Challenging the IC Theory: Suggestions for Some Ways Forward




intellectual capital, performance, future, theory, digitalization, remote work


Understanding how knowledge and related resources has permeated scholasticism and an intellectual capital (IC)-based view of the firm, and it has gained increasing weight in contemporary management literature. Manifold impacts of IC on organizational performance have been widely evidenced with management mechanisms for various IC dimensions to be found in most established organizations. As research is a strongly path-dependent activity, it seems natural that IC research may lean on classical frameworks and conceptualizations from prior decades. However, this consideration may be problematic, since large-scale changes in companies’ operating environments, such as digitalization, a crisis in sustainability, as well as reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic through remote-working initiatives. Consequently, call for new knowledge resources comes into play naturally. In this paper, an argument is made that the normative approaches for conceptualizing IC and its performance relevance must be updated. Further, we suggest that the new post-pandemic world of enterprise calls for novel understandings relevant to IC. To spur new thinking that offers a way forward, a theoretical model is proposed for a revised understanding of IC and its role in organizational viability. Important new issues are examined as related to various IC elements. The paper contributes to IC research by constructing a revised model of IC useful for generating topical research models suitable for development and testing in future theoretical and empirical studies. A set of potential research questions is outlined to guide additional research.