Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Moore School of Business

Sub-Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Robert E. Ployhart

Abstract

Using the resource-based view (RBV), prior research has shown human capital can be a source of sustained competitive advantage. However, the majority of past human capital research has either used proxies of human capital or focused on human capital depletion (i.e., turnover). While these studies demonstrate the value of human capital, their examination of human capital is incomplete. Possessing talented employees becomes irrelevant if the organization is unable to accumulate sufficient levels of human capital to maintain a competitive advantage. The purpose of this dissertation is to introduce staffing levels as a complimentary conceptualization of human capital. Specifically, I develop theory to articulate the latent structure of staffing levels, and develop a nomological network describing the similarities and differences of staffing levels from other constructs (e.g., mean human capital levels). Empirically, I model the dynamic relationships that exist between staffing levels and unit effectiveness over eight quarters. Through this dissertation I build on existing human capital research, and in doing so, inform future research with a more complete understanding of the nature of human capital resources. Demonstrating the importance of staffing levels has implications for the RBV as well. The significance of staffing levels suggest even a resource which possesses all necessary attributes for a sustained competitive advantage may fail to lead to one if organizations are unable to accumulate it in sufficient levels. Such a finding would suggest that resources must not only be rare, valuable, inimitable, and nonsubstitutable, but they must exist at sustainable levels within an organization.

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