Impacts of Technology on Human Capital

Impacts of Technology on Human Capital
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Information Technology Revolution

The globalization of the world’s economic systems and the rapid integration of information and communication technologies in the workplace have significantly altered job content and skills requirements for the workforce. In the nineteenth century, capital equipment was seen as the single decisive factor driving economic growth while knowledge and skills only played a supporting role. In this economic era, economic prosperity depends on brains rather than brawn. This transformation from a world largely dominated by physical resources to a world dominated by knowledge, implies a shift in the focus of economic power as profound as that which occurred at the time of the Industrial Revolution. The perception of the role of human intervention in economic transactions has also changed (Chinien, Moratis, Boutin, & Baalen, 2002). There is an emerging consensus that the “focus is shifting from appreciation of physical labour and the ability to coordinate and regulate to the ability to contribute to knowledge generation and application” (Keursten & Kessels, 2002, p. 1).

Human capital – defined as knowledge, skills, competencies, and capabilities that individuals acquire during their life to produce goods, services, or ideas – is not only beneficial to the well-being of the worker, but is also viewed as a competitive resource that gives a comparative advantage to a company. Human capital is also a key element in ascertaining a country’s national prosperity.

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