When too many are not enough: Human resource slack and performance at the Dutch East India Company (1700–1795)

Abstract : Slack is an elusive concept in organizational research, with studies documenting a variety of relationships between slack and firm performance. We advocate treating slack not as a resource, but as a practice – a sequence of events and responses over time. A longitudinal analysis of the Dutch East India Company (1700–1795) highlights the use of slack as a response to a resource constraint (the shortage of skilled labor). After documenting the negative performance effects of skill shortage, we identify a trade-off in the use of human resource slack (number of sailors above what is operationally required), in which slack enhanced operational reliability, but reduced efficiency. Derived from a historical context, this trade-off has contemporary relevance and is helpful in reconciling contradictory evidence on slack.
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https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-02138289
Contributeur : Martin Donnat <>
Soumis le : jeudi 23 mai 2019 - 16:36:48
Dernière modification le : vendredi 24 mai 2019 - 01:40:32

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Stoyan Sgourev, Wim van Lent. When too many are not enough: Human resource slack and performance at the Dutch East India Company (1700–1795). Human Relations, SAGE Publications, 2017, 70 (11), pp.1293-1315. ⟨10.1177/0018726717691340⟩. ⟨hal-02138289⟩

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