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Comportamento Organizacional e Gestão

versão impressa ISSN 0872-9662

Comport. Organ. Gest. v.13 n.2 Lisboa out. 2007


Beyond human and intellectual capital: Profiling the value of knowledge, skills and experience


Teresa Carla Oliveira

Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra – FEUC

Stuart Holland

Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra – FEUC


Abstract. The concept of human capital is associated mainly with the Nobel Laureate Gary Becker and, in his usage, has a clear conceptual basis as investment in the costs of formal education. By contrast, this paper suggests that ‘intellectual capital’ is a re-branding of knowledge, skills and experience rather than re-conceptualisation of resource based learning. Becker also chose not to include informal knowledge, skills or experience within his concept of human capital, which remains limited by its constrained premises. This paper submits that both human capital and intellectual capital advocates fail to identify or measure the tacit knowledge and implicit learning which increasingly is recognised as a key to the competitive advantage of organisations. It first focuses on the conceptual basis of claims made for human capital and intellectual capital, outlines limits in their methodology, and contrasts these with insights from theories of tacit knowledge and implicit learning and the central role within them of informal or non-formal skill acquisition. It develops and illustrates instances of interfacing tacit and explicit knowledge before introducing a methodology for profiling the acquisition of knowledge, ability and skills. It does so by introducing the concepts of non-formal learning-from-work (LfW) and informal learning-from-life (LfL), with evidence from a four country EU case study commissioned within the lifelong learning remit of the Lisbon Agenda.

Key words: Human capital, intellectual capital, tacit knowledge, implicit skills, latent abilities, learning-from-life, learning-from-work.


Resumo. O conceito de capital humano está associado, de uma forma particular, ao Nobel atribuído a Laureate Gary Becker e ao seu uso como base conceptual para explicar os custos de investimento em educação formal. Este artigo, sugere que ‘capital intelectual’ é uma re-designação de conhecimento, competências e experiência mais do que uma re-conceptualização da aprendizagem baseada nos recursos. Mais ainda, Becker optou por não incluir conhecimento, competências e experiências informais no seu conceito de capital humano, o que reflecte constrangimentos nas suas premisas. Este artigo, ao argumentar que quer o conceito de capital humano quer o de capital intelectual não identificam e avaliam conhecimento tácito e aprendizagem implícita, evidencia o crescente reconhecimento deste tipo de conhecimento e aprendizagem como chave para a vantagem competitiva das organizações. Ao analisar o que está subjacente aos conceitos de capital intelectual e humano, identificam-se os seus limites metodológicos e apresenta-se o contributo das teorias do conhecimento tácito e aprendizagem implícita para melhor compreender a aquisição de competências informais e não formais. O artigo ainda desenvolve e exemplifica a interface entre conhecimento tácito e explícito, em particular no que se refere aos conceitos de aprendizagem não-formal no trabalho e informal da vida, com referência a um estudo realizado na perspectiva de abordagem ao longo da vida e que envolveu quatro países europeus.

Palavras-chave: Capital humano, capital intelectual, conhecimento tácito, competências implícitas e capacidades latentes, aprendizagem da vida, aprendizagem no trabalho.


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