authors show which HR strategies, measures and practices are employed in different configuration types and how they shape learning dynamics in accordance with environmental dynamics.
In the conceptual paper ‘Changing workforce demographics: the strategies derived from the resource-based view of HRM’, Verworn et al. argue that many companies do not realise yet that the demographic changes in the workforce require new HRM strategies. One reason for this could be that intrafirm demographic change is a creeping process. Thus, the obviously rising average age of employees may not seem to be worrisome, as long as there is no effect on day-to-day business. However, it might be shortsighted to focus on current business and to ignore arising issues. For example, as the ‘baby boomer’ generation ages, a significant part of the workforce will retire at the same time. On the one hand, employees and their implicit knowledge will leave the firms; on the other hand, the recruitment of a qualified workforce in the external labour market might be hampered by skill shortages in some regions. Thus, it is necessary to develop HRM strategies based on long-term considerations. The existing resource-based theory focuses on general competencies or HR systems without considering the challenges of changing workforce demographics. This paper derives more specific strategies to manage an ageing and shrinking workforce from the resource-based view of the firm.
The third paper, ‘HRM and the employment of older workers: Germany and Britain compared’, by Schröder et al. is an empirical study which examines HRM policies and practices towards older workers in Britain and Germany. Whereas it is widely suggested that older workers have to be better integrated into the labour market, youth-centric HRM is still prevalent. However, HRM is shaped by multiple and contradictory pressures from the international and national institutional environments. The authors test this dynamic by analysing two national surveys, the German firm panel and the British Workplace and Employment Relations Survey (WERS). Their findings suggest that the institutional environment shapes HR policies and practices distinctively in both countries. Schröder et al. find that age discrimination at the workplace is more prevalent in Germany than in Britain, which can be explained by divergent institutional pressures. As a result, they argue that although both countries will have to continue fostering an age-neutral HR approach, this has to take country-specific institutional pressures into account.
The next paper, ‘Does the ageing workforce hamper the innovativeness of firms? (No) evidence from Germany’, by Verworn and Hipp, argues that due to demographic changes, the personnel structure of the workforce in countries like Germany and Japan will change considerably in the next few years. At the same time, companies need creative and skilled human resources to innovate. Ageing employees, skill shortages and knowledge losses due to the retirement wave of the ‘baby boomers’ might hamper the innovativeness and rate of change of whole nations. Knowledge management, qualification programmes and high recruiting efforts are becoming critical for the