Researchers with the HSE International Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy have developed an approach towards analysing strategies for employing intangibles. In the study, which was published in the journal Management Decision, they discovered that only 36.5% of Russian companies are pursuing an intensive intellectual capital strategy.
The authors of the article proposed a system of possible strategies for determining the level of intensity for one or more types of intangibles. The researchers found that two polar strategies exist among the different types of organisations – generic and smart. Companies in the generic category are not intensifying a single type of intangible resource, while smart organisations are in fact boosting development in all areas under review. In order to carry out an empirical analysis of each type of intellectual resource, a system of indicators was selected that reflect companies’ employment of a particular type of intangible. All information was obtained from open source data, which allowed the researchers to expand their study sample considerably and make the assessments of intangibles even more objective among Russian companies. Additionally, cluster analysis was conducted to identify specific types of behaviour, i.e., strategic groups.
The study found that 63.5% of Russian companies fall into the generics cluster; that is, they do not have any specific strategy concerning intangibles management. Additionally, 13.3% of organisations are in the smart category, while 23.2% are innovators that pay special attention to ICT capabilities. It is noteworthy that companies with above-average intellectual resources surpass those in the generics category when it comes to productivity, turnover, and economic value added. Return on assets for all three strategy types, however, is at a similar level. This shows that investments in intellectual capital are not clearly reflected in companies’ financial performance, which discourage companies to accumulate human, innovative, organisational, and relational capital. This distinguishes Russian organisations from those operating in more developed markets where investments in intangibles lead to significant economic advantages.
The results of the study invite company leadership to think about their existing and desired strategies as concerns investing in intangibles to meet the organisation’s short- and long-term goals. The study’s findings might also be useful for formulating public policy, including when criteria are selected for providing companies with government support and for creating educational programmes aimed at training employees to manage intellectual resources.
This study was conducted as part of the HSE Basic Research Programme.