What Is Intellectual Capital? (Types and Examples)

Intellectual capital is the value of a company’s employee knowledge, skills, business training, or any proprietary information that may provide the company with a competitive advantage.

This study examines the development of several conceptual measures and models for intellectual capital and its relation to business performance using empirical data from a pilot study. This pilot study’s goal is to investigate how items and constructs develop using partial least squares (PLS) and principal components analysis (PCA). The optimal structural specification and final retained, subjective measures demonstrate a valid, dependable, significant, and substantive causal relationship between aspects of intellectual capital and business performance. These findings ought to make it easier for academics and professionals to comprehend the elements of intellectual capital and offer guidance on how to build and expand it within an organization. Then recommendations are offered to advance and enhance this research program.

What is Intellectual Capital?

Why is intellectual capital important?

One of a company’s most valuable assets and a measure of its true worth in some ways is intellectual capital. The ability of a company to grow and be profitable is represented by its intellectual capital, which includes its relationships, culture, reputation, and processes as well as the skills of its employees. These intangible components are frequently distinctive and can impact a company’s viability.

Extensive intellectual capital can provide many benefits to a business. A company’s ability to innovate, tackle difficult problems, and carry out its operations successfully can be attributed to having a well-trained, talented, and skilled workforce that enjoys a positive working relationship with company leadership. Strong connections with partners, suppliers, distributors, and investors can provide businesses with access to capital as well as the supplies they need to run their day-to-day operations. Finally, businesses can expand their market share and boost their profits by being visible, cultivating positive relationships with their clients, and maintaining a solid reputation.

What is intellectual capital?

The collective knowledge, expertise, experience, and training of a company’s employees is referred to as intellectual capital. A company’s culture, intellectual property, connections, procedures, and other intangible information assets may also be included. These components frequently serve as a company’s distinctive capabilities and form the basis for financial success.

Types of intellectual capital

Business professionals frequently distinguish between three main categories of intellectual capital: human capital, structural capital, and relational capital. Here are the definitions of each of the three types:

1. Human capital

The assets that a company’s leaders and employees provide are referred to as human capital. It consists of factors such as the collective employee experience, training, skills, education, physical and mental wellbeing, and work approach. Additionally, a company’s human capital includes its capacity to forge solid bonds with its personnel. Indicators of a company’s human capital include employee satisfaction, productivity, and rate of promotion, as well as employee retention and turnover.

2. Structural capital

Many of the intangible assets and non-physical infrastructure that support a business’ operations and enable growth are included in structural capital. Data, intellectual property, values, principles, and media are some typical components of structural capital. It may also cover the techniques and policies the business employs in its operations, as well as its organizational culture and management structure.

3. Relational capital

The assets that a business acquires through its corporate relationships are referred to as relational capital. Relationships with vendors, distributors, partners, and regulators, as well as the company’s clout in the marketplace, can be considered. Customer relationships are a crucial component of relational capital for a business. This can include a brands reputation, visibility and recognizability.

How to measure intellectual capital

It can be difficult to quantify intellectual capital directly, in contrast to other assets. There are three ways for businesses to assess their intellectual capital:

1. Scorecard method

Businesses and nonprofits frequently use the scorecard or balanced scorecard “method” to assess their intangible assets. This approach frequently entails a four-part analysis covering business operations, clients, learning and development, and finances. Then, experts can examine these four components independently, pinpoint successes and failures, and give the business a score or create graphics that depict relative success.

2. Market capitalisation method

Companies frequently use the market value method or the market value-to-book value ratio to determine the value of their intellectual property. They do this by contrasting the company’s market valuation, or perceived value in the market, with its financial value, which is calculated as the net value of the company’s assets minus its liabilities and intangibles. Business leaders can use this to determine the value that their intangible assets, such as relationships, human capital, and processes, add to their organizations.

3. Return on assets method

Businesses can estimate the average revenue that their intangible assets provide using the return on assets (ROA) method. Using this technique, experts divide their company’s average earnings before taxes over a specific time period by the average value of its tangible assets. The outcome of this calculation is the return on assets, which they can contrast with the industry average ROA. The value of the company’s intangible assets can then be calculated by dividing the difference between the company’s ROA and the average industry ROA by the average tangible asset value. This is the calculation for the ROA method:

ROA is the product of average pre-tax earnings and average tangible asset value.

Average earnings from intangible assets are equal to the difference between a company’s ROA and the industry average ROA times the average value of tangible assets.

4. Skandia navigator method

Using the Skandia Navigator (SN) model, a company’s intangible assets can be examined. Customer focus, human focus, financial focus, renewal and development focus, and process focus are the three areas of focus for the SN. Using this technique, business leaders examine each of these areas in their company and pinpoint their successes and challenges in each one.

How to increase intellectual capital

These are some of the processes that businesses can enhance to increase intellectual capital, among other ways that businesses can do so include:


Improving recruitment practices is one of the most crucial ways to increase human capital. Companies might think about collaborating with educational institutions, increasing the number of recruiters on staff, experimenting with new recruitment techniques, and raising the bar for prospective candidates. When possible, they should also think about promoting seasoned staff members from within the organization. By bringing in more knowledgeable and qualified staff, this can help a company’s human capital.

Human resources

The relationship between an employer and their employees is a crucial component of human capital. Enhancing employee satisfaction and productivity can be accomplished in large part by streamlining the human resources department. Companies might think about providing their staff with competitive benefits and pay, chances for advancement, company events, mentorship, and support. By enhancing training procedures, fostering effective communication, and developing feedback mechanisms, they can also increase human capital.


One of the most significant intangible assets that businesses have is market influence. The marketing department of a company is frequently one of its best resources for raising capital in this area. A brand’s power in the market can be increased through effective marketing, which can increase consumer awareness of the brand and shape how they perceive it. Companies can think about carefully tracking important metrics like ad spend, conversion rate, customer lifetime value, and average order value to improve their marketing procedures. After that, they can make use of these metrics to gauge the effectiveness of their advertising and allocate resources to the most successful campaigns.

Customer service

Customer service enhancements are frequently used by businesses to foster better relationships with their customers. They may think about increasing customer accessibility through automated chat features, hiring more customer service representatives, or developing customer surveys. In order to improve customer experiences, they might also think about providing rewards systems and benefits. These actions can assist companies in developing a favorable reputation, which is frequently a crucial intangible asset.


The operational philosophies and procedures of a business can greatly benefit customers and contribute to its intellectual capital. Businesses can deliver more value, earn more money, cut costs, enhance reputation, and increase employee satisfaction by improving operations. Industry-specific operational improvement strategies can vary, but the following are some techniques that businesses can use:

Examples of intellectual capital

These are some examples of each type of intellectual capital:

1. Human capital

Here is an illustration of human resources in a hypothetical company:

Software company Waterloo has improved its human resources and hired more people to increase its human capital. As a result of its connections with prestigious universities and provision of internships and job fairs for recent graduates, it has been able to draw applicants with critical competencies. It also made investments in entry-level personnel with expertise in developing fields like artificial intelligence and data science. The company’s HR team has developed an industry-leading benefits package and prioritizes giving employees rewarding work environments. By increasing the company’s access to more skills and improving communication between the company and its employees, these actions increased the company’s human capital.

2. Structural capital

This is an example of a fictional companys structural capital:

Manufacturing company Dresden Industries has made significant investments in its structural capital. It implemented automation to simplify a number of its operations and lighten employee workloads, built a sizable database with customer data, market research, and performance metrics, and instructed every member of staff in best practices. The business also holds patents on a number of its products, and it makes sure that its executives and employees uphold its values of openness, responsibility, and continuous improvement at all times.

3. Relational capital

An illustration of how a business might develop relational capital is as follows:

Processors, chipsets, and storage drives are all produced by Talavera Tech, a semiconductor manufacturer. The business has spent years cultivating trusting relationships with its most crucial suppliers and now spends significantly less on raw materials than other businesses. Additionally, it has created a sizable network of distributors that have increased its exposure and given it a presence in markets around the globe. Additionally, Talavera strives to strengthen customer relationships by offering competitive prices, round-the-clock customer support, and benevolent return and replacement policies.


What are examples of intellectual capital?

Intellectual capital is broadly divided into three main categories:
  • Human capital.
  • Relational capital.
  • Structural capital.

What is intellectual capital and why is it important?

Intellectual capital includes things like the knowledge required to carry out a challenging production process, the creation of a top-secret food product recipe, and the extensive business training provided to consultants’ staff members.

What are the intellectual capital elements?

The production of wealth and other high-value assets is made possible by the intellectual capital. Intellectual capital in a business refers to the abundance of ideas and the capacity for innovation, both of which have a significant impact on the company’s future.

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