Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Human Resource Development International


A key challenge facing small professional service firms (PSFs) in the context of implementing human resource development (HRD) is access to resources. The use of external and internal networks represents an important means of identifying and acquiring needed resources. We utilize resource dependency and network theories to explore the types of networks used by owner-managers to acquire HRD resources and the types of resources that are acquired. We investigate these issues utilizing three case study organizations located in the Republic of Ireland and interview data from owner-managers and employees. We found that small PSFs derived resources from both coercive and advisory external networks, in addition to a variety of internal networks including employees, personal contacts and interdependencies between owner-managers and employees. Different types of HRD resources included systemic, socio-political and strategic resources that helped them meet HRD priorities and goals. We discuss the implications for theory, research and practice.