The purpose of this paper is to highlight the relevance of intellectual capital for IT companies in general and, specifically, to analyze the importance of adequately managing intellectual capital in small IT companies.
Two small successful IT companies (one in Spain, another in Finland) are studied, in order to reach a better understanding of how intellectual capital is managed in small companies.
The companies analyzed show the dynamic relationships among the three sides of intellectual capital, and the challenges that managers have to face both to take the advantage of all these connections and mitigate its possible negative effects.
All three areas of intellectual capital (human, social and organizational) require special attention, especially in small knowledge‐intensive companies. Furthermore, the structural embeddedness of social capital seems to develop by following an emergent pattern, especially in small companies where organizational borders do not hinder it. The relational embeddedness of social capital – especially maximizing the spread of knowledge in a company and minimizing the risk of key competence walking out through the door – requires a conscious action from the management and use of work‐rotation techniques.
The paper demonstrates that small companies, even without the organizational resources of the large companies, can however be successful in managing the intellectual capital if their managers are aware of its potential, and understand the idea of the intellectual capital. The paper can help the managers of these kind of companies to know this potential as well as the way to manage it.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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