A Capital-Based Approach to the Firm

Peter Lewin

in The Oxford Handbook of Human Capital

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199532162
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

A Capital-Based Approach to the Firm

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
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This article investigates the nature of human capital (HC) through its relationship to the concept of capital more broadly. It shows that a ‘proper’ understanding of capital suggests that HC is a logical component of the capital structure of the economy and the organizations that comprise it. In contrast to the classical, the neoclassical, and (by implication) the Marxist view of capital, the Austrian view naturally embraces HC and other forms of ‘intangible’ capital such as intellectual and social capital. The relationship of HC to other forms of capital is subtle and is investigated here in some detail. Finally, the article examines how an all-embracing, fundamentally sound understanding of capital provides one with a flexible framework for the examination of a wide-ranging set of issues, including the relationship between production structures and organizational structures, the phenomenon of modularity (in production and organization), and the connection between planning and entrepreneurship.

Keywords: human capital; social capital; production structures; organizational structures; planning; entrepreneurship

Article.  6878 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Research Methods

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