Securing intellectual capital: an exploratory study in Australian universities

Ivano Bongiovanni, Karen Renaud, George Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – To investigate the links between IC and the protection of data, information and knowledge in universities, as organizations with unique knowledge-related foci and challenges.

Design/methodology/approach – We gathered insights from existing IC-related research publications to delineate key foundational aspects of IC, identify and propose links to traditional information security that impact the protection of IC. We conducted interviews with key stakeholders in Australian universities in order to validate these links.

Findings – Our investigation revealed two kinds of embeddedness characterizing the organizational fabric of universities: (1) vertical and (2) horizontal, with an emphasis on the connection between these and IC-related knowledge protection within these institutions.

Research implications – There is a need to acknowledge the different roles played by actors within the university, and the relevance of information security to IC-related preservation.

Practical implications – Framing information security as an IC-related issue can help IT security managers communicate the need for knowledge security with executives in higher education, and secure funding to preserve and secure such IC-related knowledge, once its value is recognized.

Originality/value – This is one of the first studies to explore the connections between data and information security and the three core components of IC’s knowledge security in the university context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-505
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Intellectual Capital
Issue number3
Early online date31 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2020


  • Intellectual capital
  • Data security
  • Knowledge security
  • Higher education
  • Universities
  • Information security
  • Cyber security


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