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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Human Resource Management Review, Volume 21, Issue 3, September 2011, Pages 228–242
Team-based work structures are increasingly used in organizations as a viable means of improving performance. However, there is relatively little research on the practices of staffing teams and the implications of such practices with regard to a firm's competitive advantage. In this paper, we evaluate methods of team staffing from a strategic human resource management perspective. Included in this discussion is an extrapolation of individual approaches to team staffing, which include staffing individuals to build a team, and cluster hiring, which refers to organizational efforts to acquire and fit a pre-existing team with a new role. In particular, we evaluate how individual and cluster hiring modes influence the competitive advantage of organizations, linking human resource management practices with strategic outcomes, and presenting testable propositions to guide future research and practice in team staffing.
A central tenet of strategic human resource management (HRM) is the preeminence of human capital in firm strategy and competition (Colbert, 2004). Meanwhile, a related stream of staffing research has focused on the mechanisms of successfully acquiring and deploying labor in organizations. Historically, performance outcomes in staffing have been viewed as individual or tactical phenomena, generally devoid of strategic implications. Nonetheless, staffing can enhance capabilities and advantage at multiple levels in organizations (Ployhart, 2006). For example, Lepak and Snell (1999) were among the first to link the strategic contribution of labor to the method of acquiring that human capital, proposing that labor would be acquired through different mechanisms (i.e., employment modes) based on the anticipated strategic value and uniqueness of the human capital. The strategic value and uniqueness of resources have a direct bearing on the employment mode chosen for human capital, and on the competitive advantage firms may realize from such human capital (e.g., Newbert, 2007). Organizations also seek competitive advantage by structuring work. For example, teams are units of two or more individuals interacting interdependently to achieve a common objective (Baker & Salas, 1997), and team-based work structures are used widely by organizations as a viable means of enhancing performance (Bell, 2007 and LePine, 2003). However, despite the significant importance of teams to organizations, relatively little research has examined human resource management (HRM) practices that facilitate the effective staffing of teams (Morgeson et al., 2005 and Stevens and Campion, 1999). Teams may be staffed using individuals and traditional mechanisms of recruitment and selection. However, organizations also may staff teams en masse, using a method called cluster hiring. Cluster hiring refers to organizational efforts to acquire and fit a pre-existing team with a new role. This approach differs from individual staffing approaches because in this approach employees are attracted and selected as a unit, representing an alternative option for firms seeking to gain human capital in a team context. Unfortunately, little is known about the effects of these staffing practices on team performance. Additionally, scholars have called for a renewed focus and consideration of implementation regarding needed future directions for research in strategic HRM (e.g., Becker and Huselid, 2006 and Lengnick-Hall et al., 2009). These authors have argued that the true effects of progressive human resource practices may never be fully understood until systematic consideration is given to the implementation of those practices, including staffing. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of individual and cluster hiring approaches to team staffing, and the strategic ramifications of such approaches. We begin by discussing existing research on team staffing. Second, congruent with strategic HRM literature, we draw on resource-based theory (RBT) (e.g., Barney and Wright, 1998 and Newbert, 2007) to consider how each of these staffing approaches theoretically modifies the competitive contribution of teams. Finally, we conclude with a discussion and suggestions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
There are at least four contributions that derive from our emphasis on team staffing approaches. First, current staffing research largely has been viewed as an individual-level phenomenon, and this paper is the first to conceptually examine and integrate human capital acquisition at the individual and team levels. Second, by evaluating opportunities and risks within each staffing approach, organizations have a “realistic” preview of how these practices will influence team staffing (cf. Colbert, 2004). Third, the incorporation of resource-based theory (RBT) enables organizations to better understand the competitive implications of staffing decisions for the creation of value. Finally, we have shown how signaling in the staffing process may differentially influence team expectations, motivation, and performance through the Galatea effect (e.g., Eden, 1992). At the core of this paper is the fundamental premise that the means of acquiring resources has a direct bearing on the ultimate viability and contribution of those resources to the acquiring organization. This extension to RBT sheds light on the potential of organizations to modify the value of resources through the process of acquiring those resources. It also highlights intermediary processes and implementation concerns with which organizations should be aware as they seek to acquire and develop their own resources. Although RBT inherently is concerned with the internal machinations of resource utilization, the viability of a team staffing approach may also differ based on the type of industry in which a firm engages. For example, oligopolistic industries, like the automobile industry, are marked by significant overlap of knowledge between competitors, mature markets, highly concentrated resources and power in the hands of a few competitors, and a comparable product. These industries typically experience significantly higher levels of competition relative to other industries, marked by attacks and defensive actions designed to gain advantage (Chen, 1996). Conversely, other industries (e.g., those found in agriculture) typically are marked by the presence of many similar competitors, who hold relatively little power, but offer a nearly identical product. In these markets, competition for human capital is likely to be lower because firms tend to focus on reducing costs as the principal means to increase profitability, rather than focusing on gaining additional market share. Given the background on industry types, we would anticipate that cluster hiring would be most useful in highly competitive industries, particularly by firms seeking to enter new multi-national markets, or to develop new consumer bases. The distinction between cluster hiring and individual team staffing approaches is also admittedly simplified in this paper. In reality, organizations are likely to use both approaches to staff their teams. For example, an organization may use a cluster hiring approach to acquire an extant team, and then place the extant team with existing employees in a larger team. However, our dichotomization was intended to help clarify the advantages and disadvantages of each team staffing approach, particularly for organizations contemplating the development of human resource staffing competencies in one or both areas. We contend that the advantages and disadvantages of each team staffing approach will remain in hybrid models; although, the net effect of staffing in this manner is a reduction in the productive distinctions between each approach. 4.1. Directions for future research Because the present paper is conceptual, there is a need to empirically examine the propositions advanced. Experimental research may be particularly fruitful in identifying the competitive implications of staffing approaches without exposing organizations to potential risk. For example, a longitudinal laboratory study using convenience samples would enable researchers to “acquire” human capital using cluster hiring and individual staffing approaches in a simulation setting. The researchers could then ascertain whether or not anticipated differences in costs occur between the team staffing approaches to ascertain how extant teams and individuals integrate with new team roles and organizations. Researchers could also observe socialization processes, and the overall productivity of the different teams in a longitudinal manner. Next, future research should theoretically conjecture and analyze the combined and/or synergistic effects of individual and cluster hiring staffing approaches used in combination (i.e., “hybrid” models). By examining various hiring configurations, research may be able to determine an optimal mix of staffing approaches to staff teams under different competitive and industry conditions. A similar area of inquiry could evaluate how the size of teams influences the viability of each staffing strategy. This paper also relied heavily on the theoretical framework of Lepak and Snell, 1999 and Lepak and Snell, 2002 to describe team staffing through internal development and external acquisition modes. The temporal sequence of this framework generally assumes that organizations make decisions to acquire human capital with one employment mode or a combination of employment modes. However, as suggested by Lepak and Snell (1999), it is possible that employment modes may act as “gateways” for one another. For example, a firm may use contracting or alliances to gain needed external assistance or expertise. To the extent that these interactions prove fruitful in gaining human capital, the firm may then decide to staff (i.e., acquire) human capital either directly from the contracting or alliance partner. Reversing the sequence, firms may also use internal development and external acquisition modes to develop or gain needed competencies that enable them to form desirable alliances and/or contracts with other organizations. Future research is needed to better understand how these employment modes influence one another casually. Next, future research should evaluate how the human resource architecture (Lepak & Snell, 1999) may be extended beyond the team level to the organizational level. Specifically, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) provide human capital and knowledge to organizations (e.g., Ranft and Lord, 2000 and Ranft and Lord, 2002). As such, it is possible for organizations to utilize this approach as a means of obtaining productive human capital. Yet, we know very little about this channel of human capital acquisition, and its implications for firm competitiveness and the long-term value of that human capital. Research also should consider the competitive implications of human capital to the value chain, particularly in the long run. For example, Lepak and Snell (1999) focused largely on internal contributions of human capital to the acquiring firm. However, the functional inimitability of human capital suggests that firms gain both productive human capital and reduced competitor capacity when acquiring human capital (see Capron and Chatain (2008) for related discussion), analogous to “cornering the market” with regard to other forms of capital. At the organizational level, cluster hiring also has been used as a key component to develop reputation and enhance competitiveness (e.g., Wetherall, 2006). Most organizations, to some degree, consider themselves in the ‘reputation business’, and human resources may be sources of enhanced reputation (i.e., particularly in universities), with increased reputation typically being associated with very positive organizational outcomes (e.g., Ferris et al., 2003 and Fombrun, 1996). Indeed, highly visible public events, like a cluster hiring of a notable and esteemed team, transmits (i.e., typically publicized widely though media releases) important signals (e.g., Spence, 1973 and Spence, 1974) regarding the activities of the acquiring university, which are collectively perceived and interpreted in the form of enhanced institutional reputation. Thus, future research should evaluate how individual and cluster hiring approaches differentially influence the reputation of the acquiring firm, and how the reputation of the acquiring firm influences the viability of each team staffing approach. Finally, there is a need to examine how employee relationships are influenced by staffing at each level. For example, Ferris, Munyon, Basik, and Buckley (2008) recently evaluated dyadic workplace relationships as an antecedent and consequence of performance evaluation. Certainly, one could expect the choice of employment mode to exert an influence on existing and new relationships within a work system (cf., Lepak & Snell, 1999), particularly as these relationships influence workflow, performance, and the concentration of expertise within the organization. Furthermore, the introduction of new individuals or teams to an existing system has the potential to disrupt existing external relationships between employees and their clients, particularly in a competitive environment where employees share similar territory. Thus, the effects of team staffing approaches on internal (i.e., co-workers) and external (i.e., employee–client or supplier relations) relationships need to be considered. Sharpening the focus a bit on such future research, it might be interesting to investigate the dimensions of work relationships, such as trust, support, distance, and so forth (Ferris et al., 2009) in organizations that are perhaps differentially affected by different team staffing approaches. Finally, as noted by Lepak and Snell (1999), employment modes reflect the nature of the relationship between an employee and his or her employer. This suggests that team staffing approaches also may influence the quality of the relationship between an employee and employer, which should be investigated with regard to long-term commitment, motivation, and productivity. 4.2. Conclusion Firms may staff teams through individual or cluster hiring approaches. The choice of the approach depends on the unique characteristics of the organization and industry in which the firm operates. Each approach offers disadvantages and advantages that should be balanced to optimize value. These are important strategic human resource decisions about which we need to know much more. Hopefully, the present conceptualization will stimulate increased research interest and activity in this important area of inquiry.