The purpose of this paper is to point out whether Italian cultural organizations recognize, measure and manage intellectual capital (IC).
An empirical research on the subject of (IC) in cultural organizations has been carried out. Interviews have been realized with directors of Italian cultural organizations and a questionnaire submitted to a sample of 100 individuals involved in the Italian cultural sector.
Italian cultural organizations recognize the importance of IC, but they do not measure IC. Nonetheless, they claim to manage IC, even if they do not measure it through numerical indicators. A non‐metric approach for the visualization of IC has been rejected, as well. Controversial and ambiguous statements are discussed.
There is a gap between the directors' statements and their organizational behaviour. Most of them declare the need for IC numerical indicators, but only in one case is an overall IC performance measurement system in place.
The usefulness of the paper is that practitioners may reflect on the obstacles to the implementation of an IC measurement system in cultural organizations.
Cultural organizations are “unknown terrain” in terms of research into IC and may therefore suggest an innovative path for the analysis of IC. In this context, the paper discusses the need for either a metric approach or a non‐metric approach for the representation – and then the management – of IC.
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