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Table 2 The strategic role of HR: the resource-based view

From: Human resources for health policies: a critical component in health policies

The literature on strategic management and more specifically on the resource-based view stresses the comparative benefits HR provide to organizations in terms of their skill mix, behaviour, values and distinctive qualifications [28]. This is related to the fundamental heterogeneity in the productive potential of organizations. In most sectors, organizations use the same inputs, but may differ in the processes used to combine these inputs and transform them into products. While products or services can readily be replicated, competitive advantages are provided by the unique mix of skills, knowledge and expertise possessed by staff and which have been built into organizational routine [29]. Enhanced organizational performance therefore stems from its ability to optimize HR to its own needs in order to obtain an efficient and better quality product or service. Against this background, HR policy is considered as an instrument that enables an organization to set up a strategic capital. Efficient organizations are those which make use of better practices for developing and renewing the distinctive attributes of their workforce. Empirical observations support such an assertion and show that productivity is linked, at least in part, to the type of HRM policies and practices implemented [30]. In a recent study of the domiciliary nursing care sector, Eaton examined HR policies and concluded that different approaches in the management of these resources corresponded to different levels of performance in terms of the quality of health care provided to patients [31].