Catherine Gannon, Patrick Lynch, Denis Harrington

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Two central questions explored in the tourism literature on organisations and competitiveness are “Why do some tourism firms compete more successfully than others?” and “What can firms do to enhance and sustain their competitive advantage?” Within the extant strategy literature, explanations of performance difference between firms have shifted from industry level external factors to a firm’s internal components. Indeed, the source of sustained competitive advantage is increasingly being associated with the utilisation of the firm’s valuable internal intellectual resource pool (Wernerfelt, 1984; Peteraf 1993; Runyan et al., 2007). Drawing on the resource based (Barney, 1991) and dynamic capabilities views of the firm (Teece et al., 1997), the proposed paper aims to develop a framework for explaining how companies utilise and process the human, relational, and structural capital elements within Intellectual Capital (IC) to generate sustained competitiveness. It is this paper’s contention that as valuable as the knowledge is within these three capital resources, using them in combination alone will not achieve competitive advantage; rather they must go through a transformative process, which relies on the knowledge management capabilities of the firm to achieve a sustained competitive advantage through IC (Grant, 1996). The author perceives that a firm’s knowledge management capabilities are critical to a firm’s resource deployment and reconfiguration capacities, by acquiring, disseminating and utilising the IC knowledge throughout the organisation and is the link that bridges intellectual capital with sustained competitive advantage (Bontis, 1996). More specifically, the authors see the organisation as a knowledge processing entity that utilizes its IC to generate sustained competitiveness. However, while a significant amount of empirical work has focused on researching either KM or IC, scant attention has been directed at confirming the basic relationship between the two as a means of generating competitiveness. What has been done relates more to examining the relationship between single dimensions of IC (e.g. social capital) and KM as a means for explaining competitiveness. Therefore the proposed paper will make a unique contribution to a very significant gap in the capabilities and business strategy literature, by conceptualising a holistic model that elucidates the connections between the organizations intellectual resource and its knowledge management capability to generate firm competitiveness. Due to the scarcity of research and interest in this area, it is perceived that our ongoing study will contribute substantially to academic knowledge and practice and should highlight key areas warranting investigation going forward.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventThe Toursim and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference (THRIC) - DIT, DIT
Duration: 01 Jan 2009 → …


ConferenceThe Toursim and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference (THRIC)
Period01/01/2009 → …


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