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The Impact of Company Human Resource Policies on Social Skills: Implications for Training Sponsorship, Quit Rates and Efficiency Wages

  • Green, Francis

The concept of a firm's human capital is reconsidered to include both the technical and the social skills of its workforce. Technical skills are defined by the ability to turn inputs into outputs, and measured by the productivity of unit labour effort. Social skills are defined by the propensity to behave in a manner conducive to the firm's objectives. In other words, social skills are constituted as the norm of effort contribution to which an individual assents, and are measured by observed motivation and behaviour. The existence for firms of a labour management function is proposed and supported, relating social skills to human resource policies. Implications for the labour market are that: (i) firms pay for general training and, at the same time, wages do not necessarily increase with training; (ii) human capital acquisition may not lead to an increase in quitting, even controlling for wages; (iii) human resource policies substitute for efficiency wages or for employee monitoring; and (iv) economies with high organisational commitment have low equilibrium unemployment rates. Copyright 2000 by Scottish Economic Society.

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Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 47 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 251-72

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:47:y:2000:i:3:p:251-72
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  1. Booth, Alison L & Satchell, Stephen E, 1994. "Apprenticeships and Job Tenure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 676-95, October.
  2. Carmichael, H.L. & Macleod, W.B., 1991. "Multiskilling, Technical Change and the Japanese Firm," Cahiers de recherche 9112, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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  4. Francis Green & Stephen Machin & David Wilkinson, 1999. "Trade unions and training practices in British workplaces," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 179-195, January.
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  7. John MacDuffie, 1995. "Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance: Organizational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 197-221, January.
  8. Costabile, Lilia, 1995. "Institutions, Social Custom and Efficiency Wage Models: Alternative Approaches," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(5), pages 605-23, October.
  9. Green, Francis & Weisskopf, Thomas E, 1990. "The Worker Discipline Effect: A Disaggregative Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 241-49, May.
  10. Campbell, Carl M, III, 1993. "Do Firms Pay Efficiency Wages? Evidence with Data at the Firm Level," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 442-70, July.
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  12. Leibenstein, Harvey, 1982. "The Prisoners' Dilemma in the Invisible Hand: An Analysis of Intrafirm Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 92-97, May.
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