Intangible liabilities: beyond models of intellectual assets
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Purpose – Most models of intellectual capital measurment equal intellectual capital with intellectual assets. Nevertheless, companies sometimes must incur liabilities to make intellectual assets truly actionable. This fact suggests the existence of intangible liabilities. The aim of this paper is to refine the methods of assessment of intellectual capital by refining and extending the concept of intangible liabilities. Design/methodology/approach – The paper consists of a literature review of prior conceptualisations of intangible liabilities, and an empirical exploration of the employer-employee relationships that can originate intangible liabilities. Findings – The results of the empirical research show that a non-fulfilment of perceived obligations by the company might cause organisational members to refrain from deploying their organisational knowledge in organisational processes. Thus, these obligations can be conceptualised as intangible liabilities. Research limitations/implications – The research has only explored intangible liabilities related to organisational members. Future research should explore the intangible liabilities that an organisation can incur with other constituencies, e.g. suppliers and clients. Practical implications – Managers can improve their models of intellectual capital measurement taking into account not only the intangible assets, but also the intangible liabilities. Taking into account intangible liabilities should bring awareness of the conditions that might hinder the deployment of organisational knowledge. Originality/value – The study brings a more refined, theoretically- and empirically-based conceptualisation of intangible liabilities than those provided so far, aiding to develop a more robust theory of intellectual capital measurement.
CitationGarcia, M. [et al.]. Intangible liabilities: beyond models of intellectual assets. "Management decision", Juliol 2009, vol. 47, núm. 5, p. 819-830.