Human resources as strategic assets: An evolutionary resource-based theory

Frank Mueller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper proposes an evolutionary approach to strategic human resources. This means that, first of all, truly valuable strategic assets are unlikely to result directly from senior management policies. Rather, what is truly valuable is the 'social architecture' that results from ongoing skill formation activities, forms of spontaneous co-operation, the tacit knowledge that accumulates as the unplanned side-effect of intentional corporate behaviour. Thus, corporate prosperity not seldom rests in the social architecture that has emerged slowly and incrementally over time, and may even predate the tenure of current senior management. Given the low visibility of such spontaneous co-operation, it is even more likely to be resistant to easy imitation and therefore a valuable strategic asset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-785
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


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