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A knowledge-based theory of the firm: Nexus of intellectual capital, productivity and firms’ performance

Navaneethakrishnan Kengatharan (Department of Human Resource Management, University of Jaffna, Jaffna, Sri Lanka)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 9 January 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on the knowledge-based theory of the firm, the purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between each facet of intellectual capital, productivity and firms’ performance and further investigate, heretofore neglected, a mediating effect of productivity in the relationship between each facet of intellectual capital and firms’ performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were garnered with a self-reported questionnaire from 232 firm managers working in various industries: banking, insurance, telecommunications and hotels. Reliability and validity of the instruments were confirmed using confirmatory factor analysis. Prior to hypothesis testing using structural equation modelling, as a caveat, tests for nonresponse bias and common method variance were employed.

Findings

The paper confirmed that intellectual capital is the pièce de résistance and established a strong connection with productivity. The results further disclosed a positive relationship between productivity and firms’ performance. A mediated relationship between individual facets of intellectual capital and firms’ performance through productivity was also affirmed.

Practical implications

Chiefly, the paper underscored the importance of intellectual capital in promoting productivity and firms’ performance. It behoves human resource managers and practitioners to make the organisational arrangements to reinforce intellectual capital thereby boosting the productivity that brings organisations’ success.

Originality/value

Previous studies in the sphere of intellectual capital have unequivocally discounted in establishing relationships between intellectual capital, productivity and firms’ performance. The results of the paper are novel findings, unequivocally contributing to the frontiers of the knowledge-based theory of the firm and conjointly, the paper has made methodological and geographical contributions.

Keywords

Citation

Kengatharan, N. (2019), "A knowledge-based theory of the firm: Nexus of intellectual capital, productivity and firms’ performance", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 6, pp. 1056-1074. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-03-2018-0096

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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