The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 961–978 | Cite as

Main drivers of human capital, learning and performance

  • Nancy Vargas
  • M. Begoña Lloria
  • Salvador Roig-Dobón


The aim of this study was to show the relationships between the enablers for knowledge creation and human capital (HC); the effect of HC on feedback and feedforward; and the influence of these learning flows on organizational performance. To achieve this, we developed a novel theoretical model of relationships and tested this model empirically. We quantitatively test this model using data from firms in the Spanish biotechnology sector. Results show strong relationships between HC and enablers for knowledge creation (redundancy, trust, and autonomy); HC and learning flows (feedback and feedforward); and learning flows and organizational performance. The originality of this study lies in linking—theoretically, empirically, and through a novel model—independent theories of HC, learning, and knowledge creation.


Human capital Knowledge creation Enablers Learning Performance 

JEL Classification



  1. Alegre, J., Pla-Barber, J., Chiva, R., & Villar, C. (2012). Organizational learning capability, product innovation performance and export intensity. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 24(5), 511–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ardichvile, A. (2008). Learning and knowledge sharing in virtual communities of practice: Motivators, barriers and enablers. Advances in Developing Human Resource, 10, 541–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Argote, L., Ingram, P., Levine, J. M., & Moreland, R. L. (2000). Knowledge transfer in organizations: learning from de experience of others. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagozzi, R. P., Yi, Y., & Singh, S. (1991). On the use of structural equation models in experimental designs: Two extensions. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 8, 125–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barclay, D., Higgins, C., & Thompson, R. (1995). The partial least squares (PLS) approach to causal modelling: Personal computer adoption and use as an illustration. Technology Studies, Special Issue on Research Methodology, 2(2), 285–309.Google Scholar
  6. Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17, 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barney, J., & Wright, P. M. (1998). On becoming strategic partner: The role of human resources in gaining a competitive advantage. Human Resource Management, 37, 31–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berman, S. L., Down, J., & Hill, C. W. (2002). Tacit knowledge as a source of competitive advantage in the National Basketball Association. Academy of Management Journal, 48, 13–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bontis, N. (1996). There is a price on your head: managing capital intellectual strategically. Business Quarterly, 60, 40–47.Google Scholar
  10. Bontis, N. (1998). Intellectual capital: An exploratory study that develops measures models. Management Decision, 36, 63–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bontis, N. (1999). Managing an organizational learning system by aligning stocks and flows of knowledge: An empirical examination of intellectual capital, knowledge management, and business performance. Hamilton: Management of Innovation and New Technology Research Centre, McMaster University.Google Scholar
  12. Bontis, N., Crossan, M., & Hulland, J. (2002). Managing an organizational learning system by aligning stocks and flows. Journal of Management Studies, 39, 438–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bontis, N., Dragonetti, N. C., Jacobsen, K., & Ross, G. (1999). The knowledge toolbox: A review of the tools available to measure and manage intangible resources. European Management Journal, 17(4), 391–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bontis, N., & Fitz-enz, J. (2002). Intellectual Capital ROI: A causal map of human capital antecedents and consequents. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 3, 223–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bontis, N., Keow, W. C. C., & Richardson, S. (2000). Intellectual capital and business performance in Malaysian industries. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 1(1), 85–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bontis, N., & Serenko, A. (2009). A causal model of human capital antecedents and consequents in the financial services industry. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 10(1), 53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brooking, A. (1998). Intellectual capital. London: International Thomson Business Press.Google Scholar
  18. Bueno, E. (1998). Modelo Intellectus: Medición y Gestión del Capital Intelectual. Madrid: Dicrea Ediciones Graficas.Google Scholar
  19. Chen, M. Y., Wang, Y. S., & Sun, V. (2012). Intellectual capital and organizational commitment evidence from cultural creative industries in Taiwan. Personnel Review, 41(3), 321–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chin, W. (1998). The partial least square approach to structural equation modeling. In: G. A. Marcoulides (Ed.) (pp. 294–336). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  21. Chiva, R., Alegre, J., & Lapiedra, R. (2007). Measuring organizational learning capability among the workforce. International Journal of Manpower, 28, 224–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Clarke, M., Seng, D., & Whiting, R. H. (2011). Intellectual capital and firm performance in Australia. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 12(4), 505–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Crossan, M., & Berdrow, I. (2003). Organizational learning and strategic renewal. Strategic Management Journal, 24, 1087–1105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Crossan, M., & Bontis, N. (1999). The strategic management of organizational learning. San Diego, CA: Academy of Management.Google Scholar
  25. Crossan, M., & Hulland, J. (1997). Measuring organizational learning. Boston, MA: Academy of Management.Google Scholar
  26. Crossan, M., Lane, H. W., & White, R. E. (1999). An organizational learning framework: From intuition to institution. Academy of Management Review, 24, 522–537.Google Scholar
  27. Demartini, C. (2015). Relationships between social and intellectual capital: Empirical evidence from IC statements. Knowledge and Process Management, 22(2), 99–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Edvinsson, L. (1992). Developing intellectual capital at Skandia. Long Range Planning, 30, 266–373.Google Scholar
  29. Edvinsson, L., & Malone, M. (1997). Intellectual capital: realizing your company’s true value by finding its hidden brainpower. New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  30. Elkjae, B. (2000). Learning and getting to know: the case of knowledge workers. Human Resource Development International, 3(3), 343–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Felicio, J. A., Couto, E., & Caiado, J. (2014). Human capital, social capital and organizational performance. Management Decision, 52(2), 350–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fornell, C., & Bookstein, F. I. (1982). Two structural equation models: LISREL and PLS applied to consumer exit-voice theory. Journal of Marketing Research, 19, 440–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Garcia, F., Palenchono, E., & Navas, J. E. (2008). La complejidad del conocimiento y el sostenimiento de las ventajas competitivas. Cuadernos de Economía y Dirección de Empresas, 37, 7–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. George, D., & Mallery, P. (1995). SPSS/PC + step by step: A simple guide and reference. Belmont, CA: Wasdworth.Google Scholar
  36. Grant, R. (1991). The resource-based theory of competitive advantage: Implication for strategy formulation. California Management Review, 33, 13–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (1994). Competing for the future. Boston: HBS Press.Google Scholar
  38. Heeseok, L., & Byounggu, C. (2003). Knowledge management enablers, processes, and organizational performance: An integrative view and empirical examination. Journal of Management Information Systems, 20(1), 179–228.Google Scholar
  39. Henseler, J., Ringle, C. M., & Sinkovics, R. R. (2009). The use the partial least squares path modelling. In R. Sinkovics & N. Pervez (Eds.), Advances in international marketing (pp. 277–319). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hudson, W. (1993). Intellectual capital: How to build it, enhanced it, use it. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  41. Hussi, T. (2004). Reconfiguring knowledge management combining intellectual capital, intangible assets and knowledge creation. Journal of Knowledge Management, 8(2), 36–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ittner, C. (2008). Does measuring intangibles for management proposes improve performance? A review of evidence. Accounting and Business Research, 38, 261–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kaplan, R., & Norton, D. (1996). The balanced scorecard. Boston: Harvard Business Press.Google Scholar
  44. Kim, D. H. (1993). The link between individual and organizational learning. Sloan Management Review, 35(1), 37–50.Google Scholar
  45. Kleinbaum, D. G., Kuppe, N. N., & Muller, K. E. (1988). Applied regression analysis and other multivariables methods. Boston: PWS KENT.Google Scholar
  46. Lazear, E. P. (2005). Entrepreneurship. Journal of Labor Economics, 23(4), 649–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lengnick-Hall, M., Lengnick-Hall, C. A., Andrade, L., & Drake, D. (2009). Strategic human resource management: The evolution of the field. Human Resource Management Review, 19, 64–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Leonard-Barton, D. (1995). Wellsprings of knowledge: Building and sustaining the sources of innovation. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  49. Lloria, M. B., & Moreno-Luzón, M. (2005). Construction and validation of measurements scales for enablers of knowledge creation. Management Research, 3, 219–232.Google Scholar
  50. Lloria, M. B., & Moreno-Luzón, M. (2014). Organizational learning: Proposal of an integrative scale and research instrument. Journal of Business Research, 67, 692–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lloria, M. B., & Peris-Ortíz, M. (2014). Knowledge creation. The ongoing search for strategic renewal. Industrial Management and Data Systems, 114(7), 1022–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Meyer, M. W., & Gupta, B. (1994). The performance paradox. Research in Organizational Behavior, 16, 309–369.Google Scholar
  53. Miller, D., Xu, X., & Mehrotra, V. (2014). When is human capital a valuable resource? The performance effects of ivy league selection among celebrated CEOs. Strategic Management Journal, 36, 930–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Moreno-Luzón, M., & Lloria, M. B. (2008). The role of non-structural and informal mechanisms of integration and integration as forces in knowledge creation. British Journal of Management, 19, 250–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mouritsen, J., Larsen, H. T., & Bukh, P. N. (2001). Valuing the future: Intellectual capital supplements at Skandia. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 14(4), 399–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nonaka, I. (1988). Creating organizational order out of chaos: Self-renewal in Japanese Firms. California Management Review, 30(3), 57–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Nonaka, I. (1990). Redundant, overlapping organizations: A Japanese approach to managing the innovation process. California Management Review, 32(3), 27–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Nonaka, I. (1991). The knowledge creating company. Harvard Business Review, 69(6), 96–104.Google Scholar
  59. Nonaka, I. (1994). A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organization Science, 5(1), 14–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nonaka, I., & Konno, N. (1998). The concept of Ba. California Management Review, 40, 40–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The knowledge-creating company. How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Nonaka, I., & Toyama, R. (2005). The theory of the knowledge-creating firm: subjectivity, objectivity and synthesis. Industrial and Corporate Change, 14, 419–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Nonaka, I., Toyama, R., & Konno, N. (2000). SECI, Ba and leaderships: A unified model of dynamic knowledge creation. Long Range Planning, 33, 5–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Nunnally, J. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). London: Mc-Graw-Hill.Google Scholar
  65. Nyberg, A. J., & Wrigtht, P. M. (2015). 50 Years of Human Capital Research: Assessing what we know, exploring where we go. Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(3), 287–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Peteraf, M. A. (1993). The cornerstones of competitive advantage. A resourced-based view. Strategic Management Journal, 14(3), 179–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Petty, R., & Guthrie, J. (2000). Intellectual capital literature review-measurement, reporting and management. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 1, 55–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pew, H., Plowman, D., & Hancock, P. (2008). The involving research on intellectual capital. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 9, 585–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Prashantham, S., & Berry, M. M. (2004). The small knowledge-intensive firm: A conceptual discussion of its characteristics and internationalization. International Journal Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 4(2/3), 150–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Ringle, C. M., Wende, S. & Will, A. (2005). SmartPLS 2.0 M3 beta. Hamburg.
  71. Roca-Puig, V., Beltran-Martin, I., & Segarra Cipres, M. (2012). Combined effect of human capital, temporary employment and organizational size on firm performance. Personnel Review, 41(1), 4–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Roos, G., & Roos, J. (1997). Measuring your company’s intellectual performance. Long Range Planning, 30, 413–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Roos, J., Roos, G., Dragonetti, N., & Edvinsson, L. (1997). Intellectual capital: Navigating in the new business landscape. London: Macmillan Business.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sharabati, A., Jawad, S., & Bontis, N. (2010). Intellectual capital and business performance in the pharmaceutical sector of Jordan. Management Decision, 48(1), 105–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Stewart, T. A. (1997). Intellectual capital: The new wealth of organizations. New York: Currency Doubleday.Google Scholar
  76. Sveiby, K. E. (1997). The intangible assets monitor. Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting, 12(1), 73–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Sveiby, K. E. (2007). Disabling the context for knowledge work: The role of manager’s behaviors. Management Decision, 45, 1636–1655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tenenhaus, M., Vinzi, V., Chatelin, Y., & Lauro, C. (2005). PLS path modeling. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, 48(1), 159–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Tovstiga, G., & Tulugurova, E. (2007). Intellectual capital practices and performance in Russian enterprises. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 8(4), 695–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Tsoukas, H., & Vladimirou, E. (2001). What is organizational knowledge? Journal of Management Studies, 38, 973–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Vargas, N., & Lloria, M. B. (2014). Dinamizing intellectual capital through enablers and learning flows. Industrial Management and Data Systems, 114(1), 2–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Venkatraman, N., & Ramanujan, V. (1986). Measurement of business performance in strategy Research: A comparison of approaches. The Academy of Management Review, 11, 801–814.Google Scholar
  83. Vera, D., & Crossan, M. (2004). Strategic leadership and organizational learning. Academy of Management Review, 29(2), 222–240.Google Scholar
  84. Von Krogh, G. (1998). Care in knowledge creation. California Management Review, 40(3), 133–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Von Krogh, G., Ichijo, K., & Nonaka, I. (2000). Enabling knowledge creation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wold, H. (1980). Model construction and evaluation when theoretical knowledge is scarce. In J. Kmenta & J. B. Ramsey (Eds.), Evaluation of econometric models (pp. 47–74). London: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wold, H. (1985). Factors influencing the outcome of economic sanctions, In Sixto Rios Honorary. Trabajos de Estadistica y de Investigación Operativa, 36(3), 325–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Vargas
    • 1
  • M. Begoña Lloria
    • 2
  • Salvador Roig-Dobón
    • 3
  1. 1.Proyectos Especiales y ConsultoríaUniversidad de SantanderBucaramangaColombia
  2. 2.Facultad de Economía, Avenida los Naranjos S/N, Departamento de Dirección de Empresas Juan José Renau PiquerasUniversitat de ValènciaValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Facultad de Economía, Avenida los naranjos S/N, Iudescoop-Universitat de ValènciaUniversitat de ValènciaValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations