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This study examines the influence of intellectual capital on performance in customer service firms pursuing different strategic orientations (e.g., low-cost leader, differentiation). Grounding these arguments in the resource-based view and using 538 hotels in the lodging industry, this article employs an economic-based production model to empirically explore the performance effects of investing in three different types of intellectual capital: systems capital (operational knowledge), customer capital (brand and marketing knowledge), and human capital (knowledge from both service and professional employees). In addition, the authors account for key controls, including the physical asset, cost of living, customer demand, market segment, and company affiliation. Results reveal that for firms pursuing a differentiation strategy only, investments in both service employees and professional employees enhance performance. However, investments in systems capital and customer capital enhance performance for all the firms studied. The authors discuss the implications of this study for research in the services arena.


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© SAGE. Final version published as: Walsh, K., Enz, C. A., & Canina, L. (2008). The impact of strategic orientation on intellectual capital investments in customer service firms. Journal of Service Research, 10(4), 300-317. doi: 10.1177/1094670508314285

Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

This article was a Best Article Award Finalist of 2008 for the Journal of Service Research.