The growing theoretical and practical importance of the subject area of intangibles and intellectual capital for companies and institutions is clearly witnessed by the ever growing interest manifested in recent years by scholars and journals of different fields (accounting, finance, organisation, management, industrial economics, and policy making). Indeed, it is widely accepted that in the 21st century business enterprises are rapidly changing, where the major levers of such a discontinuity have an intangible nature and are largely dependent upon organisational knowledge creation, accumulation and appropriation. Brands, research and innovation, quality of management, competencies and capabilities, organisational culture and climate are only a few examples of those decisive intangible assets. Firms are also becoming increasingly involved in complex networks of alliances deriving their value and growth primarily from intangibles. Knowledge intensive organizations in a multitude of industries – ranging from pharmaceutical, biotech, software up to education – have indeed solid economic reasons for developing and knowing more about their intangibles. Whereas physical and/or financial assets can be regarded as commodities to which many economic agents have equal access, economic (added) value is largely due to the exploitation of growth opportunities drawing on unique non-physical – i.e. intangible –, assets and on distinctive organizational designs and processes. Also financial markets and “infomediaries” (e.g., financial analysts) appear to attribute a significant value to company information on intangibles. In this new setting, traditional financial (and) accounting reports have been argued to have lost relevance. Managerial performance evaluation and compensation are today less based on traditional (financial) performance metrics, while organizational designs have to take into account that intangible assets need to be managed on the basis of different and broader conceptual and operational frameworks that call for scholarly investigation. Indeed, also in the management and reporting of public sector entities (universities, cities, regional hubs) intangibles and intellectual capital seem to be increasingly recognised as key-resources. The 1st EIASM Workshop on “Intangibles and Intellectual Capital” aims to attract all the scholars who wish to give a contribution to this field from a variety of perspectives – offering them a unique platform to present their research plans and findings –, and to exchange views and ideas with colleagues of the same or other disciplines interested in intangibles and intellectual capital issues.
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