The Simpson’s clip below illustrates how human capital can be co-specialized with other assets to create an advantage. The Intel chip, once paired with Homer, becomes a strategic asset in the pastry sciences. In this way, human capital becomes industry and firm-specific and can be a source of competitive advantage especially if rivals have no substitutes. This is also related to Lazear’s skill weights model where unique combinations of general human capital form highly idiosyncratic knowledge bases. Could Homer be a source of advantage for Dunkin Donuts? Who would reap the gains?
Contributed by Russ Coff