Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 3907-3913
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
In a time when competitiveness is needed at all levels, many organisations have realised that differentiation can be achieved through the management of intangible resources. With the globalization, higher education institutions compete with each other, looking for a place in the ranking of the best.

This paper aims at verifying how the accreditation process influences the intellectual capital management and contributes to the organisational innovation. It attempts to understand how universities get the accreditation systems as holders and producers of intellectual capital and the impact of that on the institutions’ capacity to innovate. There is a variety of definitions of concept. Our understanding is that accreditation consists of a process of technical validation and of acknowledgement of the global capacity of the entity to be accredited, converting it into a member of recognised actions in which the best practices are predominant, and direct the accredited entities in a constant search for alignment through excellence.

Based on the international system of accreditation of higher education EQUIS – The European Quality Improvement System, an empirical research was carried out in two Portuguese higher education institutions.

Often the accreditation process is considered highly bureaucratised and complex compared with its outcomes. Nonetheless, the current research results demonstrated that there is a positive relationship between the implementation of the accreditation system and the capacity of the institution to innovate (Matos, 2008). Innovation and differentiation requires a constant search for opportunities towards individuals’ added value and increasing satisfaction. If innovation were to be seen as an indicator of the degree of development of intellectual capital; i.e. continuous improvement and creativity, it could be suggested that the management of individuals’ talents was inherent. Managing and mobilising intellectual capital is a driver of sustainable innovation.

In terms of the theoretical implications, the current research results highlight the need to value and empower intellectual capital based on the accreditation system. The implementation of EQUIS accreditation proved to be an important tool to mobilise intellectual capital and consequently to nurture and embed innovation. It would be advised to conduct other studies in other Education Institutions in order to validate the current research results. In terms of the managerial implications, the current research suggests that another Intellectual Management accreditation system should be applied to the entrepreneurial context as a tool to increase organisational innovation and therefore firms’ competitiveness.

intellectual capital management, equis, accreditation, innovation.