The quest has been referred to as research for identification of ‘intangible assets’ or ‘intellectual capitals’. Identification o intellectual capitals, not only explicates the elements and mechanisms of value production in a firm to a great extent, but it also facilitates the bed for further improvement and enrichment of such assets, as well as providing the means for indicating the real value of the firm in the market and facilitating for more promotion in her favor. Ports are among valuable, strategic, national assets of each country and have a critical role in developments of nations. In tandem with evolution of new generations of ports and within the context of global knowledge economy, the share and functions of intellectual capital is steadily increasing in production of value in the port sector. In spite of the essential role of Intellectual Capitals in ports, Intellectual Capital Management has not been addressed independently and holistically in ports industry. This article focuses on indicating the role of intellectual capitals in the port sector, and proposing a hybrid model for categorization of ICs in the port context, and management of Intellectual Capital in ports. Intellectual Capital is to a great extent capable of clarifying the ongoing changes in the global port sector. It can be used to establish a new paradigm in port development that enables the port managers to analyze and/or forecast the trends in port industry, and improve the assessments for their essential resources, competencies, needs, and potentials in business development.
In the beginning of the third millennium, ports are considered as strategic assets which can essentially contribute to social and economic development of nations. The modern concept of a port is a juxtaposition of such fundamental roles as national revenue-makers, regional trade-enablers, and linkages to global economy. These roles are usually configured by a set of such vital functions as logistics, multimodal transport, facilitation for industrial clustering, raise in local employment level, etc. In this context, one essential question may be asked: ‘Why have ports become so important in global economy, and international trade?’ The answer is simple: Ports act as the focal point of several added-value generating functions. First, the port activities have direct influence on delivery of goods in market, and their finished cost for supply in the end-market. In the more modern concepts of the port, port activities may also change the function of goods in a desirable way (e.g. via some specific logistical processing).The enhancements in delivery, costs , and functions of goods will produce added value in the shipments of commodities and products handled in a port. Second, the port activities involve production of port services, transport services, and logistic services. In this sense, port can be seen as an industry that generates national revenue, enhances employment, contributes to industrial clustering, attracts investments, and facilitates trade. Furthermore, good performance of ports can accelerate the flow of shipments in their supply chain, and provide a fast-turning variety of goods in the market and a multitude of choices for customers. This will in turn lead to enhancement of production, raise of competition, and variety of goods at lower costs for customers. In this sense, the ports can be seen as tools for improvement of standards of life, and engines of socio-economic development in 129Payam Darya Volume.7 / Autumn 2017 national (or regional) level. Along the past fifty years, port development has been subject to great transformations. In the port management literature, this transformational trend is usually acknowledged as the evolution of the first, second and third generation of ports (ref. table 1). In most of the references, this evolution trend is considered to be a result of such phenomena as globalization (that stemmed from the worldwide political, social , and technical evolutions of national and regional economic systems), and international trade, as well as such technological trends as containerization, ship building developments, Information and Communications Technologies developments, etc. Although these have an explicit role in evolution of ports, but they cannot fully explain the reasons of upheaving changes in the port industry. Understanding these rearrangements is critical, as they are determining in gaining a proper attitude in business, and following the correct direction in the path of port development. However, in order to gain a good perception of them, it is imperative to comprehend the underlying causes in the port industry and her environment.
As we will discuss in this article, development and dominance of intellectual capitals in ports are the most important factors that has laid the foundations for ongoing evolutions in the port sector. Later we will discuss that intellectual capital management is the key to success of ports in the intense competitive market.
Knowledge Economy and Intellectual Capitals
After 1980s, the world economy entered into a new era, in which man-made brainpower industries came to dominate the world economy. By development of new breeds of sciences and technologies, and in consequence to thorough, world-wide shifts towards liberalization of trade, establishment of international capital markets, global availability of cheap labor, revolutions in transportation and logistics, and many other causes, the competitive advantage which once laid in availability of capital, labor and natural resources, was moved into knowledge assets, resources, and capitals.
This critical shift revolutionized the nature of production and consumption in a short while. It almost affected everything in the economy: Knowledge sharing and transfer among industries which were facilitated through extensive use of such methods as benchmarking, best practices and reengineering, resulted in breakthrough leaps in the development of developing economies. The market structures were transformed due to changes in the nature of supplies, products , needs , demands, and resources; the changes in the definition of industry competencies, rules of competitions, disposition of competitors, and tendencies of consumers. Customer demands forged the general paradigm of production from ‘mass production’ into ‘quality production’, and later transformed it into ‘mass customization’. Mobility of production resources was utterly increased and volatility of consumers’ communities raised substantially; channels of distribution and their arrangements experienced substantial changes; several old industrial giants were annihilated and substituted either by mergers or new-comers. Development of E-Commerce resulted in standardization, expedition of processing and communication, and raise of precision in business transactions; changes in marketing and sales approaches gave rise to proliferation of customers and substantial growth of sales in a world-wide level ; an apparent shift was seen from manufacturing industries to service industries; the nature of products were changed by raise of services and intelligence, rather than use of physical material in their designed composition; Paradigms of management and organizations were altered to meet the newly emerging requirements and generating the novel competencies; and myriads of other changes that has been elaborately discussed in the literature[2,3,4].
These tremendous changes which in the beginning were seen as a complete chaos in economic systems, revealed the dawn of a new age in economic history which is regularly referred to as the ‘Knowledge Economy Era’ . In this era, knowledge has become the main and most important element in business: not only it affects every stage of the supply chain of products (design, production, marketing, sales, transport, distribution, retail, consumption and recycling), but also it may functions as raw material, or a major component of many products. In fact knowledge has become an indispensible part of the resources, capitals, assets, products and modus operandi of economic firms. Since 1950s, many models and approaches have quested to conceptualize and interpret the role of knowledge in business, among which we can point to Research and Development Management (R&D), Human Resources Management (HRM), Total Quality Management (TQM), Just In Time (JIT), Knowledge Management (KM), and Balanced Scorecard (BSC) for Strategic management. However, it seems that recent models which concern the Intellectual Capital Management and Reporting, encompass the most general attitudes towards developing, management of the knowledge assets, resources and capitals in business. Intellectual Capital has been defined as ‘the sum of all resources, capabilities, relations, and network, whether intellectual like knowledge, or emotional and interpersonal like attitude, culture, and values, that enable an organization to create and maximize value’ . Intellectual Capitals are of critical importance, and acknowledged as the main sources of value production in every business. A good instance can be sought in the surveys done on Market Capitalization1 of publicly traded companies [4, 5, 6, and 7].
The surveys have shown that the market capitalization in publicly traded companies around the world, between 1920 and 1990, amounted only to 187 percent of the book value; However in early 1990s, market capitalization raised to over 500 percent of the book value . This significant raise in market capitalization is an apparent sign of intellectual capitals’ role in economic firm. On this basis, it is estimated that in the knowledge economy era, the organizational resources of corporations is consisted by 80 percent of intellectual capital, and only 20 percent of tangible assets. This is in sharp contrast to former corporate capital composition that was consisted of 80 percent of tangible assets, and a 20 percent account for intangible resources .Therefore understanding the concept of intellectual capitals and the context of value production and preservation by them is of essential significance to economic firms and their success. However unlike to tangible assets, the intellectual capitals are very difficult to measure (, and thus to manage): this is a result of their impalpable nature, idiosyncrasy in industry (or even corporate) level, conceptual novelty, inadequacy of regular accounting standards in their acknowledgement, and their requisite dynamic interaction and synergic add-up in value production . This has raised many diverse approaches in definition, measurement, management, and reporting of intellectual capitals. Among these approaches, we can point to Knowledge Assets Mapping, Scandia Navigator, Danish Government’s approach for intellectual capital statement, Sveiby’s Intangible Assets, International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) approach, Ericsson’s Cockpit Communicator, Celemi’s Intangible Assets Monitor, Ramboll’s Holistic Company Model, Bates Gruppen’s Company IQ Measurement System, and many others. Knowledge asset mapping is a very common approach in classification of intellectual capital; it classifies the intellectual capitals into three categories: Human capitals which include (but are not restricted to) knowledge, competency, and brainpower of human resources; Relational Capital that encompasses the relations of the corporation with her customers, suppliers, and distributors; and Structural Capital that includes the organizational systems, culture, practices, and processes. Based on this approach, International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has proposed a more elaborate classification, which is more helpful in practice: