Exploring the role of intellectual capital in supply chain intelligence integration

Publication Date11 Jun 2018
AuthorYongyi Shou,Wenjin Hu,Yongmei Xu
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information systems,Data management systems,Knowledge management,Knowledge sharing,Management science & operations,Supply chain management,Supply chain information systems,Logistics,Quality management/systems
Exploring the role of intellectual
capital in supply chain
intelligence integration
Yongyi Shou and Wenjin Hu
School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, and
Yongmei Xu
Management School, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of intellectual capital (IC) in supply chain
intelligence integration (SCII) and the interrelationships of the three components of IC (i.e. human capital (HC),
structural capital (SC) and relational capital (RC)) in the supply chain context.
Design/methodology/approach This paper conducted an empirical study by using primary data from
389 sample firms. The authors applied structural equation modeling to test the proposed hypotheses.
Findings The results indicate that both HC and RC have direct impact on SCII, whereas SC only influences
SCII through RC.
Originality/value This study evidences that IC is an enabler of SCII. Furthermore, this study reveals the
interrelationships of human, structural and RC.
Keywords Relational capital, Human capital, Intellectual capital, Innovation performance, Structural capital,
Supply chain intelligence integration
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
As one of the most important sources of firmscompetitive advantage, innovation is a
risky and demanding activity with the learning and application of knowledge( MacKinnon
et al., 2002). Focal firms in supply chains conduct innovation practices not only by
applying internal knowledge, but also by leveraging external sources of intelligence such
as their suppliers and customers (Carbonell et al., 2009; Evanschitzky et al., 2012; Kuester
et al., 2012; Petersen et al., 2005; Salvador and Villena, 2013). Supply chain intelligence,
which denotes the knowledge embedded in supply chain networks (Schoenherr and
Swink, 2015), is regarded as an important source of knowledge for focal firms (Inkpen and
Tsang, 2005). Supply chain intelligence integration (SCII) refers to the absorption
and application of technological and market knowledge sourced from supply chain
partners (Schoenherr and Swink, 2015). SCII has been illustrated by previous research to
have positive impact on firmsinnovation performance (IP) (Hult et al., 2006; Schoenherr
and Swink, 2015; Wowak et al., 2013).
Prior studies have addressed the performance effect of SCII. However, the enablers of SCII
are not well studied in the extant literature. SCII is essentially a knowledge-processing process
which includes both knowledge absorption from supply chain partners and knowledge
application by focal firms (Grant, 1996a; Hult et al., 2006). The effectiveness and efficiency of
supply chain knowledge transfer and application depend on focal firmsknowledge-processing
ability (Grant, 1996a; Kogut and Zander, 1992; Schoenherr and Swink, 2015). Intellectual capital
(IC), defined as the carrier of the aggregate knowledge of a firm (Bontis et al., 2002;
Industrial Management & Data
Vol. 118 No. 5, 2018
pp. 1018-1032
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/IMDS-06-2017-0285
Received 29 June 2017
Revised 9 November 2017
18 December 2017
Accepted 20 December 2017
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant
No. 71472166. An abstract version of this paper was presented at the 1st International Symposium of
Supply Chain and Service Innovation, Guangzhou, China, 67 April 2017.
This paper forms part of a special section Featured issue on supply chain innovation.

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