Caitlin Ray

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Anthony J. Nyberg


Human capital resources (HCR) are often identified by scholars and practitioners as a firm’s most crucial resource. However, the academic use of the HCR construct, which is relatively new addition to the research vernacular, is often described with vague and imprecise terms, challenging the ability for academics and practitioners to clearly understand HCR’s precise impact on firm outcomes. One of the challenges arises because much of the HCR research literature focuses on the processes surrounding HCR without clearly specifying the components that make-up the HCR. Such lack of specificity has resulted in theoretical and empirical work which is often too abstract to fully explain the inner workings of HCR. This level of abstraction, in addition to making it unclear as to precisely what composes the HCR also makes it difficult to understand the complex dynamics that link HCR to outcomes. To address these concerns, my dissertation uses a precise form of the HCR construct by building and testing a model that incorporates two distinct elements of HCR--its structure and activation. I begin by examining how the structure of HCR (i.e., what and who is contained within the HCR) affects collective performance. Specifically, I focus on one type of HCR, firm-specific HCR, and distinguish between manager and non-manager HCR to determine how they individually and jointly impact outcomes. I then examine when and how HCR can be activated for unit use, particularly focusing on the role of social relationships in the HCR activation process. The results from my study help researchers and organizations build better predictions regarding how, when, and why HCR is linked to unit outcomes.


© 2022, Caitlin Ray