An inductive typology of the interrelations between different components of intellectual capital

Auteurs: Elizabeth Albertini

Management Decision


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to enhance knowledge of the full set of interrelations between IC components by providing an inductive typology of their strategic interactions. Design/methodology/approach – To answer the research question the author conducted a content analysis of CEOs’ letters to shareholders published by 122 companies among the 200 first companies from the Fortune Global 500 from 2008 to 2012.
Findings – The results show that these three IC components interact with each other around the central position held by relational and structural capital and to a lesser extent human capital. Companies that have a positive evolution in the ranking focus significantly more on the structural capital while those who have a negative evolution in the ranking mention more the relational capital. Research limitations/implications – The study is based on the CEOs’ letters that might limit the generalization of the findings. Nonetheless, this research highlights a full and fruitful set of interrelations between IC components providing a business practices-oriented typology.
Practical implications – This study provides deep insights into the interrelations between IC components that can significantly help managers to identify the strategic connections between IC dimensions.
Originality/value – This study contributes to the literature by expanding the actual academic classification of IC to five clusters of components. This research highlights that relational capital interacting with structural capital holds a central position in companies’ business strategy. Keywords Typology, Intellectual capital, Content-analysis, Interrelations
Paper type Research paper