Workforce health as intellectual capital

Howard Kahn (Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
Joanna E. Stevenson (Audit Scotland, Edinburgh, UK)
Robin Roslender (Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting

ISSN: 1401-338X

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The purpose of this paper is to report and discuss the principal findings of a recent study of thinking and practice about workforce health and wellbeing among UK accounting and finance and human resource management professionals.


The data informing the paper were collected using postal questionnaires to two samples of 1,000 UK accounting and finance and human resource directors. The research design incorporated the facility for a full second mailing to respondents.


The responses received from the sample of human resource directors were generally more supportive of viewing workforce health and wellbeing as a valuable organisational asset. Accounting and finance professionals employed in private sector organisations were the least enthusiastic about such issues.

Research limitations/implications

While the design of the questionnaire afforded the opportunity for commentary on answers by respondents, semi‐structured interviews will allow a more detailed exploration of the issues.

Practical implications

The UK accountancy profession has yet to fully appreciate the significance of the intellectual capital phenomenon. In seeking to engage health and wellbeing issues, it may be desirable to consider collaboration with the human resource management profession.


Health and wellbeing have seldom been recognised as key constituents of human capital. Consequently, this is the first such study to be carried out.



Kahn, H., Stevenson, J. and Roslender, R. (2010), "Workforce health as intellectual capital", Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 227-250.

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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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