Measuring and reporting intellectual capital: Lessons learnt from some interventionist research projects
July 15, 2013 Editor 0
Purpose – Despite the plethora of frameworks proposed, there is little evidence of organizations measuring and reporting their IC. This paper aims to shed light on the factors that can hinder or promote the utilization of IC accounting for managerial purposes, thus contributing to understanding why IC frameworks are not so widespread in practice. Design/methodology/approach – To investigate the issue at hand, a multiple case study of three Italian companies, which have been measuring their IC for several years, will be used, adopting a critical perspective. The actual research project was conducted using an interventionist approach. Findings – The paper shows how IC model utilization and IC mobilization are influenced by several factors such as: the project’s connection to a specific strategic objective, the system’s interactive design, its complexity, the predominant use of non-financial indicators (which can be ambiguous and provocative), the backward- or forward-looking nature of the resultant measurement tools and the osmosis between company-wide and local control systems. Research limitations/implications – Being referred to a multiple case study, results cannot be generalized to other organizations. The adoption of an interventionist approach and the IC model applied may have influenced the results obtained. Practical implications – The findings can help companies to make the IC accounting implementation processes more effective and create the conditions that can help mobilize IC. Originality/value – The paper investigates IC in action, thus contributing to narrowing the gap between theory and practice, and offers new insights on some hindering or enabling factors which may influence the diffusion of IC accounting.
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