Purpose – The starting‐point of this paper is the observation that, while intellectual capital (IC) management seems to be a potential approach for non‐profit elderly care organizations, there is a lack of empirical evidence on how it could actually be applied. This paper aims to add to knowledge of this issue. Design/methodology/approach – This is an exploratory, qualitative case study including three case organizations. The case descriptions and analysis are based on interviews with managers of the case organizations. Findings – The study describes which intangible resources are highlighted in the operations of non‐profit elderly care organizations, the existing practices regarding the management of IC factors and the IC needs of management in these organizations. Research limitations/implications – The study focuses on Finnish non‐profits. The operations of the third sector may vary across countries. Practical implications – The elderly care sector is facing big challenges due to the changing age structure in many Western countries and due to the pressure to produce cost‐effective but still high‐quality services. The IC approach seems well‐suited as a managerial framework that can capture the intangible aspects of operations. However, more research and practical application experience are needed at this stage. Originality/value – IC research on non‐profit organizations is rare and has so far been rather generic and conceptual. The paper makes a contribution by presenting empirical and industry‐specific findings.
Journal of Intellectual Capital – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 20, 2010
Keywords: Intellectual capital; Measurement; Non‐profit organizations; Social welfare organizations; Service industries; Case studies