Strategic human asset management: Evidence from North America

Subramaniam Ananthram, Alan Nankervis, Christopher Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Human resource management (HRM) theory has transitioned in recent decades towards "human capital" and "human assets" frameworks that emphasize strategic choice and "investment", which are concepts borrowed from strategic management, accounting and economic theories. This paper aims to explore the perspectives of strategic human asset management theory, which involves strategic agility and knowledge management. Design/methodology/approach: The research was based on semi-structured interviews with 30 senior executives of multinational firms in Canada and the USA in 2009, following the global financial crisis. The qualitative findings were analyzed using the NVivo software (version 8) package. Findings: The research findings suggest that many North American multinational firms recognize the value of this new interpretation of HRM and are attempting to implement it through "strategic human asset management" in their own firms. The paper concludes with some practical recommendations for line managers and HR professionals in their human assets management imperatives. Research limitations/implications: The generalizability of the findings is limited by the relatively small sample size and qualitative nature of the study. However, they provide some interesting implications for HR professionals who wish to transform their role into that of a strategic business partner through innovative human asset management strategies. Originality/value: The paper builds on previous research by exploring the applications of the concepts of strategic human asset management, strategic agility, and knowledge management within the context of US and Canadian multinational firms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-299
Number of pages19
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Globalization
  • HRM
  • Human resource management
  • Knowledge management
  • Strategic agility
  • Strategic human asset management
  • Strategic management


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