Since the early 1990s research stream of Intellectual Capital (IC) has been grown, and in the new, knowledge-intensive economies, it has become a source of competitive advantage. Scholars have tried to defined and categorized it, but still literature is not concordant and different methods of IC measurement have been developed. Some authors have emphasized the benefits of qualitative and perceptive measures that catch what the traditional systems have failed to report; furthermore, they are able to describe IC in a prospective approach. Nevertheless, until now, little research has been devoted to analysing IC components and their interconnections and impact (directly or in conjunction) on firm performance. In particular, IC in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remains understudied. This paper intends to provide a theoretical framework to synthesise the fragmented previous works in order to identify the appropriate IC measures and apply them to SMEs. In more detail, the objectives are: 1) to measure the level of IC and its components in Italian manufacturing SMEs, 2) to identify clusters of companies with different levels of IC and characterise them in reference to IC components and firm-specific factors and 3) to analysed the impact of IC on firm performance. To this end, a survey has been conducted in the Italian manufacturing context and a database of 107 responses was obtained. After a descriptive analysis revealing the level of IC components, three well-distinguished groups emerged from cluster analysis and a positive relationship was identified between IC and firm performance using multiple linear regression models. This study contributes to measuring IC, understanding its structure and level in SMEs and its effect on firm success. Managers of SMEs can draw guidelines for IC evaluation to develop internal auditing system, to communicate adequately IC value to any external stakeholders and to support decisions in managing their IC, thereby maximizing firm performance.

Profiling the Intellectual Capital of Italian Manufacturing SMEs: An Empirical Analysis

VERBANO, CHIARA;CREMA, MARIA
2013

Abstract

Since the early 1990s research stream of Intellectual Capital (IC) has been grown, and in the new, knowledge-intensive economies, it has become a source of competitive advantage. Scholars have tried to defined and categorized it, but still literature is not concordant and different methods of IC measurement have been developed. Some authors have emphasized the benefits of qualitative and perceptive measures that catch what the traditional systems have failed to report; furthermore, they are able to describe IC in a prospective approach. Nevertheless, until now, little research has been devoted to analysing IC components and their interconnections and impact (directly or in conjunction) on firm performance. In particular, IC in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remains understudied. This paper intends to provide a theoretical framework to synthesise the fragmented previous works in order to identify the appropriate IC measures and apply them to SMEs. In more detail, the objectives are: 1) to measure the level of IC and its components in Italian manufacturing SMEs, 2) to identify clusters of companies with different levels of IC and characterise them in reference to IC components and firm-specific factors and 3) to analysed the impact of IC on firm performance. To this end, a survey has been conducted in the Italian manufacturing context and a database of 107 responses was obtained. After a descriptive analysis revealing the level of IC components, three well-distinguished groups emerged from cluster analysis and a positive relationship was identified between IC and firm performance using multiple linear regression models. This study contributes to measuring IC, understanding its structure and level in SMEs and its effect on firm success. Managers of SMEs can draw guidelines for IC evaluation to develop internal auditing system, to communicate adequately IC value to any external stakeholders and to support decisions in managing their IC, thereby maximizing firm performance.
Proceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management
9781909507388
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2679546
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