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Intellectual capital management and innovation of the serbian companies


Along with the development of the industrial society, the most important production factor as well as in production also in other economy areas was physical and financial capital (money, equipment, energy etc.) Technological development influenced gradual decrease in share of the material and financial resources and on the other side, it influenced increase in importance of the non-material factors which influenced the development of the so-called ''knowledge economy'', based upon non-material factors (information, knowledge, skills and the like).

Knowledge economy is characterized by the globalization process, technology advancement, changes in customers' needs, competitiveness increase and the like. To increase their competitiveness the companies use nonmaterial resources more and more. Today, knowledge-based innovations and their application present important factors for competitive edge realization and sustainability.

Development of the knowledge-based economy in the Republic of Serbia demands the development of information and communication technology which should improve economic activity efficiency and national economy competitiveness, by improvement of the exchange and availability of information, respectively e-business.

Economic and total development of the Republic of Serbia ought to be based more and more on organized research and development with the aim of improvement of the existing and creation of new technologies and new products as well as processes and services. In order to realize this, it is necessary to allocate the budget for science from the present 0,3% to at least 1% of GDP, which is according to the EU recommendation minimal participation that ensures positive effects for the economy development. However, prerequisite for this is to establish system and market related links between science and economy.

Intellectual capital as a factor of competitiveness Intellectual capital relates to non-material assets which is one of the key factors in companies' competitiveness. In knowledge-based economy, companies use intellectual capital as their competitive advantage in creation of corporate value. Modern organizations function by applying three types of capital: material (land and equipment), financial (cash and investments) and intellectual capital. Intellectual capital relates to the non-material assets. In knowledge-based economy, numerous companies base their competitive advantage on intellectual capital.

Intellectual capital presents key resource in knowledge-based economies. Many companies completely depend on intellectual capital in their revenues realization.

There is no generally accepted definition of intellectual capital. A definition uses as a starting point the idea that intellectual capital includes organization process, technology, patents, employees' skills and information about customers, suppliers, stakeholders. (Stewart, 1997)

Many definitions use concepts like skills, abilities, expertise and other knowledge forms useful for the companies. Intellectual capital could be viewed as an instrument in measuring a company's worth and national economy performances. (Petty, Guthrie, 2000, pp. 155-176)

Intellectual capital is usually observed through its three forms as illustrated in the figure 1: (Bontis, 1998)

Human capital includes knowledge, skills and employees' abilities which can be applied in business problems solving. Human capital is a driving force of intellectual capital, generator of innovations, projects, ideas, knowledge and the like.

Structural capital relates to everything which represents support to human capital in the process of certain functions realization and includes hardware, software, patents, information system, data bases and the like.

Customer capital relates to buyers, includes all existing relations with customers, suppliers, external business partners. The customer capital implies customer satisfaction, financial welfware, loyalty and such like.

Intellectual capital

I 2nd order |

I 1st order | | Human capital | Structure capital | | Customer capital |

/1 ^ /IX xix

Essence Human intellect Organizational

routines Market relationship

Scope internal within internal external

employee node organizational links organizational links

Parameters volume Efficiency longevity

appropriateness accessibility volume


difficulty high medium highest

Figure 1. Conceptualization of intellectual capital Source: Bontis N., 1998. P.66

Intellectual capital is one of the most important instruments for the management of the companies with the aim of improving the business performances. A study showed an important correlation between intellectual capital dimensions and business performances of a company. (Bontis, 1998). Knowledge development, e.g. human potentials presents the base for economic, technological, political, cultural and any other development.

Intellectual capital management represents the key strategic activity has positive influence on companies' competitiveness. The assumptions for successful management of intellectual capital in an organization relate to: employees who are knowledge-oriented, creation of specific software tools, creation of expert bases, design of the electronic networks within company, connection with the global networks and knowledge bases, organization of staff trainings with the aim of knowledge buliding and improvement.

A research of the Australian companies showed that by focusing on intellectual capital management key advantages can be established, which relate to (Ferrier, Mckenzie, 1999):

Improvements in information provided to shareholders, suporting investment;

Increased information to support and guide decision making;

Supporting and providing guidance in the management of human resources;

Supporting and providing guidance in the management of customer relationship.

Underdeveloped countries and transition countries ought to integrate their human, scientific and entrepreneurs' potentials in the manner that these potentials are their main competitive and comparative advantage, and also is a main factor in competitive ability creation. For the achieving of the goal, it is necessary to restructure the existing science and research system, that is to recognize the role of knowledge and information in all areas of business and decision-making.

The role of intellectual capital in increase of innovativeness

Innovative ability of companies depends on the intellectual capital, innovations and the ability of innovative solutions application. Great number of authors highlight strategic role of non-material factors in sustainable business success realization. (Reed, Lubatkin, Srinivasan, 2006, pp.868)

Innovations can generally be observed as one of the most important sources of sustainable competitive advantage, because their result is a product improvement, product value increase, profitability increase and the like. (Lettl, 2007)

Innovations present new ideas, and their application through new product, process or service brings to dynamic growth of national economy, increase of employment and business performances. Innovations are long, cummulative process, which includes idea development, conceptualization and implementation. (Popadiuk, Chaoo, 2006)

In literature, there are different innovations models. One of the innovation model is presented in the figure 2 where in innovation review the starting point are technology and market and innovations are seen as radical and incremental within the existing or a new market with the stressed role of intellectual capital.

Market Technology (R&D)

Incremental Radical

New Architectural Innovation Major product, service innovation

Existing Incremental product, service, process Major process innovation

Figure 2. Innovation model Source: Toushman M.L., Anderson, P.Co., O'Reilly, C., 1997

From aspect of development level, innovations are often classified as incremental and radical. The development of the existing technology and product improvement present incremental innovations. Hermann et. all. (2007, pp.93) define radical product innovations as introduction of a completely new technology, customers needs satisfaction in a better manner than the existing one. Turbulent environment and greater competition influenced the greater importance of radical innovations for companies and the state alike. ( O Connor, 2008)

Human capital as a basic type of intellectual capital provides a basic source for new ideas and knowledge development. Highly motivated and trained employees are the best stimulus for radical innovations ( Hill, Rothaermel, 2003). Besides human capital, successful development of products and services lies in adequate organization which can improve collective knowledge. Research and development internally influence incremental innovations, and usage of the external knowledge can contribute radical innovations development.

Afuah (1998) observes innovations as new knowledge, integrated in new products, processes or services and he classifies innovations as: technological, market and administrative (organizational).

Researches show that the intellectual capital development results are innovations. Innovations have the key role for companies' survival and growth and can be realized through investing in intellectual capital. A country's economic growth or growth and development of a company depend on their ability to adopt or accept new techologies, ideas or processes. Innovations are main factor for companies' competitiveness improvement and they relate to reinovation and expansion of product assortment, services and cooresponding markets; introduction of new production methods, supply and distribution; introduction of management changes, changes in work organization and working conditions, as well as improvement of skills and competence of staff. Innovative company strives to increase its competitiveness by constant improvement of its products, processes and services as well as by improvement its own organization, methods and structure. Innovation is a great challenge for every business and every sector, especially the one exposed to international competition at home and international market.

Companies can be seen as warehouse of competencies, knowledge, creativity, innovations and learning, and by the external networking they enable innovations development (Amin, Cohendet, 2004). Networking is realized at international level, but the changes are conditioned by the global trends, like: the growing role of the Internet in distant links maintainance and increase in people's mobility. International trends have important role not only in the aspect of companies and managers but, also in work labour which influenced transformation of external environment of a company.

One of the areas where innovations are applied is business internationalization, where companies take greater risks comparing to the risks existing in domestic business. Therefore, additional resources are needed for business realization at international level. Small and medium enterprises have limited resources comparing to those with multinational companies, but they can overcome these obstacles by successful exploitation of available resources. Resource approach in internationalization process is very important and it relies on knowledge as a critical resource of a company.

Intellectual capital as innovation stimulus in Serbia

Increase in competitiveness of companies in Serbia is very important for the whole economy competitiveness. Individual companies of all sizes from production and service sector in Serbia are faced with enormous barriers. The problems relate to: lack of capital and technology, lack in the real knowledge and understanding of marketing, lack of the management expertise, low level of the production development and innovations, bad packaging, lack of the system for product certification, incomplete law support, expensive cirrculating assets, lack of the financial instruments which would precede exports and their high price, lack of infrastructure and low West- European language skills in many companies.

Innovation analysis of the Serbian companies showed that they are very active, but the innovation investment rate is very low, and most of all innovation activities are focused on buying equipment and machines as well as on the training for equipment and machines operating. The phase of expanding of new and modern technologies is of a key importance, and it was already a characteristic in most of other transitional economies.

However, to go through from ''development investment phase'' (which is growth incentive for the work productivity) to the phase which will be launched and stimulated by innovations, the companies will have to invest more in research and development and connect with academic and other non- profitable research institutions. For the process not only provision of growth and to attract new financial investments are required (including investments of foreign investors), but also to free up resources (human, financial) which are blocked at the moment in non-profitable business ventures.

An important innovative indicator is apply patent rate. This is an indicator of activity influence in the area of research and development, on the specific sectors of national economy but also an indicator of activity influence on technology diffusion, it is also a potential for imitative innovations by the non-resident patents. Serbia has a small patent apply number which is partially caused by investment decrease in research and development and relatively high patent expenses. From the historical point of view, Serbia invested considerable means in research and technological development, but during 1990s the level of public and private investing in the area and innovations drastically decreased.

Low absolute GDP level is a limiting factor for investment increase in research and development and in buying of equipment and modern technology. Certain studies showed that the relative returns (growth and productivity) from public and private investments in research and development are considerable different, in the sense that private investments have more important role in productivity and competitiveness inducement. However, insufficiently efficient and underdeveloped private sector in Serbia, especially in production invests symbolically in research and development. On the other hand, the closure of the leading research state institutes presents a limiting factor in knowledge creation and spreading as well as in creation and spreading of innovations.

Therefore, the main reason for worry at the plan of short-term and medium-term potential for creation of new innovative products and processes in companies in Serbia, lies in extremely low and constant business investment rate in research and development (in the form of GDP share). Science share of GDP in 2003 was 0,3 percent and it stagnates at the level.

In the same period, when the country has just got over troublesome 1990s, science budget in Serbia marked considerable growth in gross value, so it rose from the modest 42,8 milion EUR in 2002 to 100 milion EUR in

(Graph1). Budgets for different sectors are illustrated in figure 3 and it can be seen that the greatest budget is for basic researches (50,2%).

Innovation activity together with science and research activity present the most important driving force in the total technological development of a country, which is confirmed by the latest world experiences from the developed western countries and the transition countries as well.

In order to reach the certain level of competitiveness and competence, in economy and in all other society segments, it is necessary to reach the state of permanent improvement and development, e.g. it is necessary to build innovative society as a final result.

For the achieving of the goal in Serbia, it is necessary to create organizational and law infrastructure and in the ambience, the innovative society level will be reached most efficiently. This can be achieved only if the transparent results are present, applied in the local and regional development, and therefore applied in all of the country, and these results are based upon globally competitive and competent scientific, research and developmental activities. A special goal of the Serbian society have to be the creation of conditions for shorter and efficient application of science and innovative results in economy, so to reduce the required period from innovation creation to its commercialization to the level which is at the moment required by the world market.

To provide competitive and progressive research and development system, Republic of Serbia must provide: technological revitalization of the research units, improve their international competitiveness, encourage international networking and cooperation with known foreign institutes, reduce the number of experts and competent researchers leaving abroad, with the special programs for the most talented young scientists, establish unique in

formation systems for all science and research organizations and improve the possibility for using of information and communicative technologies; introduce the system of e-management; to emanate the spread of knowledge and exchange of scientific information as a public good (scientific panels and international knowledge exchange); provides (in accordance with the Serbian economy needs) foundation of science and technological parks, incubators and developmental and innovative centers.


Intellectual capital management can bring to important scientific accomplishments, transformed in high technologies, and then transformed into production and productivity increase. People with their knowledge and skills become the greatest source for companies'competitive advantage, as well as they represent their country, region. Since the utmost goal of Serbia is to reach the innovative society level, it is necessary to provide conditions on that path, and before all it is necessary to establish: organizational units, functional mechanisms and activities, which can stimulate the whole research, developmental and innovative activity at all levels in the Republic of Serbia.


Afuah, A., (1998) Innovation management: Strategies, implementation, and profits, New York: Oxford University Press.

Amin, A., Cohendet, P., ( 2004 ) Architectures of knowledge: Firm, capacities and communities, Oxford University Press.

Bontis, N., (1998), Intellectual Capital: An Exploratory Study that Develops Measures and Models, Management Decision, Vol. 36, No. 2.

Ferrier, F., Mckenzie, P., (1999) Looking Ahead: An Enterprise Information and Self-Evalution Kit, Paper presented at the InternationalSzmposium on Measuring and Reporting Intellectual Capital: xperiences, Issues, and Prospects, OECD, June, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Herrmann, A., Gassmann, O., Eisert, U., (2007). An Empirical Study of the Antecedents for Radical Product Innovation and Capabilities for Transformation. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Vol.


Hill, C.W.L., Rothaermel, F.T., (2003). The Performance of Incumbent Firms in the Face of Radical Technological Innovation. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 28, No.2.

Lettl, C., (2007) User Involvement Competence for Radical Innovation, Journal of Enginecring and Technology Management, Vol. 24, No.1-2.

Ministry of science and technologicaldevelopment, Republic of Serbia,nauka.gov.rs

O’Connor, G.C., (2008). Major Innovation as a Dynamic Capability: A Systems Approach. Journal of Product Innovation Management, Vol.

No. 4.

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Popadiuk, S, Choo, W.C., (2006) Innovation and knowledge creation: How are these concept related? International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 26, No. 4.

Reed, K.K., Lubatkin, M., Srinivasan, N., (2006) Proposing and Testing an Intellectual Capital-Based View of the Firm, Journal of Management studies, Vol. 43, No.4.

Stewart, T.A., (1997), Intellectual Capital: The Wealth of Organizations, Doubleday/Currency, New York, USA.

Toushman, M.L., Anderson, P.C., O’Reilly, C., (1997) Technological cucles innovation strams and ambidextrous organizations: organizational renemal through innovation steams and strategicchange. In. M.L. Tuchman,

& P. Andrerson (eds), Managing strategic inovation and change: A collection of readings. New York: Oxford University Press.

Gordana Radosavljevic, Ljijana Maksimovic University of Kragujevac (Serbia)

Управление интеллектуальным капиталом. Материалы Международной научно-практической конференции (Екатеринбург, 27 апреля 2012 г.) Екатеринбург: Издательство Уральского государственного экономического университета, 2012.


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