Amassing and configuring human capital in nascent ventures: dynamic human resource capabilities
The capability of nascent ventures to configure resources and ensure viability is a central concern for entrepreneurship research. However, such capability remains largely unexplored (Corner & Wu, 2011; Newey & Zahra, 2009; Zahra, Sapienza, & Davidsson, 2006). We thus apply a dynamic capability perspective to nascent ventures and empirically explore the processes whereby emerging firms amass and configure resources in order to achieve viability. Our research setting is university spin off ventures attempting to commercialize biotechnology. Fundamental for these ventures was the amassing and configuring of human resources, world class scientists who could accomplish the science needed to transform promising compounds into marketable products. We thus propose the concept of dynamic human resource (HR) capabilities to describe capabilities these firms developed in order to achieve venture viability. This concept is consistent with other granular views of dynamic capabilities, such as dynamic marketing capabilities (Bruni & Verona, 2009) and answers the call to investigate how organizations actualize HR as an integral component of strategic capabilities and objectives (Mäkelä, Sumelius, Höglund, & Ahlvik, 2012). From three in-depth, longitudinal case studies, we identify two micro-processes -- gathering/hunting and potentiating -- that show how firms amassed and configured HR for product development and venture viability.