Purpose – The aim of the paper is to provide some guidelines for using and not using Knowledge-based Strategies (KS) and for understanding the sustainability of such kinds of strategy. The paper proposes an accounting-based framework that can be used for this aim.The meaning of the guidelines is illustrated with reference to a specific case of a company that implements a KS: the Italian Loccioni Group. The work continues and develops a research already started by the same authors (Iazzolino, Laise, 2013; 2016; Iazzolino et al., 2014).Design/methodology/approach - Building on previous works by the same authors (Iazzolino, Laise, 2013; 2016; Iazzolino et al., 2014), the proposed framework starts from the analysis of the Value Added (VA) created by the firm. In order to characterize a Knowledge-based Strategy (KS) the VA and its components are analyzed. To evaluate the sustainability of a strategy (from the economic and social point of view), the time trend of the VA and its composition are also analyzed.The research is theoretical and empirical: a case study has been carried out to apply the framework. Specific KPIs were identified to describe the context analyzed.Findings - From a theoretical point of view, an inter-theory relationship (not existing in the literature) between P. Drucker's approach of Economic/Social Sustainable Strategies (ESS) based on knowledge, and Pulic's theory of Human Capital Efficiency (HCE) has been constructed. From results of application of the framework on the case study it emerges that the Loccioni Group implements a Knowledge-based strategy (KS). It can be considered a "win-win" strategy.Research limitations/implications - The case study (Loccioni Group) is described in order to highlight that a Economic/Social Sustainable Strategy (ESS) is achievable. The case study has to be understood as the description of a best practice (a benchmark) and not as a statistical test of hypothesis (a theory test). The description of the case is useful to show that companies which adopt knowledge-based strategies are not a utopia. There are concrete examples that show that it is possible to implement such strategies. In other words, the set of companies that adopt a ESS is not "empty".Originality/value – The main purpose of our paper is the construction of an inter-theory relationship (not existing in the literature) between P. Drucker's approach of Economic/Social Sustainable Strategies (ESS) based on knowledge, and Pulic's theory of Human Capital Efficiency (HCE). The existence of such a relation, in our opinion, is necessary to provide a theoretical foundation of an accounting framework useful for evaluating Knowledge-based Strategies and that a Knowledge-based Strategy (in Drucker's sense) is adopted when it creates value for all the stakeholders. That is, it is adopted when it has a high Value Added (in Pulic's sense).Practical implications – Managers underestimate the importance of a performance measurement that takes into account advantages in terms of intangibles. The approach analyzed in this paper makes it possible to highlight the effects of sustainable strategies based on knowledge investments oriented towards the Stakeholder Value Theory and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Knowledge-based strategies and sustainability: a framework and a case study application

IAZZOLINO, Gianpaolo
;
Laise D;Gabriele R.
2017-01-01

Abstract

Purpose – The aim of the paper is to provide some guidelines for using and not using Knowledge-based Strategies (KS) and for understanding the sustainability of such kinds of strategy. The paper proposes an accounting-based framework that can be used for this aim.The meaning of the guidelines is illustrated with reference to a specific case of a company that implements a KS: the Italian Loccioni Group. The work continues and develops a research already started by the same authors (Iazzolino, Laise, 2013; 2016; Iazzolino et al., 2014).Design/methodology/approach - Building on previous works by the same authors (Iazzolino, Laise, 2013; 2016; Iazzolino et al., 2014), the proposed framework starts from the analysis of the Value Added (VA) created by the firm. In order to characterize a Knowledge-based Strategy (KS) the VA and its components are analyzed. To evaluate the sustainability of a strategy (from the economic and social point of view), the time trend of the VA and its composition are also analyzed.The research is theoretical and empirical: a case study has been carried out to apply the framework. Specific KPIs were identified to describe the context analyzed.Findings - From a theoretical point of view, an inter-theory relationship (not existing in the literature) between P. Drucker's approach of Economic/Social Sustainable Strategies (ESS) based on knowledge, and Pulic's theory of Human Capital Efficiency (HCE) has been constructed. From results of application of the framework on the case study it emerges that the Loccioni Group implements a Knowledge-based strategy (KS). It can be considered a "win-win" strategy.Research limitations/implications - The case study (Loccioni Group) is described in order to highlight that a Economic/Social Sustainable Strategy (ESS) is achievable. The case study has to be understood as the description of a best practice (a benchmark) and not as a statistical test of hypothesis (a theory test). The description of the case is useful to show that companies which adopt knowledge-based strategies are not a utopia. There are concrete examples that show that it is possible to implement such strategies. In other words, the set of companies that adopt a ESS is not "empty".Originality/value – The main purpose of our paper is the construction of an inter-theory relationship (not existing in the literature) between P. Drucker's approach of Economic/Social Sustainable Strategies (ESS) based on knowledge, and Pulic's theory of Human Capital Efficiency (HCE). The existence of such a relation, in our opinion, is necessary to provide a theoretical foundation of an accounting framework useful for evaluating Knowledge-based Strategies and that a Knowledge-based Strategy (in Drucker's sense) is adopted when it creates value for all the stakeholders. That is, it is adopted when it has a high Value Added (in Pulic's sense).Practical implications – Managers underestimate the importance of a performance measurement that takes into account advantages in terms of intangibles. The approach analyzed in this paper makes it possible to highlight the effects of sustainable strategies based on knowledge investments oriented towards the Stakeholder Value Theory and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
2017
Value creation; Sustainable strategies; Performance measurement
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/150170
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