The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management publishes original articles on topics relevant to studying, implementing, measuring and managing knowledge management and intellectual capital.

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Journal Article

Perceptions on Complexity of Decisions Involved in Choosing Intellectual Capital Assessment Methods  pp615-626

Agnieta Pretorius, Petrie Coetzee

© Jan 2010 Volume 7 Issue 5, Editor: Kimiz Dalkir, pp535 - 662

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Intellectual capital (IC) is increasingly acknowledged as a dominant strategic asset and a major source of competitive advantage for organisations. Despite an overwhelming body of literature on methods, models, systems and frameworks for assessment of IC, and increased awareness of the need for such assessment, relatively few organisations are actively and comprehensively assessing their IC. Choosing an appropriate method is problematic. It has been argued that, due to the complexities involved in choosing (selecting and customising) an appropriate method for assessing intellectual capital in a particular context, management support systems with knowledge components are needed for managing the evolving body of knowledge concerning the assessment of intellectual capital. To empirically test this argument, a survey making use of a self‑administered questionnaire was performed to test perceptions of suitable consultants, practitioners and researchers on the complexity levels of decisions to be made in selecting and customising methods for assessment of IC. Respondents were selected through convenience sampling coupled with snowball sampling. Data collected on respondents themselves confirms their expert status regarding IC and aspects thereof. The majority of these respondents indicated that, given any particular context, the decisions involved in selecting and customising an appropriate method for assessment of IC is often or always very complex. Decisions involved in selection are perceived as marginally more complex than decisions involved in customisation. Respondents provided valuable insights and rich examples of scenarios on the higher and lower regions of the complexity scale for the decisions involved in the selection, as well as, for the decisions involved in the customisation of IC assessment methods. It is concluded that the perceived complexity of the decisions involved in choosing IC assessment methods supports the notion that supporting systems are required to assist human decision makers in making sense of the complexities involved in choosing IC assessment methods.


Keywords: intellectual capital, intangible assets, methods of assessment, complexity of choice, management support systems


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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 5 / Dec 2009  pp535‑662

Editor: Kimiz Dalkir

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The 9th ICICKM conference, held at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was well attended by participants representing over 20 different countries. The international flavor of the conference continues to ensure a diverse range of papers as well as opportunities for valuable networking. As with all ICICKM gatherings, researchers, practitioners and students of KM were brought together to discuss the KM crossroads we find ourselves at in the year 2009.

Some of the key issues that emerged from the two days included a consensus that KM has evolved so we no longer need to convince people it is needed. We now need now to know how to “do KM” – that is, how to implement knowledge management in organizations in a more informed manner. In particular, the need for more how‑to guides, detailed rules, good validated practices and an overall quasi‑standard approach to KM implementation were noted as priority needs for the KM community. In addition, particular guidance is required concerning the KM teams (who should do what?) and how best to address tacit knowledge. Other issues concerned the specific components that should be present in a KM workspace and how this workspace can address the needs of different users who need to accomplish different sorts of tasks

While participants felt that we still have to convince some senior managers, we now also need to better address how to align KM processes so as to not create overhead. For example, what is the impact of KM on other parts of the organization such as training and IT units? How can we change peoples’ behaviours and how they think about the work they do? What are the new skills/competencies needed? How can they acquire them? How to integrate KM into business processes? How to integrate KM roles within existing jobs?

The good news is that the discipline and practice of KM has evolved – the bad news is that we still have a long way to go. The focus is now on how to do KM well. Educators need to focus on student competencies, skills and roles and responsibilities. Researchers need to focus on more evidence‑based and theory‑based KM. Practitioners need to focus on feedback from users and best practices.

The collection of papers in this special conference edition address the multitude of issues we currently face, and will continue to face, in the future. There is an excellent mix of practical case studies, practical tools such as intellectual capital measurement models in addition to more conceptual and theoretical approaches to solving crucial KM problems.


Keywords: academic education, avatars, ba, BRIC, competitive intelligence, complexity of choice, creative destruction, decision-making, developing countries, discipline, emerging markets, experiment, financial crisis, group interaction, growth drivers, human capital, Indian economy, Information Technology sector, intangible assets, Intellectual capital, intellectual value, KM in interconnected power systems, Knowledge Active Forgetting (KAF), knowledge capital, knowledge management implementation, management support systems, measurement, methods of assessment, paradigm, SET KM model, stakeholders, strategy, sustainable competitive advantage, technology, theoretical framework, UK car manufacturing industry, undergraduate degree program in Turkey, unlearning, virtual environments


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