The stress on 'human resources' as an organizational asset goes back at least to Drucker (1954). This was elaborated in the theory of 'human capital' by Schultz (1963) who was concerned to describe the benefits of education as a 'production good' enhancing the economic resources of society, and by others like Becker (1964) who argued for the benefits to economic growth of a well-trained workforce. While labour market segmentation theory developed in reaction (stressing institutional processes in labour market formation), human asset accounting in the 1970s applied the capital theory to quantifying investments in people by the organization (Flamholtz, 1974). This was embraced by some (for example, Likert, 1967) as a way of encouraging humane employment policies, less geared to the short-term (although others saw in it the rule of accountants).
Chris Hendry and Andrew Pettigrew. "Human resource management: an agenda for the 1990s." International journal of human resource management 1.1 (1990): 17-43.