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Human resource management systems and intellectual capital: is the relationship universal in knowledge-intensive firms?

Dmitri Sokolov (Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation)
Elena Zavyalova (Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 9 September 2020

Issue publication date: 22 June 2021

817

Abstract

Purpose

While prior research suggests that human resource management (HRM) practices are crucial drivers of a firms' intellectual capital, few studies have tried to deconstruct this relationship and investigate how HRM practices specifically affect intellectual capital resources. Furthermore, prior research treated this relationship as universal and rarely tried to introduce important contingent factors that may alter the mechanisms involved in how HRM practices influence firms' intellectual capital. In this study, the authors examine the relationships between the ability-, motivation- and opportunity-enhancing dimensions of HRM systems and human, social and structural capital and investigate how companies' codification and personalization knowledge management (KM) strategies may alter these relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected using a telephone survey of 215 knowledge-intensive companies operating in Russia. The paper utilizes partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS–SEM) to evaluate the measurement model and test hypothesized relationships.

Findings

The findings indicate positive relationships between ability-enhancing practices and firms' human capital between motivation-enhancing practices and firms' human and social capital and between opportunity-enhancing practices and firms' social and structural capital. The authors’ results reveal the limited moderating role of KM strategies in the relationships between HRM and intellectual capital. While a personalization strategy had no impact on any of the proposed relationships, a codification strategy positively moderated the relationship between opportunity-enhancing HRM practices and firms' structural capital.

Originality/value

The study expands the debates in strategic HRM literature by looking “inside” the HRM–intellectual capital relationship. Additionally, the authors’ findings reveal the complexity of the contingent effect that KM strategies of codification and personalization have on the relationship between HRM practices and intellectual capital. Although some of the relationships were not moderated by the KM strategy of the firm, the HRM–intellectual capital relationship cannot be considered fully universal.

Keywords

Citation

Sokolov, D. and Zavyalova, E. (2021), "Human resource management systems and intellectual capital: is the relationship universal in knowledge-intensive firms?", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 683-701. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-11-2018-0372

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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