Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Helle Neergaard and Claire Leitch
Chapter 14: Using repertory grid to assess intangibles: uncertainty reduction for lean start-ups in entrepreneurship
As defined by Guild and Bachher (1996: 788), technology-based ventures are ‘those companies intending to commercialize a technology for the first time and thereby expecting to derive a significant source of sustainable competitive advantage from the technology’. What is considered an intangible aspect of such a venture is one that cannot be readily perceived or is not capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value. Examples of intangible aspects are knowledge, intellectual capital, skills, abilities, and beliefs and ideas (Bachher et al. 1999). Several authors have argued that traditional approaches to financial assessment based on concrete aspects are perceived as less reliable and relevant (Stewart 1997; Shepherd and Douglas 1999; Smart 1999; Sullivan 1999). Correspondingly, there is an increasing interest in the proper assessment and communication of intangible aspects. This occurs largely because of the evolution towards a knowledge-based economy in which intangible factors play an increasing role. Stewart (1997), for example, highlights the importance of intellectual capital. He argues that ‘knowledge has become the primary ingredient of what we make, do, buy, and sell’ (Stewart 1997: 9). As a result, he points out, ‘managing it – finding and growing intellectual capital, storing it, selling it, sharing it – has become the most important economic task of individuals, businesses, and nations’ (Stewart 1997: 9).
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