Intellectual Capital Reporting; Approaches to Data Collection and Content Method
Department of Economics and Management - University of Padova
Macquarie University - Department of Accounting and Finance; University Of Bologna - Department of Management
October 1, 2003
Presented at Performance Measurement Association (PMA) Intellectual Capital Symposium, Cranfield, UK, October 1-2, 2003
Increasingly, researchers in the field of Intellectual capital (IC) need to be able to justify the specific research methods they use in the collection of the empirical data that they examine to support opinions regarding the merit of different approaches to managing and reporting Intellectual Capital. Of the various methods available to researchers seeking to understand Intellectual Capital Reporting (ICR), content analysis has proven a popular choice.
The aim of this paper is to review the use of content analysis in understanding ICR and to offer some observations on the practical utility of the method. We further examine several research method issues relating to the use of content analysis that have been discussed in the Social Environmental Accounting (SAE) literature, but not as yet in the Intellectual Capital literature, which we believe are relevant to investigations underway in the field of Intellectual Capital Reporting.
This paper reports on several developmental issues that we have confronted when using content analysis to examine the voluntary disclosure of Intellectual Capital items by various organisations in their annual reports. The paper also suggests two theoretical foundations for further investigation into the voluntary disclosure of Intellectual Capital by organisations and suggests why content analysis is well matched to both theories as a tool with which to collect the data to test likely research propositions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Intellectual Capital, Annual Reports, Content Analysis, Disclosure Instrument, Research Method, Stakeholder Theory, Legitimacy Theory
JEL Classification: J24, J41
Date posted: March 19, 2009