Human Resource (HR) researchers have a tendency to generalize their results and prescriptions across a wide range of organizations without regard to possible contingencies. This can be dangerous. This article demonstrates the nature of the difficulties that can arise in two ways. First, by comparing hypotheses concerning the relationships between HR policies and practices and firm performance derived from the high‐tech and entrepreneurial literatures, and highlighting the inconsistencies. Second, by testing the applicability of these hypotheses to a hybrid form of organization, namely, the high‐tech entrepreneurial startup firm. The results show some support for the high‐tech model, and more limited support for the entrepreneurial model, suggesting the need for more contingency‐based notions of HR strategy. Implications are drawn for both research and practice.