The purpose of this paper is to explore the integrated report (IR) of a South African public university (UFS), by comparing it with the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) framework, to verify whether UFS IR matches the IIRC framework main aims, which is integrating IC and non-IC information into a single report for stakeholders.
The paper employs the case study approach, which is appropriate when a researcher needs to conduct a holistic and in-depth analysis of a complex phenomenon in its real-life context. As such, this method is particularly suitable for exploring intellectual and social capitals, which is complex and context-dependent by nature.
UFS IR includes the content elements of the IIRC framework as labels, but it does not deepen their meaning. As regards the IIRC guidelines principles, the analysis of the UFS IR shows that it does not seem to follow them. Briefly, the data do not have an outlook orientation, the information is not interconnected, the stakeholder relationships are not highlighted and the organisational ability to create value is not disclosed.
The implications based on the “bad” experience of UFS IR aims to extend the findings of the case study by shedding light on the levers and the barriers that managers have to face when implementing an IRing project in their organisations.
To the best of the knowledge the research is the first investigating the IR theme in the public sector, specifically the higher education sector, dealing with disclosing IC (and non-IC) information within a new reporting mode: the IR.
The authors thank two anonymous reviewers and the Editor of this Journal for their helpful comments on previous drafts of the paper. Though this work is the fruit of joint reflection and collaboration, for academic reasons the Sections 2, 5 and 6 are to be attributed to Stefania Veltri, the Sections 1, 3 and 4 are to be attributed to Antonella Silvestri.
Veltri, S. and Silvestri, A. (2015), "The Free State University integrated reporting: a critical consideration", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 443-462. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIC-06-2014-0077Download as .RIS
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