Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Human Capital Management – Achieving Added Value through People
Article Type: Suggested reading From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 16, Issue 5
Angela Baron and Michael Armstrong,Kogan Page, 2007
Keywords: Human capital, Human resource management, Value added
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development credentials of both authors, and Michael Armstrong’s pedigree as an author of note on human-resource management and performance management and as an independent management consultant, imply that this book will be well researched and practical. Readership should include both those who seek an informed introduction to human-capital management (HCM) as well as managers and HR specialists who seek to enhance their knowledge through up-to-date case studies and practical suggestions.
The authors state: “the prime object of the book is to provide a practical guide to how HCM policies and practices can help to deliver added value through people while continuing to meet their aspirations and needs.”
Part 1 covers the concepts and aims of human capital and human-capital management and a broad description of how the HCM process works. Part 2 describes the practical application of HCM with regard to such activities as data collection, measurement and reporting. It also identifies case studies and a range of approaches to analysis, including the balanced scorecard and people and performance models, while also making links to HR strategy formulation, learning and development, knowledge management, performance and reward management. Part 3 examines the role of HR in HCM and the future of the HCM concept. A detailed HCM toolkit is provided as an appendix, for readers considering developing HCM in their organizations. The chapter on measuring human capital also gives examples of methods and approaches from various firms, thus grounding the concept in the reality of the workplace.
The text is neither hugely academic nor totally based on practice, but finds a balance between the two. As such, it is eminently readable. Whether you are a fan of the concept or not, the authors make a potentially complex subject that bit simpler. A gap in the marketplace for a book on this subject has existed for some time. In writing about it, the authors have provided a text that will broaden perspectives and enhance knowledge as to how to achieve a closer match between the harder aspects of employee asset management and the softer aspects of actually valuing employees for their skills and knowledge.
Reviewed by Alan Cattell, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK.
A longer version of this review was originally published in Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 39 No. 7, 2007.