The problems and challenges of researching intellectual capital

John-Christopher Spender

Research output: Book chapterChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


The chapter presents an overview of the present state of thinking and research around intellectual capital (IC). I explore IC's potential as a concept and/or a path towards improved organizational measurement and performance. I distinguish theorizing IC as an alternative form of capital that can be summed with tangible capital (TC) from thinking of IC as that which mediates the economic value of TC. This suggests two quite different IC-engaging theories of the firm. I conclude that IC is simply a metaphor for our experience of sometimes dealing successfully with Knightian uncertainty. If this view can be sustained it follows that there is no way of measuring IC and our community's principal project - to correct our accounting methods' failure to do this - is deeply misguided.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging knowledge assets and business value creation in organizations: Measures and dynamics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


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