The purpose of this research is to show how the variety of ways of performing through knowledge and intangible resources exploitation raises the question of how these kind of resources can be coherently and successfully declined into companies' processes and operations, what are the “right”, or appropriate approaches to manage intellectual capital (IC), and how these approaches can disentangle the mechanisms by which those resources contribute to improve companies' organizational performance. In this introduction to the special issue some conceptual interpretations are developed to investigate IC‐based approaches, methods, tools and factors of companies' performance improvement.
The approaches, evidences and insights discussed in this introduction are largely based on the discussion of the topics of the conference “International Forum on Knowledge Assets Dynamics” organized in June 2007 in Matera, Italy. At this conference, leading experts discussed the importance of IC for organizational performance improvement, the IC key‐value drivers of the performance management and measurement, and theoretical concepts of, and practical approaches towards, a high‐performing IC management.
The outcomes of this introduction and of all the contributions to the special issue reflect the current discussion about better operationalization of IC management constructs. This discussion is largely focused on the importance of space for IC management activities, on the main knowledge assets that drive companies' processes improvement, the diversity of the relative relevance of each knowledge asset and the necessity for strategic and managerial decision‐makers to learn to apply general approaches, methodologies and instruments in specific companies. In this context, managing IC was mostly dealt with as a means to reach performance targets.
This introduction as well as all the contributions to the special issue deal with different aspects, which are important in the discussion of needs for a better understanding of the relationships between IC management and companies' performance improvement as well as the approaches, tools, methods and techniques to better disentangle the mechanisms by which knowledge assets, separately or interdependently, contribute to improve companies' organizational performance.
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