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Conflicting conceptualizations of human resource accounting

Adam Steen (Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia)
Denice Welch (Melbourne Business School, Melbourne, Australia)
Darcy McCormack (Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting

ISSN: 1401-338X

Article publication date: 1 November 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine the differing perceptions or conceptualizations that have contributed to prevailing views held by accountants on the measurement and reporting of human resources.


The study provides an analysis of extant literature and presents a theoretical framework on the relationship between HR, intellectual capital and goodwill.


The lack of traction in the progress of accounting for people is due to several factors including tension between employees and management, the demands of internal and external stakeholders, and the historic roots of accounting for labour.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides suggestions as to how the debate regarding the valuing and reporting of human resources may be rekindled.


This study highlights the historical context for the lack of traction in the area of accounting for people, and the relatively recent development of the Intellectual Capital Statement as a partial but positive development in the area.



Steen, A., Welch, D. and McCormack, D. (2011), "Conflicting conceptualizations of human resource accounting", Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 299-312.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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