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Intellectual capital as competitive advantage in emerging clusters in Latin America

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Purpose ‐ Emerging clusters, formed by small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of slow growth and embryonic management systems present a different competitive advantage scheme. The purpose of this paper is to analyze relationships among components of intellectual capital within a model of competitive advantages in emerging clusters in a region of Latin America. Design/methodology/approach ‐ An intellectual capital model in a competitive advantage scheme is defined. A sequential method based in PLS technique is suggested to select the model and estimate the parameters. A sample of 113 wood manufacturing SMEs in a region of Argentina was selected. Findings ‐ The competitive advantage scheme in emerging clusters of SMEs proposes that resources affect organizational capabilities; territory and organizational capabilities affect strategic factors which improve performance. In this scheme, human capital affects structural capital and structural capital generates relational capital. SMEs organize tangible resources and relational capital to build organizational capabilities. Research limitations/implications ‐ The sample is a cross-section. The performance is subjectively measured by the satisfaction of the entrepreneurs with different items. Practical implications ‐ The paper establishes suggestions to strategies of the SMEs in emerging clusters and politics of developing countries. This paper enables practitioners and scholars to comprehend and make legitimate decisions and conclusions that can foster business growth. Originality/value ‐ The authors tested the impact of dimensions of intellectual capital on performance in emerging clusters of developing countries within a competitive advantage scheme, showing relationships among intellectual capital dimensions and competitive advantages. The analysis differentiates between intellectual capital dimension and organizational capabilities.

Keywords: Business performance; Emerging clusters; Firm performance; Human capital; Intellectual capital; Relational capital; Small to medium-sized enterprises; Structural capital; Survival SMEs

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-10-19

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