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Knowledge Strategies, Firm Types, and Complementarity in Human-Resource Practices

  • Keld Laursen

    ()

  • Volker Mahnke

    ()

This paper argues that complementary humanresource practices play an important role inthe development of a knowledge based theory offirm. In general, such a theory might beadvanced through investigating complementarycoordination mechanisms as components ofgovernance structures. In particular, humanresource practice combinations contribute ascoordination mechanisms to organise knowledgecreation and exploitation in complex socialrelations. Yet, little is known about why and howinnovation strategies and activity systems ofdifferent firm types relate to combinations ofhuman resource practices. We address this gapby investigating the impact of firm types andknowledge strategies pursued on the applicationof human resource practices in a multisectoralsample of 684 manufacturing and 1,200non-manufacturing firms. We find that theadoption of practices applied differ with thecharacteristics of knowledge strategies andwith firm types. In addition, after controllingfor these differences, we find thatcomplementarity effects among practices arepresent in varying degrees. The implications ofour findings include that there are fewerrestrictions to combinations of coordinationmechanisms than widely assumed. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1017985623502
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Management and Governance.

Volume (Year): 5 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-27

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:5:y:2001:i:1:p:1-27
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  1. Mendelson, Haim & Pillai, Ravindran R., 1999. "Information Age organizations, dynamics and performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 253-281, March.
  2. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 1998. "An Empirical Framework for Testing Theories About Complimentarity in Organizational Design," NBER Working Papers 6600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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