Intellectual Capital, Innovation and Performance: a Systematic Review of the Literature

Anne-Laure Mention


This article provides a systematic review of the literature on the complex relationships between intellectual capital, innovation and performance. Although these concepts are clearly intertwined, there has been so far and to the best of our knowledge, no attempt to systematically review and integrate the literature examining the relationships between them. Two main streams of literature emerge: on the one hand, some literature focuses on the economic and financial effects of intellectual capital and its components on performance and on the other hand, a small set of survey-based studies aims to delineate these effects adopting a multidimensional approach to performance. Besides these two streams, there is a wealth of literature exploring the effect of isolated element of human, structural or relational capital on performance. Nevertheless, these studies rarely refer to these concepts directly and it is therefore contended that using the concept of intellectual capital may provide interesting insights to illuminate the complex relationships between firms’ resources and activities to leverage its intangible assets, innovation and performance. In doing so, it provides an intellectual capital oriented framework to capture the distinctive features of innovation at firm level and hence contributes to the scarce stream of literature focusing on better identifying and delineating innovation effects on performance.

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Business and Economic Research  ISSN 2162-4860

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