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Intellectual capital and firm performance in the global agribusiness industry: The moderating role of human capital

Vincenzo Scafarto (Department of Human, Social and Health Sciences, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, Italy)
Federica Ricci (Department of Economics and Law, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Cassino, Italy)
Francesco Scafarto (Management and Law Department, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 11 July 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between intellectual capital (IC), categorized in terms of four sub-constructs – namely, human capital (HC), relational capital (RC), innovation capital (InnC) and process capital (PrC) – and business performance in the agribusiness industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a sample of international agribusiness companies observed over a five-year period, this paper uses correlation and multiple regression analysis to test for the existence of a positive relationship between each IC component and conventional business performance metrics.

Findings

The empirical results support the hypotheses that RC and PrC have a positive impact on corporate performance. Counter to the expectations, InnC by itself is negatively associated with performance. Results also failed to confirm the hypothesis that HC directly and positively affects performance. However HC positively moderates the relation between InnC and performance, which suggests that firms that heavily invest in HC are better placed to gain returns from their research and development (R & D) investments.

Originality/value

This study expands the existing research on the link between IC and performance by adding fresh evidence from a highly knowledge-intensive sector which has been under-researched thus far. It may also contribute to the specific literature on R & D and performance as it uncovers that the value-generating effect associated with R & D investments is contingent on the levels of HC.

Keywords

Citation

Scafarto, V., Ricci, F. and Scafarto, F. (2016), "Intellectual capital and firm performance in the global agribusiness industry: The moderating role of human capital", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 530-552. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIC-11-2015-0096

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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