Functional Flexibility in Human Resource Management Systems: Conceptualization and Measurement

Susana Fernandez-Perez de la Lastra, Fernando Martin-Alcazar, Gonzalo Sanchez-Gardey


In spite of its strategic relevance, functional flexibility has still not been clearly defined by the literature. Drawing on different conceptualizations and measurement tools, empirical studies have reached different and even contradictory findings. This paper proposes a construct to define and measure functional flexibility in the field of Human Resource Management. In doing so, we will try to clarify this concept, classifying previous definitions and contributing with an integrative conceptualization. In the first part of this work we discuss and justify the need for certain level of functional flexibility in human resource management systems, which helps the organization to improve its capacity to adaptat to current environments. From this point of view, this capacity is considered as a relevant source of competitive advantage. Drawing on our theoretical analysis, we propose a new functional flexibility construct and a measurement model that could help to develop deeper analysis on this topic. This construct would serve as a starting point in the definition of a measurement scale for functional flexibility. Future research lines derived from this analysis are discussed in the last section of the paper. Specifically, we discuss the need to analyse how exploration and exploitation of human capital can be combined in flexible human resource management strategies.

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International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


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