This text has not the intention to be a full-fledged book review of the recently released publication on Why Human Capital is Important for Organizations – People Come First (Amelia Manuti and Pasquale Davide de Palma, Eds., 2014), but rather it focuses on highlighting some aspects that I found interesting for my own work and my Ph.D. studies while reading this innovative book. The transversal theme of the book is the interpretation of how academics and practitioners see the human resources management in today’s organizational context and how it should be developed in future. Overall, the book takes the reader through eleven chapters divided into four parts: Setting the Scene, The Cornerstone of Human Capital, Measuring Human Capital and Good Practices from Abroad.
In the middle of the global economic and financial crisis, the book is a good reminder of the importance of employees in all private companies and public sector institutions. The authors of the book address and speak in favour of talent management which has become the present-day challenge to any employer, recruiter or Human Resources professional. It is obvious that no organization can thrive, not even survive, in today’s competitive market without its talented, dedicated and committed people who believe in what they do and are continuously interested in developing themselves. To this end, organizations must ensure that well-designed and successfully implemented people-driven strategies are in place to support the long-term satisfaction of their staff and the achievement of their institutional vision.
All the chapters of the book were inspiring and well illuminating the latest developments in the area of Human Capital. Specifically two of them touched my brain as they were so closely linked to my own doctoral research. Assistant Professor Amelia Manuti (University of Bari, Italy) dealt with Organizational Resilience and Individual Employability – Psychological Capital and Change Management (Chapter 3) and Associate Professor Francisco Diaz Bretones (University of Granada, Spain) shared his views on Entrepreneurial Employees (Chapter 4).
Manuti was emphasizing in her text that the blurring of boundaries in many facets of life results in careers that gradually become multidirectional and that call for an enhanced ability of individuals to better cope with change-associated uncertainty in working life (i.e. improved employability). According to Diaz Bretones employees should perform as entrepreneurs at work and demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset (including qualities such as dynamism, innovation, personal development and ongoing adaption) for making the business flourish. In this context, he discussed the push and pull variables that make people in working life develop entrepreneurial behaviour to a greater or lesser extent.
All in all, I recommend the book as it gives many new insights into understanding the topic of Human Capital from the perspectives of policy, research and practice. Further, it provides a plethora of viewpoints to be taken into account when developing the management and measurement of human resources in the workplaces worldwide.