Originally published April 20, 2023

Stan Garfield
13 min readApr 20, 2023


Nick Bontis: Profiles in Knowledge

This is the 90th article in the Profiles in Knowledge series featuring thought leaders in knowledge management. Nick Bontis is Chair of Strategic Management at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He is also the Director of the Institute for Intellectual Capital Research, a management consulting firm and research think-tank that specializes in conducting human capital diagnostic assessments for corporate and government clients.

His research focuses on business performance, intellectual capital, knowledge management, organizational learning, collaboration, human capital measurement, and digital transformation. Nick has expertise in leadership & productivity, management of change, information overload, knowledge sharing, innovation & creativity, team collaboration, and talent retention.

Nick is a former semi-professional soccer player and national silver medalist in the running long jump. In 2010, Nick was recognized as an Olympic Torch Bearer for the Winter Games as a testament to his dedication to volunteerism and coaching. In 2012, he was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Soccer Association. He recently resigned as president of Canada Soccer. In 2015, he was recognized for his significant contribution to sport by being selected as a PanAm torch bearer and appointed Co-Chair of Football.

I heard Nick speak at the APQC Knowledge Management Conference in St. Louis in 2005. I was impressed by his intellectual capital ROI causal map.



  • Ph.D., Strategic Management, Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, 1999
  • B.A., (HBA), Honors Business Administration, Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario


  • DeGroote School of Business — McMaster University: Chair, Strategic Management, 2013 — Present
  • McMaster University: Associate Professor of Strategy, 1998 — Present: Teaching courses in strategy and knowledge management
  • Institute for Intellectual Capital Research: Director, 1994 — Present
  • CIBC: Project Analyst, 1992–1994



Google Scholar


  1. Bontis, N., Ciambotti, M., Palazza, F. and Sgro, F. (2018). “Intellectual capital and financial performance in social cooperative enterprises”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 19, №4, final acceptance September 26 2017.
  2. Dzenopoljac, V., Alasadi, R., Zaim, H. and Bontis, N. “Impact of knowledge management processes on business performance: Evidence from Kuwait”, Knowledge and Process Management, final acceptance, December 19, 2017.
  3. Aureli, S., Giampaoli, D., Ciambotti, M. and Bontis, N. “Key factors that improve knowledge-intensive business processes which lead to competitive advantage”, Business Process Management Journal, final acceptance, November 9, 2017.
  4. Serenko, A. and Bontis, N. (2017). “Global ranking of knowledge management and intellectual capital academic journals: 2017 update”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21, №3, pp. 675–692.
  5. Giampaoli, D., Ciambotti, M., and Bontis, N. (2017). “Knowledge management, problem solving and performance in top Italian firms, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21, №2, pp. 355–375.
  6. Ramadan, B.M., Dahiyat, S.E., Bontis, N. and Al-dalahmeh, M.A. (2017). “Intellectual capital, knowledge management and social capital within the ICT sector in Jordan”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 18, №2, pp. 437–462.
  7. Serenko, A., and Bontis, N. (2016). “Understanding counterproductive knowledge behavior: Antecedents and consequences of intra-organizational knowledge hiding”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 20, №6, pp. 1199–1224.
  8. Serenko, A. and Bontis, N. (2016). “Negotiate, reciprocate, or cooperate? The impact of exchange modes on inter-employee knowledge sharing”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 20, №4, pp. 687–712.
  9. Ngah, R., Tai, T. and Bontis, N. (2016). “Knowledge management capabilities, learning organization and organizational performance in Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai: The mediating role of Learning Organization”, Knowledge and Process Management, Vol. 23, №3, pp. 184–193.
  10. Serenko, A., Bontis, N., and Hull, E. (2016). “An application of the knowledge management maturity model: The case of credit unions”, Knowledge Management Research and Practice”, Vol. 14, №3, pp. 338–352.
  11. Moshonsky, M., Serenko, A., and Bontis, N. (2014). “Examining the transfer of academic knowledge to business practitioners: Doctoral program graduates as intermediaries”, International Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 10, №3, pp. 70–95.
  12. Crane, L., and Bontis, N. (2014). “Trouble with tacit: developing a new perspective and approach”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 18, №6, pp. 1127–1140.
  13. Curado, C., Guedes, M. and Bontis, N. (2014). “The financial crisis of banks (before, during and after): An intellectual capital perspective”, Knowledge and Process Management, Vol. 21, №2, pp. 103–111.
  14. Chew, A-L., Sharma, R. and Bontis, N. (2014). “Intellectual wealth of nations revisited: Operationalising the value cycle of innovation”, Knowledge and Process Management, Vol. 21, №1, pp. 1–12.
  15. Serenko, A. and Bontis, N. (2013). “Investigating the current state and impact of the intellectual capital academic discipline”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 14, 4, 476–500.
  16. Serenko, A., and Bontis, N. (2013). “Global ranking of knowledge management and intellectual capital academic journals: 2013 update”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 17, 2, 307–326.
  17. Serenko, A. and Bontis, N. (2013). “The intellectual core and impact of the knowledge management academic discipline”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 17, 1, 137–155.
  18. Booker, L., Bontis, N. and Serenko, A. (2012). “Evidence-based management and academic research relevance”, Knowledge and Process Management, 19, 3, 121–130.
  19. Serenko, A., Bontis, N. and M. Moshonsky. (2012). “Books as a knowledge translation mechanism: Citations analysis and author survey”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 16, 3, 495–511.
  20. Serenko, A., Cox, R., Bontis, N. and L. Booker. (2011). “The superstar phenomenon in the knowledge management and intellectual capital academic discipline”, Journal of Informetrics, 5, 3, 333–345.
  21. Bontis, N., Richards, D. and A. Serenko. (2011). “Improving service delivery: Investigating the role of information sharing, job characteristics, and employee satisfaction”, The Learning Organization, 18, 3, 239–250.
  22. Curado, C. and N. Bontis. (2011). “Parallels in knowledge cycles”, Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 4, 1438–1444.
  23. Serenko, A., Bontis, N. and E. Hull. (2011). “Practical relevance of knowledge management and intellectual capital scholarly research: Books as knowledge translation agents”, Knowledge Process Management, 18, 1, 1–9.
  24. Trevinyo-Rodriguez, R.N. and N. Bontis. (2010). “Family ties and emotions: A missing piece in the knowledge transfer puzzle?”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 17, 3, 418–436.
  25. Serenko, A., Bontis, N., Booker, L., Sadeddin, K., and Hardie, T. (2010) “A scientometric analysis of knowledge management and intellectual capital academic literature (1994–2008)”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 14, 1, 3–23.
  26. Rezazadeh Mehrizi, M.H. and N. Bontis. (2009). “A cluster analysis of the KM field”, Management Decision, 47, 5, 792–805.
  27. Bontis, N. and A. Serenko. (2009). “A follow-up ranking of academic journals”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 13, 1, 16–26.
  28. Schotter, A. and N. Bontis. (2009). “Intra-organizational knowledge exchange: An examination of reverse capability transfer in multinational corporations”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 10, 1, 149–164.
  29. Bontis, N. and A. Serenko. (2009). “Longitudinal knowledge strategising in a long-term healthcare organisation”, International Journal of Technology Management, 47, 1/2/3, 276–297.
  30. Serenko, A. and N. Bontis. (2009). “Global ranking of knowledge management and intellectual capital academic journals”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 13, 1, 4–15.
  31. Booker, L., Bontis, N. and A. Serenko. (2008). “The relevance of knowledge management and intellectual capital research”, Knowledge and Process Management, 15, 4, 235–246.
  32. Bontis, N., Hardie, T. and A. Serenko. (2008). “Self-efficacy and KM course weighting selection: Can students optimize their grades?”, International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies, 1, 3, 189–199.
  33. Serenko, A., Bontis, N. and T. Hardie. (2007). “Organizational size and knowledge flow: A proposed theoretical link”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 8, 4, 610–627.
  34. Kristandl, G. and N. Bontis. (2007). “Defining intangible assets and intellectual capital”, Management Decision, 45, 9, 1510–1524.
  35. Curado, C. and N. Bontis. (2007). “Managing intellectual capital: The MIC Matrix”, International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 3, 2/3, 316–328.
  36. Andreou, A. and N. Bontis. (2007). “A model for resource allocation using operational knowledge assets”, The Learning Organization: An International Journal, 14, 4, 345–374.
  37. Bontis, N. and A. Serenko. (2007). “The moderating role of human capital management practices on employee capabilities”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 11, 3, 31–51.
  38. Bontis, N., Serenko, A. and E. Biktimirov. (2006). “MBA Knowledge Management Course: Is there an impact after graduation?”, International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, 2, 3/4, 216–237.
  39. Curado, C. and N. Bontis. (2006). “The knowledge based-view of the firm and its theoretical precursor”, International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 3, 4, 367–381.
  40. Serenko, A. and Bontis, Nick. (2004). “Meta-review of knowledge management and intellectual capital literature: Citation impact and research productivity rankings”, Knowledge and Process Management, 11, 3, 185–198.
  41. Chauhan, N. and Nick Bontis. (2004). “Organizational Learning Via Groupware: A path to discovery or disaster?”, International Journal of Technology Management, 27, 6/7, 591–610.
  42. Bontis, Nick, Fearon, M. and M. Hishon. (2003). “The eFlow Audit: An evaluation of e-mail flow within and outside a high-tech firm”, Journal of Knowledge Management, 7, 1, 6–19.
  43. Bontis, Nick and Jac Fitz-enz. (2002). “Intellectual Capital ROI: A causal map of human capital antecedents and consequents”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 3, 3, 223–247.
  44. McKnight, Brent and Nick Bontis. (2002). “E-Improvisation: Collaborative Groupware Technology Expands the Reach and Effectiveness of Organizational Improvisation”, Journal of Knowledge and Process Management, 9, 4, 219–227.
  45. Stovel, Meaghan and Nick Bontis. (2002). “Voluntary Turnover: Knowledge management friend or foe?”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 3, 3, 303–322.
  46. Bontis, Nick. (2002). “The rising star of the Chief Knowledge Officer”, Ivey Business Journal, March/April, 20–25.
  47. Bontis, Nick. (2001). “Assessing Knowledge Assets: A review of the models used to measure intellectual capital”, International Journal of Management Reviews, 3, 1, 41–60.
  48. Bontis, Nick and D. Nikitopoulos. (2001). “Thought leadership on intellectual capital”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 2, 3, 183–191.
  49. Bontis, Nick. (2001). “CKO Wanted — Evangelical Skills Necessary: A review of the Chief Knowledge Officer position”, Knowledge and Process Management, 8, 1, 29–38.
  50. Bontis, Nick and John Girardi. (2000). “Teaching Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital Lessons: An empirical examination of the TANGO simulation”, International Journal of Technology Management, 20, 5/6/7/8, 545–555.
  51. Bontis, Nick, Dragonetti, N., Jacobsen, K. and G. Roos. (1999) The Knowledge Toolbox: A review of the tools available to measure and manage intangible resources, European Management Journal, 17, 4, 391–402.
  52. Bontis, Nick. (1999). “Managing Organizational Knowledge by Diagnosing Intellectual Capital: Framing and advancing the state of the field”, International Journal of Technology Management,18, 5/6/7/8, 433–462.
  53. Bontis, Nick. (1998). “Intellectual Capital: An exploratory study that develops measures and models”, Management Decision, 36, 2, 63–76.

Articles by Others

  • Jack Vinson: Based on research by Nick Bontis (the graph was interesting), there is no connection between education (formal or on-the-job) and “knowledge generation,” and this is consistent across a number of industries.
  • Dave Webb: According to intellectual capital expert Nick Bontis of McMaster University, there are two major barriers in North America to a successful knowledge management environment. One is the input bottleneck — though we can speak at 150 words a minute, most of us can’t tickle a keyboard faster than 50 words per minute. This causes us to be selective about what we share, though frequent readers of this space might disagree. The second is cultural — unlike, say, Japanese companies, North American firms tend to disseminate business information from the top down. Japanese workers are more accustomed to a collaborative environment — horizontal sharing of information. North American workers lean more toward the knowledge-is-power ethic — hoarded knowledge is leverage.
  • Jay Liebowitz: Strong managerial leadership is positively correlated to the retention of key people, based on Nick Bontis and Alexander Serenko’s work in Canada.
  • Stephen Abram: One of the challenges for any conference is keeping attendees engaged through the last afternoon. Nick Bontis, the wrap-up keynote on Day 3 of KMWorld 2000, was a compelling reason.
  • KMWorld Magazine: “IntraKnexa was developed from the ground up with the help of the best KM practitioners and researchers from around the world,” says Knexa CKO Nick Bontis. “We have integrated IT and HR into the KM solution. I am not aware of any other KM tool that actually provides incentives for users to share knowledge.”

As Quoted by Me

  • Tom Stewart in his book The Wealth of Knowledge demonstrates how the building and leveraging of organizational knowledge assets can be at the heart of value generation. In chapter 14 (pages 311–313), he refers to the excellent work of Nick Bontis on human capital formation.

Favorite knowledge management and intellectual capital books

  1. World Congress on Intellectual Capital Readings “My collection of best research from the World Congress”
  2. The Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital and Organizational Knowledge by Chun Wei Choo “A fantastic textbook for KM and IC researchers and practitioners”
  3. The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi “A must read for KM enthusiasts describing the robust SECI model”
  4. Enabling Knowledge Creation: How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation by Georg Von Krogh “Georg is a leading researcher in the field”
  5. Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations by Thomas A. Stewart “A best-selling FORTUNE magazine editor who is a master storyteller”
  6. Intellectual Capital: Navigating in the New Business Landscape by Johan Roos, Goran Roos, Nicola Carlo Dragonetti, and Leif Edvinsson “A great read from my friends at ICS in London”
  7. The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton “Bob is a bright guy and his book is good reading”
  8. Working Knowledge by Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak “Davenport at Accenture and Prusak at IBM are leading practitioners”
  9. Value Driven Intellectual Capital: How to Convert Intangible Corporate Assets Into Market Value by Patrick H. Sullivan “Patrick is an expert at IC value extraction”
  10. Knowledge Management and Virtual Organizations by Yogesh Malhotra “Good collection of readings”
  11. Knowledge Management: Classic and Contemporary Works edited by Daryl Morey, Mark Maybury, and Bhavani Thuraisingham “Good collection of readings”
  12. The New Organizational Wealth: Managing and Measuring Knowledge-Based Assets by Karl Erik Sveiby “Karl Erik presents his balance sheet model”
  13. Intellectual Capital: Realizing Your Company’s True Value by Finding Its Hidden Brainpower by Leif Edvinsson “Leif shares some of his IC metrics from Skandia”

Intellectual capital ROI: a causal map of human capital antecedents and consequents

Community, Conferences, and Presentations


  • 2000 Closing Keynote: All Aboard! Take a Knowledge Journey
  • 2001
  1. Session E202: KM Practices in Government: A Canadian Perspective
  2. Session E302: Human Capital ROI: KM & HR Driving Business Results — Slides
  • 2002 Session D302: IC What You See: The Intellectual Capital of Nations
  • 2004 Session A201: Intangible Assets and Enterprise Risk Mitigation — with Cindy Gordon — Slides

List from ChatGPT

  • “The Concept of ‘Ba’: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation” (2005) — a presentation delivered at the 6th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics.
  • “The Future of Knowledge Management” (2006) — a presentation delivered at the Asia Pacific KM Conference.
  • “Measuring and Managing Intellectual Capital: Best Practices, Models and Benchmarks” (2007) — a presentation delivered at the 2nd International Conference on Intellectual Capital and Knowledge Management.
  • “Knowledge Management Lessons Learned: The Care and Feeding of Knowledge Workers” (2011) — a presentation delivered at the World HRD Congress.
  • “Intellectual Capital: The State of the Field” (2018) — an article co-authored with Ante Pulic and Marta Orviska, published in the Journal of Intellectual Capital.

List from Bard

  • Bontis, N. (2000). Intellectual capital: A key driver of sustainable competitive advantage. Presentation at the World Business Congress, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Bontis, N. (2001). Measuring intellectual capital: A review of the literature and a proposed framework for measuring knowledge stocks and flows. Presentation at the European Academy of Management Conference, Athens, Greece.
  • Bontis, N. (2002). National intellectual capital index: Measuring knowledge assets of nations. Presentation at the World Knowledge Forum, Seoul, South Korea.
  • Bontis, N. (2003). Intellectual capital and organizational performance: A review of the empirical literature. Presentation at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.
  • Bontis, N. (2004). Creating a knowledge-based economy: The role of intellectual capital. Presentation at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland.

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Stan Garfield

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/