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More than just the smartest guys in the room: Intellectual capital assets in knowledge-intensive firms

Christopher R Meyer, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Knowledge-intensive firms are a growing and increasingly important part of our economy. They compete by bringing their knowledge resources to bear on their customers' challenging problems. Such knowledge resources can reside in workers, routines and work processes, stored data and knowledge, and relationships. Scholarship on these important firms, though, has focused largely on their workers' knowledge and skill, i.e., their human capital. This is in spite of the fact that the other forms of knowledge—organizational capital and social capital—both play important roles in firms. Additionally, there has been little research into the role of strategies in these firms. ^ The research questions of this paper are designed to address these substantial gaps in our understanding of these firms. First, I examine the development and use of the full set of knowledge resources. I argue that organizational capital consists of both procedural and declarative organizational capital, and that all of these forms of intellectual capital play unique roles. Second, the paper suggests that the key strategic driver for such firms is how uncertainty impacts their ability to develop and use intellectual capital assets. Specifically, I examine the uncertainty that is brought into the firm by its customer interactions. The paper hypothesizes that the relationship between customer interaction uncertainty and organizational capital, as well as their relationships to human and social capital, will drive the performance of these firms. ^ These questions are examined using both survey and archival data from 94 financial service organizations using linear regression and Hierarchical Linear Modeling. I find support for several of the hypotheses. Customer interaction uncertainty is positively associated with human and declarative organizational capital. Further, human and procedural organizational capital interact to impact performance, as do human capital and declarative organizational capital. ^

Subject Area

Management|Organizational behavior

Recommended Citation

Meyer, Christopher R, "More than just the smartest guys in the room: Intellectual capital assets in knowledge-intensive firms" (2012). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3518263.