Identifying Layers of Intellectual Capital by Analyzing Unique Contexts


  • Darin Freeburg


Intellectual Capital, Churches, Assets and Liabilities, Organizational Culture, Value Creation


This research analyzed the Intellectual Capital (IC) in churches, noting the contextually specific elements tied to unique definitions of success. It aimed to open up to questioning the traditional classifications of IC, while considering the importance of context. American churches were chosen to uncover unique layers and attributes of IC, as they represent a very different organization from those typically studied in IC research. The leadership teams of four churches engaged in 90‑minute focus groups, where they discussed success, assets, liabilities, and attempts to leverage value from assets. By approaching it qualitatively, and without prompting participants about the traditional definitions of IC, a more valid and natural discussion revealed unique assets not found in other contexts. Analysis validated the traditional three‑part classification of IC into human, relational, and structural assets, yet it showed unique subcategories not captured by previous research. It outlined unique relationships among asset classifications, and revealed areas of missed opportunity and leakage of assets. This adds to the growing list of possible specific IC assets that can be considered by other organizations, as well as ways to leverage these assets. Analysis also found that assets can easily become liabilities if not properly managed and maintained. This approach can be used in future research to uncover additional layers of IC that can be used by other organizations not previously aware of the existence or potential value of such assets.



1 Sep 2018