Purpose – To question the coupling of “intellectual” with “capital” and the assumption that such a coupling legitimises measurement. Design/methodology/approach – The contestability and multiple meanings of intellectual capital are revealed using rational and non‐rational management perspectives as examples. A process is presented through a metalectic framework that exposes a variety of attitudes of mind so that the integration of rational and non‐rational management perspectives becomes a possibility. Findings – Intellectual capital cannot be reduced to a calculable number that establishes whether an organisation's intellectual capital has increased or diminished. Intellectual capital can only indicate a direction when imagination, creativity and learning are at work. Research limitations/implications – Without a critical approach that provides an insight into the way different perspectives are promoted and what their promoters gain from their use it is not possible to make sense of intellectual capital. Practical implications – The realisation of the potential of intellectual capital requires a fundamental change in the assumptions of what management is about and that forcing the thinking about intellectual capital into existing working frameworks will not bring about a change in the attitude of mind of managers or workers. Originality/value – This paper offers an alternative thinking that provides a richer and broader meaning for intellectual capital by locating different perspectives on their strengths and by giving equal importance to them whilst endlessly remaining critical of them. This way of thinking is more appropriate than what is currently on offer if intellectual capital is to become more meaningful.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited