آموزش در سطح بنگاه در سیستم های اقتصادی محلی: جامعیت در تولید و استراتژی های نوآوری شرکت ها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8614||2007||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 36, Issue 6, December 2007, Pages 875–894
The paper presents a conceptual review over the main aspects concerning the role of human capital investments and training activities within production processes, followed by empirical evidence on two local economic systems in Northern Italy, based on recent survey data. Theoretical and empirical considerations are brought together in order to provide new insights on the role of training and the factors associated to training activities at firm level. The potential driving factors of training here analysed compounds structural characteristics, labour demand dynamics, human resource management practices, workforce features, and firm performances. We observe that training activities emerge positively associated with high-performance practices, innovative labour demand features, workforce skill level, firm size, and are affected by labour flexibility in various directions. Empirical evidence confirms most previous results but also adds further important insights. The analysis suggests that a widening gap, between few innovatively evolving and many stagnant firms, could characterise the future dynamics of the Region. The high relevance of structural variables, labour demand factors and HRM/innovation practices shows that regional industrial policies and labour policies should be jointly implemented for increasing potential firm productivity. This is a key concern for the current debate on local systems economic development in the European and Italian environment.
In his seminal contribution in modern economic theory about training in firms, Becker (1975) drew the crucial distinction between specific and general training and analysed its consequences. Assuming perfect competition in both the labour and the product market, perfect information and perfect mobility of productive factors, Becker shows that no employer is available to fund training of employees for the acquisition of skills/knowledge that affect positively employees’ productivity in the firm financing training, as well as in other comparable firms; namely no employer funds general training. On the contrary, employer's financing is available for specific training, namely the acquisition of knowledge/skill that affect positively employees’ productivity solely in the firm providing the financial means supporting this training programme. In the case of specific training the burden of financing is sustained not only by the employer, but also by the employees benefiting from training support, who share with the employer direct training expenses and opportunity costs. Departing from Becker's treatment of human capital, the economic literature has focused on three different approaches. The first one is strictly theoretical and aims at investigating the consequences of relaxing some of the assumptions on which Becker's model is set up. The other approaches are mainly empirical and are devoted to investigate three different issues related to provision of training and accumulation of human capital in firms, namely: (a) the propensity of employers to fund general training of employees; (b) the structural determinants of firms associable to provision of any form of training; (c) the effect of training on the level of both absolute and relative wages.1 The paper is divided as follows. Next sections of part I present a critical conceptual framework regarding training and skills as critical elements in the analysis of production processes. Section 2 then presents empirical evidence, which grounds on recent survey data, for the critical factors correlated to firm training strategies in a local industrial system. Section 3 concludes by examining the main implications of empirical results and providing suggestions for regional policy.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We conclude with a summary of results (see Table 3), which allows some considerations on the current development of local systems and on regional policies. The applied investigation on the two local systems sheds light on diverse factors correlated to training activities at firm level. Considering different training activities, we found a robust correlation both between formal and informal (H1a) training and between training for employees and training for newly hired (H1b). As far as the structural characteristics of firms are concerned, a clear size effect in both local environments can be observed (H2a). This outcome confirms the evidence, supported by other works in the field, that firm size is a key factor for both techno-organisational innovation and high-performance practices, including training. This further supports the view that major national and local policy efforts should be thus focussed toward providing incentives to size-enlargement and/or to networking/grouping strategies of Italian firms in the current scenario. Market variables, such as the share of revenue linked to foreign markets and to the final market, seem to play here a minor role: size effects dominate in the multi-variate analysis. Then, the two case studies shed light on different important factors which might play a role in driving training decisions. Major results are the positive role played by organisational innovations (H2b, Reggio Emilia local system), innovative labour demand features (H2c, Ferrara local system) and performance-oriented management of labour flexibility (H2d, both cases), a multi-dimensional concept here proxied by various indexes. Training is positively associated to other organisational high-performance practices. When different practices are considered separately, only TQM and task rotation exert a positive impact. This could suggest both that it is the intensity of high-performance practices adoption which is relevant, but also that some HRM exert a greater impact, depending strictly on specific structural conditions. It is worth noting that firms recruiting workers for motivations associated to the necessity of acquiring “new skills” and introducing “process-product innovation” seem to invest more in training. An innovative content of labour demand is thus a driving force for training. As far as workforce characteristics are concerned, we note the predictable key role played by education levels and skills embodied in workers. Moving to labour flexibility issues, the different effects of flow and stock contract-related flexibility are a key element for firm labour management, which the present study addresses. The paper shows that, as expected, a positive association between training provision and the flow of short-term labour contract holds (H2d). In addition to that, training provision is instead often negatively associated to the stock of short-term employees. The management of labour flexibility in the Reggio Emilia local system confirms that functional and numerical flexibility may be integrated within firm productive processes following a performance-oriented approach. Finally, it is worth noting that tenure is not correlated with training in a multivariate setting (H2d). Finally, both case studies show a positive role played by (past) productivity levels. Financial variables, including profits, instead do not impact on training decisions (H2e), maybe highlighting a mis-management by firms at a dynamic level. Although it is worth noting that performance variables are quite obviously correlated to each other, the pivotal role played by (past) productivity levels could suggest that a dynamic virtuous circle is present, characterised by co-evolutionary increases in productivity and training efforts, probably mainly financed by sources external to the firm. The gap between high performance and low performance firms, if this is true, is widening. Further data on future productivity, when available, could reinforce this statement, if a productivity → training/HRM → productivity dynamic relationship will be confirmed by future data. The analysis allows addressing some key questions of labour policies. Training activities emerge positively associated with productivity, high-performance practices, innovative labour demand features, workforce skill level, firm size, and affected by labour flexibility in various directions. The high relevance of both structural variables (i.e., size, sector), labour demand factors (specifically the innovation content of labour demand and labour management) and HRM/innovation practices (also positively correlated with structural variables and labour demand dynamics) shows that regional industrial policies must support labour policies within an integrated policy effort aimed at increasing potential firm productivity. The analysis also suggests that a widening gap, between innovatively evolving and more stagnant firms, could characterise the future dynamics of those local areas. This is a key concern for the current debate on local systems in the European and Italian environment.