To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Reimagining overqualified human resources to promote organizational effectiveness and competitive advantage

David M. Sikora (Department of Management, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, United States)
Katina W. Thompson (Department of Management and Quantitative Methods, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, United States.)
Zachary A. Russell (Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, United States.)
Gerald R. Ferris (Department of Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, United States.)

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance

ISSN: 2051-6614

Article publication date: 14 March 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Many organizations hold the traditional view that due to the potential of higher job dissatisfaction and employee turnover rates, hiring overqualified job candidates is risky. The purpose of this paper is to take an alternative perspective, using Human Capital and Resource-based theories to propose that hiring overqualified job candidates adds to a firm’s human capital depth. This additional human capital depth, in turn, enables firms to improve near term organizational effectiveness, and ultimately, build long-term competitive advantage. However, the ability of the firm to sustain this competitive advantage is dependent upon the retention of the overqualified human capital. The authors propose that job and career development opportunities made available to the overqualified will increase commitment and reduce turnover intentions, resulting in a long-term competitive advantage. Thus, the conceptual framework makes reference to deployment of the overqualified as an under used source of human capital. Finally, the implications of the proposed conceptualization and directions for future research are discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews theory and proposes a conceptual framework for reimaging overqualified human resources.

Findings

There are powerful benefits to hiring overqualified job candidates, but by not hiring overqualified job candidates, organizations are missing out on a large, easily available, and potentially lower cost source of highly skilled human capital.

Practical implications

The authors propose that job and career development opportunities made available to the overqualified will increase commitment and reduce turnover intentions, resulting in a long-term competitive advantage. Thus, the conceptual framework makes reference to deployment of the overqualified as an under used source of human capital.

Originality/value

This paper uses Human Capital and Resource-Based theory to propose a conceptual framework which makes four key contributions. First, the authors propose that hiring overqualified job candidates increases an organization’s human capital depth. Next, this increased human capital leads to near term improvements in employee performance and organizational effectiveness. In turn, firms using career development exercises such as job crafting, mentoring, and/or informal leadership to retain overqualified human capital are more likely to covert near term organizational effectiveness into long-term competitive advantage. Finally, the authors offer a conceptual framework that bridges the overqualification and strategic human resources management literatures.

Keywords

Citation

Sikora, D.M., Thompson, K.W., Russell, Z.A. and Ferris, G.R. (2016), "Reimagining overqualified human resources to promote organizational effectiveness and competitive advantage", Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 23-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOEPP-03-2015-0012

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited