Intellectual Capital as a Strategic Tool for Organising Social Services: A Qualitative Analysis of the Australian Non-profit Sector

Chak-Wai (Eric) Kong

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Abstract

The organisation and delivery of social services have been profoundly affected by the 'new public management' agenda of governments. Social service non-profit organisations (SSNPOs) have had little choice but to respond to commercial imperatives which may compromise the principle of investing in human and social concerns. This paper analyses the usefulness of intellectual capital (IC) - organisational resources contributing to knowledge, information, intellectual property, and human skills and experience - in addressing the conflicts between commercial and social objectives. On the basis of data gathered from in-depth interviews with 35 non-profit managers across 22 large Australian SSNPOs, the analysis confirms that IC assists SSNPOs in managing the social-commercial divide. However, the data also revealed that managers' understandings of the IC concept were often different to those contained in the IC literature. This paper contributes to the social services management debate by, first, arguing that IC can be utilised as a non-profit strategic management conceptual framework. Second, it highlights slippages in the meaning and significance of IC. Third, it prescribes ways the concept may be utilised more effectively in SSNPO practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st ANZAM conference
Subtitle of host publicationManaging our intellectual and social capital
EditorsRoss Chapman
Place of PublicationLindfield, Australia
PublisherANZAM/Promaco
Pages1-11
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)1863081402
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventAustralian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference - Sydney, NSW Australia, Australia
Duration: 04 Dec 200707 Dec 2007

Conference

ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference
Country/TerritoryAustralia
Period04/12/0707/12/07

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