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Business processes management as a tool to enhance intellectual capital in the digitalization era: the new challenges to face

Laura Broccardo (Department of Management Valter Cantino, University of Turin, Turin, Italy)
Paola Vola (Department of Economics and Business Studies, University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro, Novara, Italy)
Safiya Mukhtar Alshibani (College of Business Administration, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Riccardo Tiscini (Mercatorum University of Rome, Roma, Italy)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 17 November 2023

Issue publication date: 2 January 2024

551

Abstract

Purpose

Digitalization is affecting business management and pushing for new strategies, innovative products, new ways to communicate with stakeholders and new channels. This phenomenon is unavoidable, and companies have to face it in a holistic and integrated way. One holistic and interconnected approach, when studying enterprise challenges, is represented by the business process management method, a fitting mechanism when digitalization needs to be amalgamated in business practices, enhancing the intellectual capital (IC), therefore, this study researches digitalization under business process lens, in a sample of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), that constitute an under-explored set, as regard digitalization, process management and IC. The research aims to explore the digital tools and business processes link and the related impact on performance, benefits and IC.

Design/methodology/approach

In exploring digitalization, a sample of Italian SMEs was scrutinized. The data were elaborated using two types of tests: (1) the binomial tests for the categorical questions and (2) the zeta test was used for quantitative variables. Furthermore, the partial least square (PLS)-SEM model was applied.

Findings

Findings reveal that some digital tools are more adopted in the sample analysed, and also some particular digital tools are more inclined to support certain business processes. Furthermore, not only performance benefits emerge, but also benefits in terms of better communication and faster decisions, supporting the decision making process of managers, also considering that business processes approach is one way to manage IC.

Practical implications

Thanks to the conducted research it is possible to make aware managers and owners of SMEs to consciously choose the right type of digitalization investments, without neglecting training programme, to realize the company digital transformation, providing a map and bearing in mind the value added creation, protecting their IC.

Originality/value

The paper's originality is represented by the contribution in opening the black box about digitalization, business process management and IC in small and medium companies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author(s) acknowledge the support of Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University Researchers Supporting Project number (PNURSP2023R395), Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Since submission of this article, the following author have updated their affiliations: Paola Vola is at the Sustainable Development and Ecological Transition Department, University of Vercelli, Italy.

Citation

Broccardo, L., Vola, P., Alshibani, S.M. and Tiscini, R. (2024), "Business processes management as a tool to enhance intellectual capital in the digitalization era: the new challenges to face", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 60-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIC-04-2023-0070

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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