Keywords: human resources competencies, biotechnology, capacities, growth management, strategic competencies, Canada, strategic competence model, management process, human resources management, HRM
The growth of Quebec's biotechnology firms and the implications of underinvestment in strategic competencies
This paper examines the problem of human resources access for biotechnology firms in Quebec. The results of a survey conducted with 124 biotechnology firm managers document that access to human resources is a sizable challenge, the second most important issue facing these firms, after financing. The results further indicate that while firm managers are preoccupied by the skills and competencies of human resources and recognise its importance, the scarcity of available headcount in the market, coupled with firm growth management imperatives, are a key limiting factor in the development of the firms' competencies. In this study, a strategic competence model is applied to understand the contribution of human resources to the management process of biotechnology firms. In particular, we formulate the working hypothesis that firms engage in fierce competition in the input market for scientific, technological, and management competencies. A systems archetype is used to illustrate the tradeoff between short-term financial priorities and the need for capacity building, whose 'tangible' benefits will only be measured in the long term.