The Definition and Measurement of Human Capital Resources: A Content and Meta-Analytic Review

Workshop’s Topic: Although human capital resources (HCR) may be important for organizational performance, researchers have defined and measured HCR in different ways. Consequently, it is unclear whether existing measures provide valid inferences about HCR or their relationships with other constructs. We conducted this investigation in three studies to address these questions. In Study 1, we examined HCR definitions (k = 84) and found that most definitions focus on collective knowledge, skills, and abilities. More recent definitions also include other characteristics (e.g., personality). In Study 2, a content analysis of the HCR measures (k = 127) revealed that only 23.6% of the measures focused exclusively on HCR and tended to assess only one or two dimensions of the construct (i.e., were deficient). Many measures (46.5%) assessed both HCR and other constructs (i.e., they were partially contaminated) and other measures (29.9%) assessed only constructs that were not HCR (i.e., they were fully contaminated). In Study 3 (k = 94), we found that HCR measures that were less contaminated had stronger criterion-related validity for predicting unit and organizational performance. Interestingly, partially contaminated measures were slightly more predictive than noncontaminated measures (ρ = .35 and .25, respectively), mainly because they assessed both HCR and other constructs related to performance. Both types of measures showed higher validity than fully contaminated measures. Overall, the results suggest that existing HCR measures are often inadequate and/or contaminated. We discuss the implications and provide guidance for the measurement of HCR in future research.

Time and Location: 10:00-11:30 AM (GMT+8), Room A723 (School of Management)

Language: Bilingual (Chinese and English)

Introduction of Speakers

Assist. Prof. ZHANG Liwen

University of Macau, Faculty of Business Administration

Liwen Zhang is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Business Administration University of Macau. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Resource and Organizational Behavior from Florida State College and a Master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on human resources and human capital resources. In the area of recruitment, she is interested in how people search for jobs, how organizations attract and selectthese people, and how they behave once selected. Her second area of interest is how human capital resources are created and how they contribute to organizational performance. Her work has previously been published in prestigious journals including Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology and Human Resources Management Review. Her research has also been featured in the media, including Harvard Business Review, Sydney Morning Herald and The Brief.