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18 Types of Human Capital

Human capital is the productive capacity of labor. This can be used to model the economic potential of nations, cities, organizations, teams and individuals. The following are common elements of human capital.


The health of individuals influences their productivity. As such, a society with a healthy lifestyle, high quality of life and good healthcare system may be more productive.

Know How

Practical knowledge that is applicable to creating value.

Tacit Knowledge

Knowledge that you can't obtain from reading a book such as how to play the violin or hit a baseball.

Situational Knowledge

Knowledge that is highly contextual. For example, a farmer who knows that a particular field has an unusual good terroir for grapes.

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is the ability to identify and analyze broad end-to-end impacts of actions.


The ability to create new things both tangible and intangible that are useful.


The ability to think beyond the obvious to identify valuable ideas that elude others.

Social Capital

Social capital is the goodwill, fellowship and cooperation that exists in a society or organization that allows people to work productively as a group. For example, shared language, norms and manners.

Social Status

The social standing of an individual in a group. For example, an accomplished professional athlete who is viewed with respect and admiration by fans.

Cultural Capital

Cultural capital is the ability to influence within the context of a culture.

Relational Capital

Relationships between organizations and people. For example, a sales person who knows everyone in your industry.


The ability to influence and motivate groups to achieve common goals.

Strategic Thinking

Developing plans that achieve goals in a competitive and constrained environment.

Decision Making

The ability to make high quality and timely decisions in an environment of change and uncertainty.

Problem Solving

Finding reasonable solutions to problems including the ability to determine the root cause of a problem.


Research related skills such as information discovery, analysis and experimentation.


Placing your accountability and responsibility before more selfish urges.

Personal Resilience

The ability to endure criticism and stresses without losing your enthusiasm.

Human Capital vs Talent

The term human capital is somewhat contentious as people don't like to be compared to other types of capital such as money, land and machines. For example, human capital was voted the German Un-word of the Year in 2004 for being a degrading term that views people as financial assets.
Historically, human work was referred to as labor by economists and not as capital. Human capital emerged to describe the vast differences in productivity between nations, organizations and individuals that make "labor" a poor description.
People may prefer their productive capacity to be described with words such as talent or ability. Well received synonyms of human capital include human resources, knowledge capital, creative capacity, productive capacity, skilled labor and talent pool.
Overview: Human Capital
The productive capacity of labor.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about capital.
Capital Equipment
Capital Goods
Capital Intensity
Central Planning
Data Asset
Financial Capital
Fixed Asset
Human Capital
Individual Capital
Intellectual Capital
Knowledge Capital
Mixed Economy
Natural Capital
Physical Capital
Process Capital
Public Capital
Relational Capital
Social Capital
Structural Capital
More ...
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Schlosser, Horst Dieter. "Unwort des Jahres 2004 gewählt." Sprachkritische Aktion Unwort des Jahres, January 18, 2005.


A list of common types of capital.

Cultural Capital

A definition of cultural capital with examples.

Social Capital

The definition of social capital with examples.


The definition of bourgeoisie with examples.

Capital Intensive

The definition of capital intensive with examples.

Labor Intensive

The definition of labor intensive with examples.

Consumer Durables

The definition of consumer durable with examples.


The definition of fixtures with examples.

Fixed Asset

The definition of fixed asset with lists of examples.


A list of things that are knowledge.

Organizational Intelligence

A definition of organizational intelligence with examples.

Direct Experience

A definition of direct experience with examples.

Knowledge Economy

The definition of knowledge economy with examples.

Situated Knowledge

The definition of situated knowledge with examples.

Knowledge Transfer

The common types of knowledge transfer.

Original Research

The definition of original research with examples.

Knowledge Examples

The definition of knowledge with examples.


The different between knowledge and wisdom with examples.


The definition of unknowable with examples.
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