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Examining the role of intellectual capital in maturing sustainable competitive advantage through enkindling innovations in SMEs: the moderating role of entrepreneurship-orientation

Mohammed Awad Alshahrani (Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Muhammad Zafar Yaqub (Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Mahmoud Abdulhadi Alabdali (Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Administration, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 21 February 2024

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Abstract

Purpose

Based on the intellectual capital (IC) theory and the resource-based view (RBV), the paper seeks to elucidate the direct and indirect relationships between IC and competitive advantage in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Therewithal, besides examining the mediating role of innovation capabilities in the IC-competitiveness link, it scrutinizes the moderating effect of entrepreneurial orientation in causing IC to boost competitiveness in SMEs through flourishing innovation capabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 206 participants working in SMEs operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the help of a structured questionnaire distributed through LinkedIn. Partial least square (PLS)-based structural equation modeling (SEM) using SmartPLS 4.0 has been performed to calibrate the auxiliary and structural models.

Findings

Based on the empirical analysis, IC significantly and directly enhances the competitive advantages of SMEs. Additionally, innovative capability has been found to be a complementary partial mediating condition in enabling IC to foster competitiveness in SMEs. Furthermore, the moderated mediation analysis reveals that innovation capabilities strongly mediate the association between IC and competitiveness in SMEs, characterizing higher entrepreneurial orientation.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides significant insights to academicians and practitioners seeking to comprehend or configure interactions among IC, innovation capabilities, and entrepreneurial orientation in maturing competitiveness among SMEs, especially in emerging economies. Furthermore, the study provides a valuable integrative perspective on SMEs’ competitiveness by involving three voguish constituents of contemporary scholarly discourse grounded into the leading underpinning theoretical perspectives, such as IC theory, RBV, and entrepreneurship theory.

Originality/value

The uniqueness of this model lies in its rich theory-laden conceptualization and explanation that could extend theoretical debate and managerial action to the next levels.

Keywords

Citation

Alshahrani, M.A., Yaqub, M.Z. and Alabdali, M.A. (2024), "Examining the role of intellectual capital in maturing sustainable competitive advantage through enkindling innovations in SMEs: the moderating role of entrepreneurship-orientation", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIC-05-2023-0111

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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