The Resource-Based View of the Firm, Human Resources, and Human Capital: Progress and Prospects

Barry Gerhart, Jie Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


We describe the interplay between the resource-based view (RBV) and strategic human resources (HR)/human capital (HC) literatures in select areas of particular interest. In each area, we aim to highlight key issues, review relevant evidence where available, and identify future research needs. We begin by reviewing research on HR-related firm heterogeneity. We then discuss best practices in HR, including evidence of the large apparent value they create. We also consider different views on the value and ease of imitation of best practices, including implementation challenges. Next, we briefly address the key roles of microfoundations and complementarity in helping understand the potential for value creation and value capture through the use of best practices. We then ask whether the use of best practices in the pursuit of competitive parity might warrant greater attention as this may be where the largest potential gains can be made. Finally, we consider a number of developments in the strategic HC literature, especially those related to firm-specific human capital (FSHC). We raise questions with views on issues such as the consequences of FSHC for workers; the definition and measurement of FSHC; whether worker immobility, a key to value capture, is good from a social return (or even a firm) return perspective; and the relative emphasis on value capture and value creation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1796-1819
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


  • a conceptual review
  • human capital
  • human resources
  • the resource-based view of the firm


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