Human capital reconfiguration during COVID-19 redeployments: It’s not losing, it’s winning

Kerrie Howard, Juani Swart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Crises situations, such as Covid 19, have highlighted the importance of managing
skilled individuals across networked ecosystems far beyond the boundaries of any
single organization. This change in the nature of work and the management of
employees calls for an understanding of how human capital is reconfigured by those
with boundary spanning roles to achieve network-level adjustments. This paper uses
an intellectual capital framework to understand how, human, social and organizational
capital integrate to develop new skills across organizational boundaries. Here we draw
on the notion of the importance of both the structural and agentic aspects that enable
boundary spanners to share knowledge within networked ecosystems. We present the
results of a qualitative case study investigating redeployments during the pandemic.
Based on 64 interviewees of redeployees from a civil service organization to multiple
networked projects in the U.K., we explore how individuals adjusted knowledge and
skills during and post redeployments presenting three key findings. First, we show
what enables human capital reconfiguration (which we identify as meta-capabilities).
Second, we point to the significance of social capital (SC) skills as a catalyser in
successful redeployments. Finally, we illustrate how redeployments generated
enduring new practices in individual and organizational capital levels (OC). Theoretical
and practical implications of these findings in a networked crisis context are discussed.
The paper addresses the importance of redeployments in the post-pandemic context,
where individuals create new knowledge and skills across boundaries in a network
and suggests avenues for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Academy of Management conference
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • human capital reconfiguration (HCR); redeployments; boundary spanners; knowledge; heedful interrelating; meta-capabilities; networks; crisis

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