The purpose of this study is to primarily examine the trend of hidden values and use of intellectual capital (IC) information narratives of leading Malaysian companies in the context of the recent financial crisis. The study then assesses the implications of IC information on a firm’s market value.
It examines the trend of hidden values and the corresponding role of IC information releases through analyses of archival data retrieved from Bloomberg and corporate annual reports of 153 firm-year observations across a three-year period (2008-2010). Various statistical and econometric data analyses were performed to examine the aforementioned exercises.
This study documents four main findings. First, the results show a significantly widening gap between market and book values during the financial crisis, with the market values consistently higher than the book values in all three years. Second, the hidden values significantly increased over time, with the increase becoming substantially higher in the years corresponding to the tail-end of the crisis. Third, the findings indicate that an increase in the hidden values results in a simultaneous increase in IC disclosures, with firms using IC information to inform and reflect their hidden values. Finally, it is shown that the overall amount of IC disclosures, and in particular human capital information, has a significant positive association with hidden values and, consequently, the market value of the companies.
For IC researchers, the study shows the existence of a substantial amount of hidden values in the corporate landscape; thus, there is a need to actually uncover the pattern and creation of hidden values within firms through action research. For businesses, the study reveals the importance of releasing IC information narratives to a firm’s value creation process. The results are also important for policymakers in promoting integrated corporate reporting framework to report IC resources of a firm, perhaps a policy extending the recent mandatory requirement of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting in Malaysia.
This study presents a rare empirical assessment of the trend of hidden values and use of IC information narratives in the context of a recession. The findings can benefit companies and regulators in getting to know a growing level of hidden values – as well as the usefulness of IC information.
The author appreciates many helpful comments made by two anonymous reviewers of this journal in the development of this paper. The author is also very grateful to the editor of the Journal, Professor Ellie Chapple for her encouragement throughout the review process. Needless to say, any remaining errors are those of the authors.
Ahmed Haji, A. (2016), "Trend of hidden values and use of intellectual capital information: Evidence from Malaysia", Accounting Research Journal, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 81-105. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARJ-08-2013-0052Download as .RIS
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