A study of intellectual capital in the hospitality industry in the Caribbean

Carrington, Donley Alphonso

September 2009

Thesis or dissertation

© 2009 Donley Alphonso Carrington. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

In today's knowledge-based economy three important factors in an organisation are human capital (HC), relational capital (RC) and structural capital (SC) which are the elements that constitute intellectual capital (IC). Proponents of IC research suggest that it is the leveraging of the three components of IC that allow an organisation to create and sustain a competitive advantage. IC research has, thus far, emphasized defining and measuring the construct and its components, and examining the impact of IC and its components on firm?s performance. However, theoretical questions remain concerning the synergistic, dynamic and contextual nature of the IC construct. A better understanding of these aspects of the IC construct is needed to better argue that IC is a firm's capability that results in a sustainable competitive advantage.Thus, while progress has been made in IC research, this study contributes to the extant IC literature and to practice within the accommodation sector of the tourism industry. The resource-based view of the firm and sensemaking are use to provide the foundation for understanding how the three components interact. Locating the research in the Caribbean hospitality industry provides literature on IC in developing micro states. The study develops and tests a theoretical model concerning the mediating effects of measurement of IC and sensemaking on the components of IC and performance linkage. The study confirms the use of structural equation modelling as an appropriate method to develop latent constructs of HC, RC, SC, measurement of IC and sensemaking in IC research.Accordingly, this study investigated the characteristics and significance placed on the various components of IC and the measurement of IC in the hospitality industry in the Caribbean. The study also provides a critical assessment of the impact of IC information on corporate performance through the sensemaking process in the organisation. A mixed methods approach to answering the research questions, consisting of two exploratory case studies in the first phase and a survey in the second phase was used. The study confirmed the presence of IC within the hospitality industry.The qualitative case studies reveal that there is no multi-dimensional performance framework within the industry and there is limited disclosure of IC information. The study shows that HC, RC and SC are related to sensemaking, that measurement of IC is associated with performance, that measurement of IC mediates the relationships between RC and performance and SC and performance, and it validates the relationship between HC and performance.

Business School, The University of Hull
Tayles, Mike
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