The objective of this systematic literature review (SLR) is to provide insights on intellectual capital (IC) research models in terms of their preference for a single IC element or multiple IC elements, as well as how this varies between researchers from different continents. This aspect is critical, as recent literature has stressed that a firm needs an interplay of multiple IC elements to create IC-based value. This SLR is conducted by reviewing all the relevant research papers from the 20 top accounting and 20 top management journals published between 2000 and 2017. The results suggest that European researchers have contributed mostly to the multi-element perspective of IC, while American scholars have had the most notable impact on the single-element studies. These results are discussed by critiquing the current state of the IC literature and by offering transformative ideas for future research directions.