Summary of Human Capital

What It Is and Why People Invest It

Jossey-Bass, more...

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Human Capital book summary
Your employees are investing their own human capital in your business. If you want them to stay, make their investment pay.


7 Overall

7 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


The 1990s may well be remembered as the decade of employee empowerment (at least in management theory circles), but very few companies ever put their money where their mouths were when it came to dismantling the old "command-and-control" structures. Thomas O. Davenport makes a fresh case for empowerment by placing the argument in the context of the current tight labor market, and presenting scarce knowledge workers as investors of human capital. These human capital investors should be valued, nurtured and rewarded by companies in much the same way that financial investors are cared for. Although many of the conclusions that result from this novel theory mirror those of earlier works in employee empowerment, getAbstract strongly recommends this book for its original take on the changing nature of the employer/employee relationship.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why you should empower your employees;
  • How to attract and retain valuable employees; and
  • How to reward them.


Workers as Investors
Language matters. Metaphors give leaders the ability to create and describe reality. "People are our most valuable asset" became the buzz phrase of the 1990s, but few companies practiced what they preached.

Even using the term "asset" to describe people...
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About the Author

Thomas O. Davenport works in the San Francisco office of Towers Perrin, a worldwide consulting firm. He gives Fortune 500 clients advice on human resource strategy, organization effectiveness and business strategy.

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