasks. As they are still of high strategic value to the company these workers are employed internally but receive no training. Hence, this quadrant engages in job-based employment meaning that the predetermined tasks are most important to the companies. The third quadrant is characterized by human capital that is neither of high strategic nor unique value to the firm. Employees engage in tasks with limited scope, purpose and duration and are therefore likely to be outsourced. Hence, the human resource configurations are compliance-based and the employment modes are contractual work arrangements. In the fourth quadrant, employees are of low strategic...
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