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Bringing Sen’s capability approach to work and human resource practices

Dilip Subramanian (Human Resource Department, Reims Management School, Reims, France)
Joan Miquel Verd (Department of Sociology, Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Josiane Vero (Training and Certification Department, Centre d’études et de Recherche sur les Qualifications (Céreq), Marseille, France)
Bénédicte Zimmermann (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 5 July 2013




The aim of this paper is to introduce the special issue of the International Journal of Manpower on capabilities, work and human resource policies and practices. After presenting the main concepts of the capability approach, inspired by Amartya Sen's work, the paper goes on to review the major findings of the contributions to this issue.


Bringing together economists and sociologists, the special issue develops a relevant range of qualitative and quantitative research methods.


The special issue adopts the capability approach as a yardstick to assess corporate policies from the combined perspective of economic and human development. It asks how firms can contribute to developing sustainable human capabilities at work.


Human resource management is mainly oriented towards optimising workers’ labour for the benefit of employers and shareholders. The papers in this issue provide some well‐documented suggestions on how to break with a reductionist understanding of employees as “human capital”, considered from the sole viewpoint of economic efficiency, by introducing a shift in perspective towards an integrated approach, embracing both economic and human development.



Subramanian, D., Miquel Verd, J., Vero, J. and Zimmermann, B. (2013), "Bringing Sen’s capability approach to work and human resource practices", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 292-304.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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