Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in Organizational Dynamics, vol. 33, no. 2 (2004), pp. 143–160. doi 10.1016/j.orgdyn.2004.01.003


Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


There is growing evidence that human resources are crucial to organizational success, and may offer the best return on investment for sustainable competitive advantage. Jeffery Pfeffer’s extensive work, summarized in his book The Human Equation, discusses substantially supported but unfortunate findings that only about half of today’s organizations and their managers believe that human resources really do matter. Moreover, only half of those organizations act upon their beliefs beyond paying lip service to this vital resource. Few organizations have adopted high performance work practices, such as 360-degree feedback, pay-for-performance, self-managed teams, employee empowerment, and other human-oriented initiatives. Furthermore, Pfeffer shows that about half of those who ‘‘believe’’ that human resources are their most important asset and ‘‘do something about it’’ actually ‘‘stick to’’ their beliefs and commit to these high performance work practices over time.