Special issue call for papers: Intellectual Capital, Firms’ Innovation Growth and Emerging Value Spaces

Intellectual Capital, Firms’ Innovation Growth
and Emerging Value Spaces

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Intellectual Capital

Guest Editors:

Ahmed Bounfour, Université Paris-Sud
Hannu Piekkola, University of Vaasa
Carter Bloch, Aahrus University


Over the past fifteen years, intangibles have emerged as an important source of growth and innovation.  Several national and international institutions have emphasized their importance: the OECD, the European Commission, the World Bank, METI in Japan, and BNDES in Brazil, among others (Bounfour and Miyagawa, 2015). According to the OECD (OECD, 2013), knowledge-based capital account for 5 to 11% of GDP in most member countries, and play a greater role in productivity growth than tangible capital. At the firm level, the resource-based view (Barney, 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984) as well as the dynamic capabilities approach (Bounfour, 2003, Teece et al., 1997, Teece, 2015) highlight the heterogeneity of firms and the critical role of intangible assets. Intellectual capital of nations and continents has been developed recently as a subject for research and action (Bounfour, 2008, 2018). More generally, Intellectual capital literature need to be extended beyond the sphere of firms and individual organisations (Dumay, 2013).

However, despite this recognition, important analytical issues remain to be addressed, notably modelling the contribution of intangibles to innovation. Various additional questions have also emerged related to new forms of organizations – especially platforms, the critical role of data as intangible assets, and the way firms can take advantage of such ‘new’ assets in the design of their business models.  The lack of data availability at the firm level is a key barrier to further analysis of the role of intangibles.

The Special Issue’s objective:

The main objective of this Special Issue is to provide new insights into the measurement of intellectual capital and its contribution to innovation growth, while at the same time considering their importance in new, emerging innovation spaces.  The specific sub-objectives to be achieved are:

  • Proposing new approaches for the measurement of intellectual capital;
  • Providing analytical tools to examine the link between investments in intellectual capital and innovation performance;
  • More globally, analyzing how intellectual capital  can contribute to explaining the productivity puzzle (secular stagnation);
  • Analyzing specific forms of organizations (global value chains, platforms), and delineating the ways in which they create value and leverage intangible assets;
  • Analyzing the role of digitization in innovation, especially around data such as digital assets;
  • Understanding how knowledge created by intellectual capital can spillover across firms, industries and countries

The Special Issue’s scope, including potential themes to be addressed:

The following is an indicative, though not exhaustive, list of possible areas for submissions:

  • The issue of measurement and valuation

Work on the measurement of intellectual capital has focused on broadening the conceptualization of what constitutes a capital investment, developing measures of intangibles at the macro level and, more recently, at the micro level for individual firms.  In performance-based valuation, output elasticities of these intangible assets are compared to their output shares to revise factor multipliers (Piekkola, 2016). Other attempts to estimate intangible assets are Cummins (2005) and Lev and Radhakrishnan (2005). The Corrado et al. (2005, 2009) and the Barnes and McClure (2009) methods can also be used in attempts to estimate the effects of intangibles on economic growth.

The current treatment of intangibles is partial and uncoordinated. There is a need for new methodologies and statistics with micro foundations, and the harmonisation of approaches across countries.

  • Intellectual capital, value chains and innovation

The value chain runs from production, research and development (R&D) to prototyping, demonstration, assembling parts (with their own value chains), commercialisation and deployment: it is at the core of micro-level analyses. Recent research has proposed a value chain approach to analyse the development of new products and services and, thereby, to boost growth. Value chains function on different scales. Global chains can be distributed across different locations, with different degrees of control. Many emerging economies have developed capabilities in knowledge-intensive and high-value activities, which play a central role for productivity growth in EU and OECD countries

  • Intellectual capital components and firm performance: delineating their complementarities 

Building on the work of Topkis (1978) and Aoki (1984), Milgrom and Roberts (1995) and their colleagues paved the way for a new approach to considering intangibles within a firm, arguing that they should be considered jointly rather than separately. Specifically, they claim that intangibles are heterogeneous and combinatory in nature and should be analyzed from this perspective (Athey and Roberts, 2001; Milgrom and Roberts, 1995; Roberts, 2004). Understanding the complementarities between intellectual capital components, for example by defining a set of bundles that are most relevant for firm performance and innovation, is one major task that researchers need to address.

  • Data, platforms and innovation growth

Over the past five years, platforms have emerged as a key organizational concept, notably due to the ubiquity of digital technologies. Specific themes can be considered for the present call: the analysis of the key economic stakes relating to the platform phenomenon, a review of existing analytical approaches, and the proposal of empirical approaches regarding how platforms leverage their intangibles.

  • Intellectual capital and emerging value spaces

The way value is created will depend on the way firms organize their activities in the long term. Taking a long-term perspective, the present call welcomes papers that develop foresight approaches to innovation and value spaces (markets, platforms, communities, networks) and the definition/simulation of the most suitable instruments.

Although the scope of the Special Issue is broad, we have identified the following questions as being of interest; however, this list is non-exhaustive:

  • How do frontier firms valorize their intellectual capital?
  • How can we measure intellectual capital in global value chains?
  • How do platforms manage their intellectual capital for innovation?
  • How should future value spaces be designed, and what is specific role of intellectual capital?
  • How to measure risk (including cyber-risk) for intellectual capital?
  • To what extent does the measurement of intellectual capitals offer an insight into the secular stagnation issue?
  • How can we articulate between transaction and non-transactional (those not subject to monetary transactions) intangibles?

Paper Development Workshop

To encourage potential contributions to the Special Issue, the Editors will host a Paper Development Workshop at the 15th edition of the World Conference on Intellectual Capital for Communities (IC15), at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, on 11 & 12 July 2019

Submission Procedure:

Submissions to this special issue must be made through the ScholarOne submission system here: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jicap

Visit the author guidelines for the journal for full details: http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=jic

Ensure that you select this special issue (INFO_SEC) from the relevant drop down menu on page four of the submission process.

Submission Deadline: May 1st, 2019. Review cycles will be rapid with the goal of publishing the issue “early 2020”.

call for papers