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Intellectual capital accounting in action: enhancing learning through interventionist research

Maria Serena Chiucchi (Department of Management, Polytechnic University of the Marche, Ancona, Italy)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 11 January 2013




The aim of this paper is to contribute to understanding how measuring intellectual capital (IC) can favor IC mobilization, examining the role of actors who design and implement the system in influencing managers’ IC learning processes and their take up of IC management practices.


A constructive case study, in which the researcher was directly involved in measuring IC, is presented. Kolb's experiential learning theory model examines if and how the actors mobilized IC and how the researcher and controller influenced their learning process.


The paper shows that actors must complete an experiential learning cycle to mobilize IC. The controller's role is pivotal in promoting IC mobilization, provided he/she experiences a deep learning process and he/she moves from “IC counting” to “IC accounting.” The paper also highlights how research intervention contributes to IC mobilization by influencing the actors’ learning process.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited to one Italian company, so the results cannot be generalized; they were influenced by the researcher's “strong” interventionist approach and by the model adopted.

Practical implications

Companies introducing IC will become aware of barriers and levers to measuring and mobilizing IC, thus enabling them to devise strategies to avoid the former and take advantage of the latter.


The experiential learning theory model offers an alternative way of understanding how IC measurement produces effects and how the controller and researcher can influence the managers’ IC learning journey thus contributing to mobilization of IC.



Serena Chiucchi, M. (2013), "Intellectual capital accounting in action: enhancing learning through interventionist research", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 48-68.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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