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Connecting Developments in Corporate Human Management Thinking to the Capability Approach as Used in International Development Research


  • Cameron, John
  • Eyeson, Abena


This paper offers Amartya Sen’s capability approach as a framework for understanding and evaluating Human Resource Development activities in larger organizations, specifically transnational corporations (TNCs). There is a growing literature on international human resource management targeted at people studying management in large organizations which has encouraged an element of cultural sensitivity in HR practices. This paper is concerned with demonstrating how the capability approach can help link the world of work to wider socio-economic and citizenship development. Human exploitation (more negative) and raising returns to human capital (more positive) are compared to the capability approach as models for understanding the impact of human resource management activities. For the Capability Approach, it is important to take into account the potential impact of HRD on people working for a TNC and on their wider well-being outside the TNC. A case study of TNCs in Ghana is used to explore how the capability approach can be applied in practice. The paper concludes with some reflections on how the approach may help provide a conceptual framework for the global discourse on TNCs as potential developmental agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Cameron, John & Eyeson, Abena, 2012. "Connecting Developments in Corporate Human Management Thinking to the Capability Approach as Used in International Development Research," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 23(2), pages 173-215.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2012_2_cameron

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    human resource management; capability approach; decent work; corporate social responsibility; human capital; human exploitation;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J83 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Workers' Rights
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General


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