Managerial Obsolescence

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Int. J. Human Resources Development and Management, Vol. 9, Nos. 2/3, 2009

Strategies against competency obsolescence: the case of R&D-intensive organisations Wolfgang H. Güttel* Chair of Organization and Strategic Management University of Hamburg Von Melle-Park 5, D-20148 Hamburg, Germany E-mail: guettel@econ.uni-hamburg.de *Corresponding author

Stefan Konlechner
Department of Management Institute for Human Resource Management Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration Althanstraße 51, A-1090, Vienna, Austria E-mail: stefan.konlechner@wu-wien.ac.at

Florian Kohlbacher
German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F 7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0094, Japan E-mail: kohlbacher@dijtokyo.org

Beate Haltmeyer
R|M International Fischhof 3/6, A-1010 Vienna, Austria E-mail: bh@rmipartners.com Abstract: The consequences of demographic change for firms are increasingly discussed in both academia and industry. However, empirical findings indicate that the correlation between an employee’s age and performance is nearly insignificant. What matters most is the currency of employees’ competencies. The Human Resources Management (HRM) literature offers suggestions about ‘best practices’ to keep competencies up to date. In this paper, we present empirical results from R&D-intensive organisations (non-university research). Based on qualitative empirical data, we identified configuration types that perform different strategies for keeping employees’ competencies up to date. The differences result from the relation of an organisation’s environment to its internal learning dynamics. Consequently, the appropriateness of Human Resource (HR) strategies, measures and practices to keep competencies up to date depends on the configuration type. ‘Best practices’ in one configuration type can be ‘worst practices’ in another. We show which HR strategies, measures and practices are employed in different configuration types and how they shape the learning dynamics in various environments.

Copyright © 2009 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Strategies against competency obsolescence
Keywords: obsolescence; ageing workforce; R&D-intensive organisations; exploration; exploitation; ambidexterity. Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Güttel, W.H., Konlechner, S., Kohlbacher, F. and Haltmeyer, B. (2009) ‘Strategies against competency obsolescence: the case of R&D-intensive organisations’, Int. J. Human Resources Development and Management, Vol. 9, Nos. 2/3, pp.124–148. Biographical notes: Wolfgang H. Güttel is a Professor for Organization and Strategic Management at the University of Hamburg in Germany. He is also affiliated with the Department of Technique and Management at the University of Padua in Italy and with the Department of Management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration in Austria. Previously, he was AIM Research Fellow at the Management School at the University of Liverpool, UK (2007), Professor at the University of Kassel, Germany and Assistant Professor at the Department of Management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (2002–2006). His main research interests are dynamic capabilities, ambidexterity (the relationship between exploration and exploitation) and replication. Stefan Konlechner is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Human Resource Management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria. Florian Kohlbacher is a Research Fellow at the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo, Japan. He is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at the Hamburg University of Technology, Germany, a Fellow of the World Demographic Association and an Honorary Board Member of the International Mature Marketing Network. He teaches business and management at several universities in Tokyo and he is the author of International Marketing in...
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