Human Capital, Inter-firm Mobility and Organizational Evolution

Human Capital, Inter-firm Mobility and Organizational Evolution

Johannes M. Pennings and Filippo Carlo Wezel

The authors of this fascinating and original work contend that by analysing the conduct of organization members, a great deal can be learnt about firm behaviour and about the cooperative and competitive forces that underlie industry evolution.

Chapter 10: In Conclusion: Micro Behaviors as Inducements for Firm and Sector Evolution

Johannes M. Pennings and Filippo Carlo Wezel

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisation studies


10. In conclusion: micro behaviors as inducements for firm and sector evolution In the foregoing chapters, we have explored organizational strategies and structures that are conditioned by individual actions. We have been able to trace changes in competitive positioning, behavior and structure that are triggered by the actions of the firm’s membership. Members engage in behaviors that have repercussions at the level of their firm but also at higher levels including the local and sector-wide environment and taking in the competitive arena within which the firm competes. Two sets of empirical studies were included in this volume. The first set, examined in Part II, looked at intangible assets among human-intensive organizations as distinct from organizations in general. Obviously, as human-intensive firms become increasingly important in Western societies and agricultural, manufacturing and mining firms recede into the background, the nature of such firms should accord a prominent place to their membership. After all the skills and capabilities that reside in the membership represent the primary source of their competitive advantage. The prominence of membership in human asset-intensive firms is also evident in the second collection of chapters, in Part III, dealing with individual mobility within and between firms. Recently, the recognition that firms often face a retention dilemma (for example, Coff, 1997) has highlighted a major managerial factor in attracting, retaining and integrating human resources. Unlike mining and numerous manufacturing firms which are endowed with significant physical assets, the assets in services firms like those covered in this volume are...

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