IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Intellectual Capital: Accumulation and Appropriation

Listed author(s):
  • Laurie Hunter


    (University of Glasgow Business School and Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, The University of Melbourne)

Registered author(s):

    This 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.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper 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.

    in new window

    Length: 71 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2002
    Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2002n22
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia

    Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
    Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2002n22. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Abbey Treloar)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.