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

Securing intellectual capital: an exploratory study in Australian universities

Ivano Bongiovanni (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)
Karen Renaud (Division of Cyber Security, Abertay University, Dundee, UK) (Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa)
George Cairns (QUT Business, Brisbane, Australia)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 31 March 2020

Issue publication date: 3 June 2020




To investigate the links between IC and the protection of data, information and knowledge in universities, as organizations with unique knowledge-related foci and challenges.


The authors gathered insights from existing IC-related research publications to delineate key foundational aspects of IC, identify and propose links to traditional information security that impact the protection of IC. They conducted interviews with key stakeholders in Australian universities in order to validate these links.


The authors’ investigation revealed two kinds of embeddedness characterizing the organizational fabric of universities: (1) vertical and (2) horizontal, with an emphasis on the connection between these and IC-related knowledge protection within these institutions.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need to acknowledge the different roles played by actors within the university and the relevance of information security to IC-related preservation.

Practical implications

Framing information security as an IC-related issue can help IT security managers communicate the need for knowledge security with executives in higher education, and secure funding to preserve and secure such IC-related knowledge, once its value is recognized.


This is one of the first studies to explore the connections between data and information security and the three core components of IC's knowledge security in the university context.



Funding: This research was not funded by any specific grants in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Bongiovanni, I., Renaud, K. and Cairns, G. (2020), "Securing intellectual capital: an exploratory study in Australian universities", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 481-505.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles