Intellectual Capital: Accumulation and Appropriation
AbstractThis paper seeks to develop a literature-based perspective on intellectual property from the standpoint of business strategy and strategic human resource management. Distinctive competitive advantage is increasingly built on a firm's knowledge, one of the principal ingredients of intellectual capital. Competitive capability is strongly influenced by the organisation's ability to develop, differentiate, appropriate and disseminate its knowledge base. Section 2 identifies the principal characteristics of knowledge assets and explores the means of extracting and protecting the value of those assets, e.g., through R&D, patents and trademarks, licensing and human capital investment. Section 3 reviews the significance of knowledge as a strategic asset and reflects on its growing importance vis-a vis physical capital. However, where knowledge is embodied in people as part of their personal intellectual capital, questions of ownership and appropriability arise in ways that are absent with physical capital. This is discussed in Section 4. Section 5 focuses on the human resource management issues arising from the disputability of ownership of knowledge, especially embodied or intrinsic knowledge. Attention is paid to problems of ""stickiness"" of knowledge transfer and diffusion, and employer expropriation of value. Section 6 presents conclusions, including reference to the role of governmental agencies concerned with the public interest in the protection of property rights and the social benefit to be derived from advances in knowledge. An appendix briefly surveys three main approaches to the valuation of intangible capital and observes some of the problems posed in the development of effective measures of intangible assets, particularly where these are embodied in people.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2002n22.
Length: 71 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2002
Date of revision:
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Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
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Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2002-11-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2002-11-28 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-ENT-2002-11-28 (Entrepreneurship)
- NEP-TID-2002-11-28 (Technology & Industrial Dynamics)
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- William Griffiths & Elizabeth Webster, 2004.
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Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series
wp2004n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
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- L. C. Hunter & Elizabeth Webster & Anne Wyatt, 2005. "Measuring Intangible Investment," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
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