Intellectual capital in support of farm businesses’ strategic management: a case study

Caterina Cavicchi (Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)
Emidia Vagnoni (University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Publication date: 9 July 2018



The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the role of and relationships between human, structural and relational capital assets for strategic management in a farm business. In particular, it analyzes the interaction between human capital’s creativity skills and the introduction of climate-smart technologies for the competitiveness of the firm.


An explorative case study was conducted on one of the largest Italian farm businesses to gain an understanding of the drivers of intellectual capital (IC) and of their implications for strategic management. Full-time employees’ perception of the skills required to achieve strategic goals and their perception of whether they possessed these abilities were investigated to determine if an alignment was present. The skills were subsequently classified using the framework of Amabile (1988) into domain-relevant and creativity-relevant skills. Then, two linear regression models were used to investigate the effects of training on the acquisition of these two sets of skills.


The analysis confirmed the strategic role of interactions among human capital assets to effectively exploit the structural capital of the company. When investigating employees’ perceptions, a gap emerged about informatics capabilities and knowledge of soils. As the company’s investments in innovation are oriented to ICT technologies, the company could strengthen informatics training to enable its employees to implement effective innovation.


The paper contributes to the literature on IC by highlighting the role of interconnections of assets to align organizations with their strategic goals. Therefore, the provision of IC accounting contributes to the strategic management of human capital.



Cavicchi, C. and Vagnoni, E. (2018), "Intellectual capital in support of farm businesses’ strategic management: a case study", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 692-711.

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