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Human Capital Measurement, Ambiguity, and Opportunism: Actors between Menace and Opportunity

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  • Gotthard Pietsch

Abstract

Under the growing influence of economic normative thoughts (as for example the spread of shareholder value philosophy in the 1990s) and therefore under pressure to justify themselves, human resource management professionals are searching for con-cepts to measure the effects of their decisions and activities on business objectives. Especially, the concepts of human capital measurement attract far-reaching attention. However, that performance measurement of human resource management faces con-siderable methodical problems leading to the distinctive ambiguity of human capital information. In the face of this ambiguity, the paper points out that human capital measurement tends to promote opportunistic patterns of behavior by offering oppor-tunities to evade personal responsibility. Referring to the model of organizational an-archy, the paper shows that human capital measurement is in danger to evoke a dilu-tion of responsibilities in organizations. But a comprehensive institutionalization and a deliberate “framing” of human capital measurement can contribute to the limitation of opportunism.

Suggested Citation

  • Gotthard Pietsch, 2007. "Human Capital Measurement, Ambiguity, and Opportunism: Actors between Menace and Opportunity," Zeitschrift fuer Personalforschung. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 21(3), pages 252-273.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:zfpers:doi_10.1688/1862-0000_zfp_2007_03_pietsch
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    Keywords

    Human Capital Measurement; Opportunism; Organizational Anarchy; Value Based Management;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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