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Intellectual capital disclosure (ICD): A comparison of Italy and the UK

Saverio Bozzolan (University of Padova, Padova, Italy)
Philip O'Regan (University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland)
Federica Ricceri (University of Padova, Padova, Italy)

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting

ISSN: 1401-338X

Article publication date: 1 May 2006




To explore the hypothesis that differences in intellectual capital disclosure (ICD) practices can be explained, if in part, by industrial sector (traditional; knowledge intensive) and nationality of origin (Italy; UK).


Content analysis of the annual reports of two reasonably matched samples of both high‐technology and traditional non‐financial firms in Italy and the UK. Univariate and multivariate analyses are then used to test the hypothesis proposed.


Size and industrial sector are found to be predictors of levels of ICD; the hypothesis relating nationality of origin to ICD is not supported.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation relates to sample size due to the onerous nature of this form of research. Further research following this matched‐sample methodology should attempt to maximise sample sizes allowing for the incorporation of more specific nationally of origin factors.

Practical implications

Owing to the increasing importance of intangibles and intellectual capital, how these are reported is of interest to a large range of stakeholders. There is, as yet, no universally accepted form, or indeed regulation, of ICD.


The matched‐sample methodology on international ICD comparison expands on extant approaches.



Bozzolan, S., O'Regan, P. and Ricceri, F. (2006), "Intellectual capital disclosure (ICD): A comparison of Italy and the UK", Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 92-113.



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