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1.1 Background to the Study

With the gradual shift of global business world into the knowledge economy, it is becoming increasingly important and obvious to business organisations that to survive in business in this complex and dynamic world, adequate attention must be paid to the intellectual capital base of the firm. Gone are the days when firms focus only on their physical capital with little or no attention to their intellectual capitals and still post huge profits.

Competition in business today has become so intense that managers utilize every resource at their disposal to edge others out of business. Intellectual capital has also become an important business resource that organisations can leverage on to gain competitive advantage. Bornemann et al. (1999) discover that enterprises, which have managed their intellectual capital better, had achieved stronger competitive advantage than the other enterprises. Iswati and Anshori (2007) opine that human being has become the central attention in the twentieth century hence intellectual capital research now is not only paramount but also timely. Furthermore, according to OECD (2001) human capital, which is an integral part of intellectual capital, has been recognized as one of the key determinants of growth  in any business enterprise.

According to Bornemann et al. (1999) companies which  strengthen their own intellectual capital management as compared to  others  performs better. Intellectual capital is one of the main factors related to the performance and long-term profitability of knowledge-based economy (Huu and Fang, 2008).

Following from the above, the banking sector in Nigeria has recognized this fact and has taken some drastic action with respect to enhancing its intellectual capital base. For example, banks in Nigeria nowadays engage mostly university graduates, who possess a minimum of second class honours degree (upper division) in their employment policies, thereby giving credence to the fact that intellectual capital significantly affects their performance. This action has really paid off as the Nigeria banking sector has witnessed huge transformation in the last few years. Customers of banks now receive quick and improved services from their banks. Also, the use of automated teller machines (ATMs) and internet banking facilities have decongested the banking halls of most banks in Nigeria thereby saving a lot of man hours. Furthermore, customers can also obtain bank services from the comfort of their homes. In addition to the above, the banking sector has for so many years dominated trading at the Nigeria stock exchange.

Also, before the year 2000, the three strongest and most popular banks in Nigeria were: the First bank of Nigeria (FBN), Union bank of Nigeria (UBN) and United Bank for Africa (UBA). The volume of their transactions as well as their assets and customer bases were not only very high but also very strong. With the emergence and introduction of modern technologies in banking, which depended heavily on their intellectual capital base, these trio were generally classified as old generation banks while the banks that immediately embraced the modern technologies, such as Zenith bank Plc, Eco bank Plc, Diamond bank Plc, etc., were classified as the new generation banks. Even then, the new generation banks could only make minor impact in the economy and at the Nigeria Stock Exchange as these older banks dominated trading and other activities at the exchange. Most people then preferred to bank and carry out their transactions with these old generation banks because of these attributes. Today, with the coming of these new technologies, the trend has been altered. While some of the old generation banks still record higher book values of their physical assets, most of the new generation banks post higher and better financial performance figures and better services than the old generation banks owing to the intellectually based innovations introduced by these new generation banks. Consequently, people now prefer to bank with the new generation banks and as a result, the customer bases of the older banks have dropped significantly. Furthermore, even at the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), the rate of stock turnover of these new generation banks as well as their market prices has consistently been higher than those of the old generation banks.

It is also recognised that intellectual capital (IC) is embraced in every facets of economic, sociological, political and managerial development ‘in a manner previously unknown and largely unforeseen’ (Petty and Guthrie, 2000). This has turn intellectual capital into a prominent business research topic (Bontis, 1999; Serenko and Bontis, 2004) which organizations must pay attention towards the attainment of their objectives. Intellectual Capital has been defined in various ways in the literature (Bontis, 1996; Brooking, 1996; Roos and Ross, 1997). One of the most concise definitions of intellectual capital is given by Stewart (1997) as “packaged useful knowledge.” He explains that this includes an organization’s processes, technologies, patents, employees’ skills, and information about customers, suppliers, and stakeholders. Various other definitions use concepts such as ability, skill, expertise, and other forms of knowledge that are useful in organizations.

The task of measuring the performance of intellectual capital in organization becomes a major step to investigating the reasons for low or high performance of workers. Hence the measurement of corporate performance needs to include the firm’s total resources (physical and intellectual).  Business performance is an important concept that relates to the way and manner in which financial resources available to an organization are judiciously used to achieve the overall corporate objective of an organization. It is therefore important that organization’s performance be measured on a regular basis in order to ensure sustainability.

Intellectual capital research has been conducted in a variety of international settings including the United Kingdom (Roos et al., 1997), Australia (Sveiby, 1997), Canada (Bontis, 1996; 1998; 1999), Austria (Bornemann, 1999), the U.S. (Stewart, 1997; Bassi and Van Buren, 1999), Malaysia (Bontis et al., 2000), Hong Kong ( Chu et al., 2011), South Africa (Firer and Stainbank, 2003), and Sub-Sahara Africa (Kwasi and Kwesi, 2011). However, there appears to be dearth of literature on Intellectual Capital research in Nigeria.

However, despite an increasing recognition of the importance of intellectual capital in the knowledge based economy, little research attention has been devoted to understanding the link between intellectual capital and organizational performance in Nigeria. Much of the studies on intellectual capital has focused on Western countries (particularly North America and Europe). To date, few scholars have focused on the effect of intellectual capital on organizational performance in the Nigerian banking sector. This is surprising given that many scholars (e.g. Ruta, 2009, Yang & Lin, 2009) argue that intellectual capital development is the hidden value that is not reflected in organizational financial statements but has the potential to contribute to organizational profitability and competitive advantage. The Nigerian banking sector offers a rich avenue for research on intellectual capital given that the majority of individuals that work in banks are knowledge workers.  It is on this note that this research sets to examine the effect of intellectual capital on the performance of Nigerian Banks.

1.2 Statement of the problem

In a knowledge-based and an increasingly more competitive economy, a company’s Intellectual Capital (IC) is a fundamental determinant of its success. Intellectual capital as a combination of knowledge-based assets and intangible assets of a company includes its patents, brand names, employee’s skills, trade secret, technologies and information about consumers and suppliers that has been utilised in order to create wealth by producing a higher value asset (Stewart, 1997). In the last two and half decades, the importance of intellectual capital has increased tremendously specifically in the developed countries. This is because the world at large has experienced a drastic change in the form of emerging wealthy businesses and nations (Arenas and Lavanderos, 2008). Both companies and governments shifted their focuses from tangible assets to intellectual capital (IC) as differentiators for the sustainable competitive advantage of businesses and nations (Sarmadi, 2013). The reason for paradigm shift is that intellectual capital assets contribute to shareholder value more that tangible assets (Salman, Tayib and Mansor, 2013). However, traditional financial statements of companies do not reflect true disclosure of intellectual capital. In few instances, traditional intangible assets (e. g. research and development, good will and other internally developed assets) are recognised in the annual accounts of companies, but these assets are defined narrowly (Gallego and Rodriguez, 2005). While on the other hand, modern intangible assets (intellectual capital) are not disclosed in companies’ annual financial statement thereby making the role of intellectual capital in business to  be insufficiently understood. Obviously,  stakeholders (investors, creditors and financial analysts) will not be satisfied with non-disclosure of intellectual capital as this will lead to investors’ difficulty of making rational  investment decisions (Okwy and Christopher, 2010). Again, one of the challenges of non-disclosure of intellectual capital in companies’ annual statements reduces the value of their shares in the capital market. Therefore, it is imperative for companies to measure and report (disclose) their intellectual capital activities in their financial statement in order to enhance their performance. The biggest challenge faced by companies in the knowledge-based era is how to measure its intellectual resources (Salman and Tayib, 2012) and view company intellectual capital  as the only sustainable source of competitive advantage in business (Salman et al. 2012a; Makki, Lodhi and Rohra, 2009). This shift from traditional measure of company’s performance to knowledge-based economy requires companies to maximize value creation from its intellectual capital to succeed, by making use of its strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) (Makki and Lodhi, 2009; Roos et al., 2005). This competitive edge is gained through enhancing value creation efficiency from intellectual capital components (human creativity, experiences, ability, skill, operational structure, customer and supplier relation channels (Salman, et al. 2013, Ahangar, 2011, Salman, et al. 2012b; Lev, 2001; Edvinsson and Malone, 1997). It is against this backdrop, that this research work is embarked upon to investigate the effect of intellectual capital  on the performance of Nigerian Banks.



1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of intellectual capital on the performance of Nigeria Bank. Its specific objectives includes to:

  1. To ascertain the effect of  staff development on net Book performance of Nigeria banks.
  2. To ascertain the extent staff technology capacity output affect earnings per share performance of banks.
  3. The effect of staff in house training on company on net assets performance of Nigerian banks.
  4. To ascertain the effect of staff experience on Per share free Cash flow of Nigerian banks.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions was posed to guide the conduct of the study as follows

  1. What effect does staff development   have on net Book performance of Nigeria banks?
  2. To what extent does staff technological capacity output affect earnings per share performance of banks?
  3. What effect do staff in house training have on net assets performance of Nigerian banks?
  4. To what extent do staff experiences have on Per share free Cash flow of Nigerian banks?
    • Research Hypotheses
  5. There is no significant effect of staff development    on net Book performance of Nigeria banks.
  6. There is no significant effect to the extent staff  technological capacity output affect earnings per share performance of banks.
  7. There is no significant effect of staff in house training on net assets performance of Nigerian banks
  8. There is no significant difference to the extent staff experience have on per share free Cash flow of Nigerian banks?

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study is of benefit to both private and government owned organization and to   fellow researchers. For both private and government owned organization, the study  is of significant benefit to them in that the study enables private and  government owned stakeholders to see the need of intellectual capital investment since  intellectual  capital investment has substantial positive effect on Book value, earning per share,  market price per share and return on investment of an organization. The finding of study  also  is of benefit to   Nigerian governments  and to  individuals  to effectively  invest on intellectual capital and to enable them see that intellectual capital a vital contributor to Nigeria economic development and growth. For fellow researchers, the study is of benefit to them as the study serves as a source of information and reference material.

  1. 7 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study covers the effect of intellectual capital on the performance of Nigeria bank. In terms of duration covered in the study, the study cover a period of 10year starting to 2010 to 2014 annual statement/report from quoted banks. while in respect to geographical location, the study scope covers Awka the capital of Anambra state. Only five Quoted banks listed in Nigeria stock market were covered by the study.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

This study work has encountered problems in the course of carrying it out. The topic being relatively new phenomena around the world and Nigeria in particular had made it difficult to obtain enough published materials like textbooks on the subjects. So the researcher has to rely on articles, periodical and WebPages, papers presented at seminars and conferences and unpublished research work. There is also dearth of enough researches conducted on the area especially as it relates to the empirical research work. Also, most of the research works were conducted in developed economy where all information on staff and cost are properly documented. There seems to be nonexistence of research in this area conducted in Nigeria. Another area of difficulty faced by the researcher is the availability of data needed for the analysis and test of hypothesis. Data which are obtainable from the Annual report and Accounts of the banks under study became difficult to access. In overcoming this challenges the researcher has to rely on other sources of audited financial information on the banks and some of the financial report obtained..

1.8 Definition of Term

For the purpose of clarity of some terms used in the study, the following terms used are defined as follows.

Market Value to Book Value ratio (MB): This ratio shows the relationship between the market value per share and book value per share for each bank.

Employee Productivity: Employee Productivity is a measure for the net revenue per employee, which reflects employees’ productive capability (Chen, Cheng and Hwang, 2005; Najibullah, 2005). It is calculated as follows: EP = Total Revenue for the period/ number of employees.

Capital Employed Efficiency (CEE) – This is an indicator of value added efficiency of capital employed which is defined as the book value of a firm’s net assets.

 Intellectual Capital Efficiency (ICE): This is an indicator of value added efficiency of company’s Intellectual Capital base.

 Human Capital Efficiency (HCE) –  it is an indicator of value added efficiency of human capital.

Structural Capital Efficiency (SCE) –  This is an indicator of value added efficiency of structural capital.


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