Unfolding the Gordian Knot of the University Intellectual Capital


  • Constantin Bratianu
  • Ivona Orzea


intellectual capital, human capital, structural capital, relationship capital, integrators


Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the Gordian Knot of the intellectual capital of the universities is the structural capital, and that unfolding it requires a deep understanding of the nature of structural capital This idea comes from a new perspective on the intellectual capital structure and on the relative importance of each component of it, i.e. human capital, structural capital and relational capital. Many authors consider that the human capital is the most important and by far the dominant component of the intellectual capital of the universities. Our research based on the new concept of organizational intellectual capital integrators showed that a university may have a great potential of the intellectual capital based on the human capital component, and yet not to perform competitively due to the weak integrators and stiff structural capital. In our view, an integrator is a powerful field of forces capable of combining two or more elements into a new entity, based on interdependence and synergy. These elements may have a physical or virtual nature, and they must posses the capacity of interacting in a controlled way. For any university these integrators have an intngible nature. The interdependence property is necessary for combining all elements into a system. The synergy property makes it possible to generate an extra energy or power from the working system. It makes the difference between a linear system and a nonlinear one. The Gordian Knot of the intellectual capital of universities is the structural capital. Only understanding the nature and the complexity of the structural capital we will be able to understand the full potential of the intellectual capital metaphor. Thus, the structural capital is the key component of the university intellectual capital and it is strongly related to the concepts of university governance and university autonomy. This paper is based on a conceptual research, a search of the literature, and on a solid experience one of the authors has got in the legislation and management of the university system of Romania, as a former General Director for Higher Education in the Ministry of Education and Research.



1 Jul 2013