The role of intellectual capital in organisational value creation : an application of a theoretical model to two case studies
The research in this thesis focuses on the intangible resources of organisations. Intangible resources include an organisation's collective knowledge and learning, leadership talent, the values that shape its culture, routines and processes and the collaborative relationships. These intangible resources are known as intellectual capital (IC) because they support organisational activity along with financial and physical capital. Previous research has classified IC into three principle components of human, organisational and relationship capital and has established a link between IC and organisational value. Recent studies have also emphasised the notion of interrelationships between the three components of intellectual capital in developing capabilities that drive value creation. Yet it is often unclear how the various elements interrelate to one another to generate organisational value. This thesis investigates how IC contributes to organisational value creation. Central to this research is the examination of the mechanisms through which IC factors are integrated within organisations in order to develop capabilities. As innovation is widely agreed to be a determinant of organisational value creation, this research adapted and extended the model of intelligence and innovation proposed by Glynn (1996) to develop a comprehensive theoretical framework for empirically examining the synergistic effects of IC. Building upon four major theoretical streams: resource-based view of the firm, innovation theory, intellectual capital theory and organisational capabilities, this research has elaborated the ideas and constructs presented in the original model and de-contextualised them to an intellectual capital perspective. A qualitative, interpretive approach was applied to two in-depth case studies for investigating the intangible resource-base of two knowledge intensive companies. The results were then expanded to a cross-case context in order to compare and contrast the value creating potential of the IC factors. The findings of this research are presented in the form of a descriptive framework that classifies the characteristics of a value creating process. The purpose of the framework is to provide pointers for identifying IC resources and developing capabilities in a way that provides an organisation with sustainable competitive advantage, and thereby, value.