The purpose of this Extension is to bring together practitioners and scholars of corporate strategy and strategic human capital, with the aim of developing a fruitful conversation and fostering research regarding how companies should think about human resource redeployment in the Open World. The extension thus links the topic of human resource redeployment with the overall theme of the SMS Annual Conference.
Resource redeployment has been a recent topic of interest to practitioners and researchers of corporate strategy and strategic human capital. Yet, each area practices and studies the topic under their own lenses. For example, strategic human capital research considers employee mobility, the relative advantages of the internal versus the external labor market, and the costs and benefits of international human resource assignments, and re-assignments, more generally. Corporate strategists have studied when having flexibility in redeploying non-financial resources (of which, human capital would be one) may confer corporate advantage, and how this advantage is distinct from benefits obtained through synergy and internal capital markets. We believe that bringing scholars from both fields would be very fruitful to foster cross-fertilization of research in both areas.
As the World is becoming a more open place, organizational boundaries are becoming increasingly permeable and fluid, and markets and industries are open to new competitive and disruptive forces. As a consequence, resource redeployment is likely to play a larger strategic role going forward. Greater market turbulence will require increased organizational flexibility to take advantage of opportunities. Organizational leaders will need to continually appraise the best use of their human capital and to improve the adaptability of it. The increased emphasis on virtual work brings immense possibilities to tap on talent across the Globe but at the same time raises new questions for organizations regarding their need for the redeployment of employees across geographical boundaries. In addition, workers today are also showing greater agency, voting with their feet if the organization does not fulfill their needs, as exemplified by the recent “Great Resignation” trend. In the new context of a more open world, understanding how companies should assign and redeploy their human resources to remain competitive in the market becomes a key strategic imperative. More than ever, it is crucial that the decisions around human resource redeployment take into consideration both, strategic and employee considerations.
A gathering and community-building extension involving these different types of scholars and practitioners may sensitize all to insights from the other perspective. For example, corporate strategists need more awareness of when human capital redeployment is more or less feasible or costly. They may revise assumptions that human capital bundles can be seamlessly transferred, and gain a better understanding about team interactions that require more careful treatment. Human capital scholars may gain insight into issues around endogeneity that drive instances of employee mobility. They may more broadly benefit from corporate-level indicators that might speak to the performance benefits of human capital strategies.