Epistemological Foundations and Mapping the Influence of the Correlation of KM and IC in the Areas of Corporate and Academia

Epistemological Foundations and Mapping the Influence of the Correlation of KM and IC in the Areas of Corporate and Academia

Neimar Pinto Pereira (Federal University of Maranhão, Brazil) and Carolina F. Machado (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7259-6.ch007
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This chapter has, as a central objective, to present a possible panorama of the relationship between knowledge management and intellectual capital in the organizational and academic spheres and their epistemological bases. In other words, what these similar branches from the same tree have been reflecting of these spheres. It was perceived that the relation between them is in line with the spectrum of concepts and its epistemological roots inherent to knowledge. The methodology used was based on literature review with subsequent presentation of the results through the elaboration of a concept map. The design of this concept map takes on particular relevance as it can contribute to the improvement of the development and maturation of the concatenation of KM and IC in the organizational field, as well as the academic one, which have been undergoing a timid and embryonic evolution on investigations that approach the interrelation of those dimensions on the part of the respective areas.
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An analysis of the literature studied enables us to verify that the concatenation of Knowledge Management (KM) and Intellectual Capital (IC) has been the subject of discussion since the mid-1990s through to the present day, led by renowned authors of the business sector (including Wiig (1997), Bontis (1999, 2001), Stewart (1997, 1998, 2001, 2002), Stewart and Ruckdeschel (1998), Edvinsson and Malone (1997, 1998), Davenport and Prusak (1998), Saint-Onge (1996, 2000), Sveiby (2001), Ricceri (2008), Wang, et al. (2014)), having gained strength in terms of their recognition by the academic world (for example, see Vera & Crossan (2000), Serenko et al. (2010), Bontis (2013), Serenko and Bontis (2013a), Serenko and Bontis (2013b), Pereira et al. (2015)), reflected in a significant increase in articles, conferences and activities on the key theme of IC being gathered through KM (Bontis & Serenko, 2009; Serenko & Bontis, 2009; Serenko et al. 2010; Bontis, 2013; Serenko & Bontis, 2013b).

As the “foundation” upon which we construct research of knowledge, it is worth getting into epistemology; it has been realized that the relationship between IC and KM is rooted in the definitions of pre-Socratic philosophies in terms of their intrinsic approaches to the world, to knowledge, truth and validity.

Stewart (1998, p. 13) stated that knowledge is “more valuable and stronger than natural resources.” As can be seen, it is through this that we are capable of transformingthem into something extraordinary, beneficial to the world, supporting the pillars and spheres of a nation; or something evil, causing destruction.

It is observed that the correlation between IC and KM is rooted in the Knowledge-Based View (KBV) of an organization, which evolved from seminal studies, such as those by Simon (1965), Cyert and March (1963) and Huber (1991). KBV has also adopted a logic derived from the Resource-Based View (RBV) of the company, which conveys a double message (Conner & Prahalad 1996, Grant 1996). However, organizational resources are debated to lead to tangible or intangible information-based processes, i.e. “intermediate goods” (Amit & Schoemaker, 1993; p. 35), which create the company's competitiveness as the final result (Barney, 2000). And the KBV of an organization proposes that the predominant understanding of the firm is the creation and application of Knowledge (Grant, 1996; Spender, 1996).

Therefore, it is understood that, while KM is responsible for favoring a new vision for organizations through processes and practices, IC is the amount of knowledge of all the employees of an organization, whereby, by this amount, managers managing through processes and practices know how to identify the generators (new brains) of this knowledge within their organization, in order to encourage them to manage and share knowledge and ideas capable of promoting a promising future for the entire organization, as well as a reputation for competitiveness and innovation.

Studies conducted by Hsu and Sabherwal (2012) point towards the need for future research on the accuracy of simultaneous additional studies of IC and KM in literature. They also maintain that there is little empirical production on the relationship of these two directions in the business sector.

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