Invest in Human Capital Development in Times of Distress

Author: Arpan Kar
Published: November 08, 2012 at 6:01 am

Today, interestingly after the economic slump has hit the markets, there has been a drastic difference in the focus of professionals to train and retrain their skill-set through higher education. Apparently, professionals and executives are often apprehensive that such investments may not bring in rich dividends; however, it is crucial to understand that such a viewpoint is essentially short-sighted in nature. Such factors affecting the economic welfare of nations are even by definition, cyclical.

In fact, when the going gets rough, it's time for business to train and develop their human resource capital, so that once the darker nights are over, the sunrise is glorious [1,4]. In fact, it is during the times of economic slowdown that professionals need to review their career objectives and focus. This is the time to train your skills and prepare for a a career boost or change based on realignment of priorities and fitness of individual competencies.

Classic research [2,3] on organizations shows that realignment of job roles and further development of human resources are key drivers of success for many professionals, working in multi-national organizations. When the sales orders start waning, successful firms need to invest to develop their work-force capital to its full potential. Despite these trends, during economic slowdown, the risk aversion personality of many professionals (which to an extent is driven by culture) prevents them from making such critical decisions.


All this said, hopefully, more and more awareness of the actual potential of training should lower the barrier of adoption of such programs. Hopefully, more and more professionals around the globe will follow the path shown by countries such as Poland and Lithuania, ensuring that when the markets improve, there will be a ready work-force to cater to the fast growing needs of every market.


  1. Debrah, Y. A., McGovern, I., & Budhwar, P. (2000). Complementarity or competition: the development of human resources in a South-East Asian Growth Triangle: Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(2), 314-335.
  2. Hackman, J. R., & Lawler, E. E. (1971). Employee reactions to job characteristics. Journal of applied psychology, 55(3), 259.
  3. Lawler, E. E., & Hall, D. T. (1970). Relationship of job characteristics to job involvement, satisfaction, and intrinsic motivation. Journal of applied psychology, 54(4), 305.
  4. Park, Y. B., & Lee, M. B. (1995). Economic Development, Globalization and Practices in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management in Korea. Employment relations in the growing Asian economies, 1, 23.


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Article Author: Arpan Kar

Dr. Arpan Kar is a faculty in Information Technology and Systems area in Indian Institute of Management, one of the Premier Business Schools of Asia. He specializes in e-commerce, technology management, technology marketing and e-supply chain management. …

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