Intellectual Capital and Software Industry Performance in West Africa

Abstract. The software industries of India, Ireland and Israel (The 3I Nations), have received global recognition as industries that have witnessed tremendous export growth and have contributed significantly to the socio-economic development of these nations. Recognizing this potential and opportunities in software products and services, the software industries of many least developed countries (LDCs), including those in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have been striving to emulate the success of the 3I nations. However, despite the efforts of both government and industry players, the software industries in ECOWAS are yet to make inroads into the global software industry.  This study investigates the factors that have been instrumental to the success of the 3I nations, and, focusing on human capital as one of the critical success factors, tries to establish a relation between human capital and the performance of software firms. The study draws on concepts from multiple theoretical perspectives, ranging from the Intellectual Capital Theory, the Resource-Based View of the firm, and the Knowledge-Based View of the firm to develop a model for assessing the relationship between intellectual capital of software firms and their performance. The developed model would be experimentally validated through a field survey of 100-120 software companies in the ECOWAS region of Africa. It is envisaged that the findings would provide evidence of a substantial impact on the performance of software firms in ECOWAS and other regions of Africa. The study would also provide important implications to policy makers, software developers, other market players and researchers. The implications of the findings for research and practice would be discussed in subsequent publications.

Keywords: Human Capital, Software Industry Performance, Software Firm Capability, Software Quality


Abdulai, M.S., Kwon, Y. and Rho, J.J. (2010) Intellectual Capital and Software Industry Performance in West Africa, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on ICT for Africa, March 25-27, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Baton Rouge, LA: International Center for IT and Development.

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