How leveraging human resource capital with its competitive distinctiveness enhances the performance of commercial and public organizations



Although scholars agree that complex relationships between organizations' actual human resources (i.e., human capital stock) and means of leveraging these resources may influence performance, little empirical work has tested such propositions directly. We collected two primary data sets from privateand public-sector organizations in Israel. The multiplicative interaction between perceived human resources capital and distinctive value derived from that HR capital was significantly related to various measures of perceived and objective organizational performance. Having higher levels of human resources capital was strongly associated with performance only when top managers perceived that these resources provided distinctive value in terms of being highly valuable, inimitable, rare, and nonsubstitutable. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on strategic human resource management and the resource-based view of competitive advantage, as well as for practical efforts to develop firm-specific human resource capital that is inherently distinctive. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.