ILR School

Faculty Publications - Human Resource Studies

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The Human Resource Studies Department consists of world-class faculty members engaged in research, teaching and practice. These faculty members play integral roles in the administration of the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), an ILR-based research center funded by over 50 corporations, and the ILR Executive Education Program that offers advanced training to HR practitioners. Their goal in teaching is to balance a rigorous academic research approach with a real-world practice orientation. In this way they provide their students with state-of-the-art knowledge relevant to managing human resources in organizations.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 751
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    The Goldilocks Effect of Strategic Human Resource Management? Optimizing the Benefits of a High-Performance Work System through the Dual Alignment of Vertical and Horizontal Fit
    Han, Joo Hun; Kang, Saehee; Oh, In-Sue; Kehoe, Rebecca; Lepak, David P. (Academy of Managment, 2019)
    Although vertical and horizontal fit in strategic human resource management are foundational to the links between a high-performance work system (HPWS) and organizational performance, little is known about how these two fits interact to affect organizational performance. We address this shortcoming while also advancing knowledge on each type of fit. We offer a more nuanced examination of vertical fit (which has typically been assessed with respect to organizations’ broad strategic types) by focusing on the alignment of an HPWS with an organization’s market entry timing mode—a key element of strategy. We propose that among organizations pursuing new product development, the effect of an HPWS on organizational performance is most positive under a fast-follower entry timing, followed by a first-mover and finally a fence-sitter entry timing. We then hypothesize that the benefit of vertical fit is magnified when the complementary human resources practices comprising an HPWS are implemented with greater internal consistency (or with similar intensities) across the ability, motivation, and opportunity domains—reflecting a positive interaction between vertical and horizontal fit in predicting the effectiveness of an HPWS. Analyses of four-wave nationally representative panel data yield strong support for our dual-alignment model of SHRM.
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    An Expanded Conceptualization of Line Managers’ Involvement in Human Resource Management
    Kehoe, Rebecca; Han, Joo Hun (American Psychological Association, 2019)
    Recent research provides evidence that, contrary to implicit assumptions in much of the strategic human resource management (SHRM) literature, human resource (HR) systems and practices are in fact enacted with substantial variation across units even within organizations, with such variation largely a function of the line managers involved in implementing HR practices in the units under their supervision. While instrumental in demonstrating the critical role that line managers play in facilitating the causal chain linking organizations’ HR practices with intended employee and organizational outcomes, we contend that the focus of this research on HR practice implementation as a singular and unidimensional characterization of line managers’ involvement in human resource management (HRM) represents an oversimplification on several counts. Broadly, we propose that this focus fails to account for the varied nature of line managers’ downward influences in the context of HRM. Thus, we integrate insights from research on HR practice implementation, workforce differentiation, and autonomous strategic behavior to develop a more complete understanding of line managers’ downward involvement in HRM. Based on our synthesis of relevant insights from these literatures, we propose a research agenda focusing on questions spanning four broad areas with the aim of fostering and guiding future SHRM scholarship to further our understanding of the antecedents, processes, and consequences associated with line managers’ influences on HR system content and process in organizations.
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    Give Them Some Slack - They're Trying to Change! The Benefits of Excess Cash, Excess Employees, and Increased Human Capital in the Strategic Change Context
    Bentley, F. Scott; Kehoe, Rebecca (Academy of Management, 2020)
    We address calls for contextualization in the study of slack resources by examining the pursuit of strategic change as a contingency that shapes the effects of human resource (HR) slack and financial slack on firm performance. Using data on U.S. commercial banks from 2002 to 2014, we demonstrate that HR slack is more positively related to firm performance in firms pursuing strategic change, and that this relationship is stronger in the presence of greater financial slack. Moreover, we find that the moderating effect of financial slack on HR slack in the strategic change context operates through changes in organizations’ human capital investment, offering a unique examination of a key mechanism through which slack resources create value and through which complementarities between different types of slack come to fruition. Our paper advances the contingency perspective within the slack literature and brings important insights from the resource management perspective to the conversation on slack and performance.
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    Revisiting the Concepts of Vertical and Horizontal Fit in HRM: What we Know, What we Don't Know, and Where it Might Go
    Kehoe, Rebecca (Academy of Management, 2021)
    The theoretical soundness and practical relevance of strategic human resource management (SHRM) scholarship has recently come under scrutiny. The goal of this symposium is to offer a starting point for SHRM scholars to rethink our approach to understanding the achievement of competitive advantage through HR, guided by a reconsideration of what it means to achieve horizontal fit and vertical fit in HRM. Collectively, the three papers in this symposium contribute to this effort through a reconsideration of the content of the HR systems we study, an expansion of the strategic bases against which we consider the vertical fit of HR systems, and a more explicit incorporation of complexity and change into our understanding of both the horizontal and vertical fit of the HR “ecosystems” in organizations. In this paper, I introduce the key issues and questions with which the papers in the symposium interface and highlight potential avenues that future SHRM scholarship could pursue to address them.
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    Shadows and Shields: Stars Limit their Collaborators' Exposure to Attributions of Both Credit and Blame
    Kehoe, Rebecca; Bentley, F. Scott (Wiley, 2021)
    Building on the notion of cumulative advantage, we undertake a nuanced examination of how collaborating with a star affects attributions of credit and blame to nonstars in collaborative endeavors. Situating our inquiry in the US hedge fund industry, we hypothesize two-way interactions predicting that collaboration with a star comanager will weaken both the positive effect of comanaged fund success and the negative effect of comanaged fund failure on nonstar managers’ professional status attainment (i.e., the status of a manager’s subsequent employing firm). Specifically, we argue that the involvement of a star comanager will weaken prospective employers’ attributions for positive or negative performance to a focal nonstar manager, due to presumptions of the star’s disproportionate influence in collaborative decisions. We then theorize a series of three-way interactions specifying the roles of other signals of a nonstar manager’s competence in this process. More precisely, we argue that a nonstar’s performance outside the collaborative context and the status of the nonstar’s current employer will weaken the dampening effect of comanaging with a star in the context of success and strengthen the favorable, blame-reducing effect of comanaging with a star in the context of failure. Therefore, we suggest that nonstars who can signal their competence with these independent status signals will achieve greater professional status attainment than will those lacking such signals following both collaborative success and collaborative failure with a star. Our primary analyses support our hypotheses, while our supplementary analyses offer corroborative support for theorized mechanisms and evidence to address alternative explanations.
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    In with the Old? Examining when Boomerang Employees Outperform New Hires
    Keller, JR; Kehoe, Rebecca; Bidwell, Matthew; Collings, David; Myer, Adam (Academy of Management, 2021)
    As most careers now span across organizations, former employees represent a growing source of potential hires for many organizations. Yet, we know little about whether and when firms benefit by rehiring former employees. To answer these questions, we adopt a knowledge-based view of hiring to develop new theory about how returning former employees’ (“boomerangs”) post-hire performance might differ from that of external hires who have no previous experience with the firm(“new hires”). We theorize that, relative to new hires, boomerangs’ familiarity with the organization’s social system will allow them to more effectively engage in coordination and overcome internal resistance from organizational incumbents. As a consequence, boomerangs should have a particular advantage in roles that require a higher degree of coordination and in units that are likely to be more resistant to outsiders. Comparing the post-hire performance of 2,053 boomerangs and 10,858 new hires over an eight-year period in a large health care organization, we find that, upon being (re)hired into the organization, boomerangs outperform new hires in their initial job spell and that this performance advantage is larger in jobs requiring greater internal coordination and in contexts characterized by greater internal resistance to external hires.
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    Investing for Keeps: Firms’ Prepandemic Investments in Human Capital Decreased Workforce Reductions Associated With COVID-19 Financial Pressures
    Bentley, F. Scott; Kehoe, Rebecca; Chung, Hyesook (American Psychological Association, 2021)
    We examine how firms’ prepandemic investments in human capital influence their use of workforce reductions and layoffs (hereafter, workforce reductions) as a response to financial pressures during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. We contend that workforce reductions must be examined in the context of firms’ broader financial and resource orchestration environments. First, we suggest that firms’ relative exposure to pandemic financial pressures (PFPs) will determine their need to cut costs during the pandemic. Second, we argue that a firm’s prior investments in employees’ human capital will reduce the attractiveness of workforce reductions as a cost-cutting response to PFPs, as human capital investment (HCI) increases the value of employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities and motivation, thus inducing firms to seek alternative measures to reduce costs. We then argue that the attenuating influence of HCI on the effect of PFPs on workforce reductions will be stronger when HCI is matched with greater investments in physical capital, as employees’ human capital will create more value—and will translate to a bigger loss following employee departures—in such circumstances. We demonstrate support for our hypotheses in a sample of 1,364 U.S. banks using data from quarterly Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reports, news articles, and Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARN) Act filings through the fourth quarter of 2020. We discuss implications for our understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on organizations and employees and for research on resource orchestration and human capital.
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    Simply the Best? Star Performers and High-Potential Employees: Critical Reflections and a Path Forward for Research and Practice
    Kehoe, Rebecca; Collings, David G.; Cascio, Wayne F. (Wiley, 2023)
    In recent decades, scholars’ and practitioners’ interest in star performers and high-potential employees (HiPos) has increased dramatically. To date, however, researchers have considered these two classifications of exceptional talent in relative isolation of one another, despite the fact that they are widely considered to comprise organizations’ most valuable employees. The current article identifies and explores key intersections in the heretofore-siloed streams of research on star employees and HiPos. In so doing, we identify core assumptions, highlight questions that emerge at focal intersections, and offer a foundation for the cross-fertilization of insights to strengthen the scholarly and practical impact of inquiry related to both groups. We then consider the implications of four significant recent trends in the world of work – increased employee mobility; greater focus on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace; cross-cultural issues; and the broader set of technological changes that are shaping the workplace – for research and practice related to stars and HiPos. Along the way, we highlight the integral and path-breaking contributions of publications in Personnel Psychology to our knowledge about organizations’ best talent.
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    A Call to Action: Taking the Untenable out of Women Professors' Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Caregiving Demands
    Gabriel, Allison S.; Allen, Tammy D.; Devers, Cynthia E.; Eby, Lillian T.; Gilson, Lucy L.; Hebl, Mikki; Kehoe, Rebecca; King, Eden B.; Ladge, Jamie J.; Little, Laura M.; Ou, Amy Y.; Scheicher, Deidra J.; Shockley, Kristen M.; Klotz, Anthony C.; Rosen, Christopher, C. (Cambridge University Press, 2023)
    Despite becoming increasingly represented in academic departments, women scholars face a critical lack of support as they navigate demands pertaining to pregnancy, motherhood, and child caregiving. In addition, cultural norms surrounding how faculty and academic leaders discuss and talk about tenure, promotion, and career success have created pressure for women who wish to grow their family and care for their children, leading to questions about whether it is possible for these women to have a family and an academic career. This paper is a call to action for academia to build structures that support professors who are women as they navigate the complexities of pregnancy, the postpartum period, and the caregiving demands of their children. We specifically call on those of us in I-O psychology, management, and related departments to lead the way. In making this call, we first present the realistic, moral, and financial cases for why this issue needs to be at the forefront of discussions surrounding success in the academy. We then discuss how, in the U.S. and elsewhere, an absence of policies supporting women places two groups of academics—department heads (as the leaders of departments who have discretion outside of formal policies to make work better for women) and other faculty members (as potential allies both in the department and within our professional organizations)—in a critical position to enact support and change. We conclude with our boldest call—to make a cultural shift that shatters the assumption that having a family is not compatible with academic success. Combined, we seek to launch a discussion that leads directly to necessary and overdue changes in how women scholars are supported in academia.
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    Hiring by Professional Affiliation: The Benefits and Challenges of Leveraging Prospective Hires' Prior Employment Ties to Improve Matching and Access to Resources
    Kehoe, Rebecca; Brymer, Rhett Andrew; Keller, JR; Kim, Joonyoung (Wiley, 2022)
    Increasingly mobile careers mean that today’s hiring firms encounter external prospective employees who hold professional affiliations with more organizations (e.g., former employers) and groups (e.g., project teams) than ever before. This trend invites attention to a collection of hiring practices in which a firm leverages prospective hires’ professional affiliations to increase the firm’s access to and facilitate the efficient selection of individuals in a particular labor market talent segment––hereafter, hiring by professional affiliation (HBPA). We review research on six HBPA practices: acqui-hiring, boomerang hiring, competitor poaching, formative affiliation hiring, liftouts, and supply chain hiring. Using Podolny’s pipes and prisms metaphor, we show that research on HBPA has emphasized hiring organizations’ efforts to (a) leverage prospective hires’ focal professional affiliations as prisms to facilitate matching between the organization and new hires, and (b) leverage new hires’ focal affiliations as pipes to access resources otherwise difficult to acquire. Transcending the focus of extant research on individual HBPA practices, we then develop propositions elaborating the conditions under which HBPA is likely to yield varied consequences for firms’ workforce composition and organizational capabilities––ranging from replicating the status quo to increasing workforce diversity and organizational capacity for innovation and change.