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date: 17 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article assesses the future of human capital (HC) in organizations from an industrial-relations perspective. It notes that, paradoxically, while HC has grown in importance in the shift to a knowledge-based economy, the externalization of work that has accompanied this shift and the consequent weakening of labour market institutions has reduced incentives and pressures on firms to invest in people. The article suggests that this is a case of market failure. Resolving this paradox requires firms as well as unions, professional associations, staffing agencies, and the state to work together. The employment relationship thus becomes their unit of analysis, and this article explores the variety of institutional support which is necessary to rebuild and sustain that relationship in the future economy.

Keywords: human capital, knowledge-based economy, unions, professional associations, staffing agencies

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