Intellectual capital management in the fourth stage of IC research

A critical case study in university settings

Giustina Secundo, Maurizio Massaro*, John Dumay, Carlo Bagnoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of a university that uses a collective intelligence approach for managing its intellectual capital (IC). Specifically, the authors investigate how one of Europe’s oldest business schools, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy), manages IC through stakeholder engagement to achieve academia’s third mission so contributing to social and economic development. Design/methodology/approach: Data are collected through semi-structured interviews and Ca’ Foscari University’s strategic plan. Secundo et al.’s (2016) collective intelligence framework is used to analyse the data. Alvesson and Deetz’s (2000, pp. 19-20) critical management tasks – insight, critique and transformative redefinition – are adopted to frame and discuss the results. Findings: On the assumption that a university is a collective intelligence system, the findings demonstrate that IC management needs to change to incorporate an ecosystem perspective, reflecting the fourth stage of IC research. The IC management at the university incorporates its core goal (what), the collective involvement of internal and external stakeholders to achieve the goal (who), the motivations behind the achievement of the goal (why) and, finally, the processes activated inside the university (how) and indicators to assess value creation. Research limitations/implications: A new perspective for managing IC in universities that adopts a collective intelligence approach is further developed. Contributions to the fourth stage of IC research – IC in an ecosystem – are highlighted that expand the concept of IC value creation beyond universities into wider society. Practical implications: Two key consequences of this case study are that more stakeholders have become involved in IC management and that IC management requires critical rethinking, given the universities’ evolving role. Originality/value: This paper brings together issues that are usually dealt with in separate domains of the literature: IC management and collective intelligence in the university setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-177
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Intellectual Capital
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Collective intelligence
  • Intellectual capital
  • Social value
  • Stakeholders
  • Universities

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