To read this content please select one of the options below:

Competitive flows of intellectual capital in value creating networks

Maria Solitander (Department of Management and Organization, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Annika Tidström (Department of Management and Organization, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 19 January 2010




The purpose of the paper is to develop intellectual capital theory to include competitive aspects that influence value creation of the network.


The empirical part of the paper is based on a qualitative case study of a network of collaborating competitors within the natural products industry in Finland. A total of 29 interviews are conducted involving 11 informants. The empirical material is examined through Verna Allee's value network analysis.


Business relationships include both collaborative and competitive dimensions. By adding a competitive dimension to Allee's value network, a more exhaustive picture of the network emerges. Hence, the relationships not only consist of collaborative tangible and intangible flows between the actors of the network, but also of competitive flows that per definition may only be intangible.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on a single case study. The paper includes collaborating competitors, but opens up interesting avenues for further research as competitive elements surely are present also in other types of business relationships.

Practical implications

Knowledge received from partners is not always trustworthy. Still, managers gain more from getting access to knowledge they do not know if it can be trusted, than to be excluded from the collaboration.


This paper brings forward the notion of competitive elements in collaborative relationships. IC research has tended to mostly focus on the positive aspects of the knowledge economy, but has much to gain by realising that there are also negative aspects that affect the creation and distribution of value in a network.



Solitander, M. and Tidström, A. (2010), "Competitive flows of intellectual capital in value creating networks", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 23-38.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles