Title: An evaluation of knowledge intensive business services industry efficiency: the Italian case

Authors: Domenico Campisi; Paolo Mancuso; Stefano Luigi Mastrodonato; Donato Morea

Addresses: Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via del Politecnico, 1, 00133 Rome, Italy ' Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via del Politecnico, 1, 00133 Rome, Italy ' Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via del Politecnico, 1, 00133 Rome, Italy ' Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cagliari, Via Marengo, 2, 09123 Cagliari, Italy

Abstract: Knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) are private enterprises or organisations mainly concerned with providing knowledge-intensive inputs to the business processes of other organisations, represent a core feature of the knowledge-based economy functioning and play an important role in local and regional economies as a source of added value. The paper investigates the application of data envelopment analysis (DEA) in conjunction with financial ratios analysis (FRA) to estimate and compare the performance of the KIBS industry in Italy over the period 2012-2017. In particular, we evaluated the three main segments that identify KIBS services. The empirical investigation proposed reveals that the results of FRA approach do not provide sufficient and complete information on the efficiency of KIBS firms, while major advantages behind using of DEA are related to its structural characteristic in measuring performance and identifying opportunities for possible efficiency improvements by looking at the differences between efficient companies and inefficient ones.

Keywords: knowledge intensive business services; KIBS; data envelopment analysis; DEA; Malmquist productivity index; financial ratios analysis; FRA; return on equity; ROE; leverage ratio; performance measurement; business processes; efficiency; technological change.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBPM.2021.116403

International Journal of Business Performance Management, 2021 Vol.22 No.2/3, pp.327 - 337

Received: 05 Jul 2019
Accepted: 03 Aug 2020

Published online: 16 Jul 2021 *

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