Strategic intellectual capital management : case study in the banking and financial services sector in Zimbabwe.
Kehle, Kudzai Emmanuel.
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In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, one way organisations can achieve and sustain competitive advantages is through the leveraging of valuable, inimitable, rare intangible assets. These intangible assets make up the organisation’s intellectual capital which consists of human capital, structural capital and relational capital. Each organisation has its intangible assets or intellectual capital which must be leveraged well in order to succeed. That efficient use of company resources can impact on profitability and competitiveness. This research sought to explore the extent to which the management of intellectual capital was being pursued within a participant institution in the banking and financial services sector in Zimbabwe to gain competitive advantage. The Zimbabwean banking and financial services sector provides an ideal research platform for such an investigation as much prior similar scholarship has been conducted in the context of developed, first world economies. With the world moving towards a knowledge-based economy, knowledge circulates at every level of business; as such it is of growing importance for knowledge intensive firms to reflect on their intellectual capital as a source of sustained competitive advantage. The case study research method was used to help with the understanding of the complex issues within the organisation’s real life setting. A mixed-methods research approach was used which in essence entailed the use of both qualitative and quantitative data collection tools. Data collection was to proceed by documents review, questionnaire based surveys and semi structured in-depth interviews. The findings revealed that the participant institution was leveraging its intellectual capital through good staff hires, enhancing of employee skills, adequately investing in information systems and being mindful of its customer and stakeholder relations. The findings have implications for strategic management in that it allows managers to identify the activities and factors of value which companies can devote resources to in order to augment their competitive position.