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Combining diverse knowledge: Knowledge workers' experience of specialist and generalist roles

Kelly, Grainne and Mastroeni, Michele and Monks, Kathy and Conway, Edel and Flood, Patrick and Hannon, Enda (2011) Combining diverse knowledge: Knowledge workers' experience of specialist and generalist roles. Personnel Review, 40 (5). pp. 607-624. ISSN 0048-3486

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to contribute to understanding the nature of specialist and generalist human capital by exploring the ways in knowledge workers view their experience of working in specialist and generalist roles in pharmaceutical firms in Ireland and the UK. The findings are based on interviews with 55 knowledge workers employed in a range of scientific, technical and managerial positions in four Irish and two UK firms located in the pharmaceutical sector. Interviews were also conducted with nine human resource/training and development managers within these six firms. The findings suggest that the categorisation of human capital as either specialist or generalist is too rigid and does not take account of the fact that individuals may themselves choose to shape their careers by investing in a range of education, training and development opportunities that will enable them to move between specialist and generalist roles. The paper unpacks the concepts of specialist and generalist human capital from an employee perspective and challenges the sharp distinction that is made between specialist and generalist human capital.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Refereed:Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords:human capital; specialist; generalist; knowledge workers; learning; pharmaceutical sector.
Subjects:Business > Personnel management
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > DCU Business School
Publisher:Emerald
Official URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00483481111154469
Copyright Information:© 2011 Emerald Publishing.
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:16709
Deposited On:14 Dec 2011 11:41 by Fran Callaghan. Last Modified 14 Dec 2011 11:41

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