The Human Resources Debt in Software Business

Towards a Research Roadmap
  • Sonja M. Hyrynsalmi
  • Minna M. Rantanen
  • Johannes Holvitie
  • Sami HyrynsalmiEmail author
  • Erkki Sutinen
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 907)


This conceptual-analytical paper presents and defines the concept of ‘human resource debt’ (i.e., HR debt). The presented concept draws from the software engineering field’s recent work in the technical debt management, yet it departures from the existing conceptualizations by focusing on skills and competences of individual employees as well as emphasizing the need to manage the skill pool with conscious decisions. As with its paragons, this novel concept aims to help to understand, control and utilize better the phenomenon by using a simple metaphor. In addition, the metaphor, borrowed from the economics, also emphasizes the potential price that has to be paid back later. In the discussion, the ever-changing software industry is used as an example industrial domain; however, the concept should be generalizable to other fields. Finally, the paper lays foundations for future work and proposes initial actions needed for forming a proper research agenda.


Human resource debt Skills Human resource management Talent shortage Technical debt 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Turku School of EconomicsUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Department of Future TechnologiesUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Pervasive ComputingTampere University of TechnologyPoriFinland

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