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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2009

John C. Dumay

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of a critical research perspective in the development of research in the field of intellectual capital (IC) practice.

2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of a critical research perspective in the development of research in the field of intellectual capital (IC) practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper initiates a reflective discourse about the relevance of contemporary approaches to research and practice in the field of IC and explores the way forward with a view to improving the relevance of IC to academics, practitioners and their organisations.

Findings

It is not the intention of this paper to prescribe specific formulae for the measurement, management and reporting of IC, nor further develop theory. It is the intention of the paper to lay the foundations for further discourse on the thinking behind contemporary IC theory and practice.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of the paper is that it represents the informed opinion of the author and these views may not be shared by other researchers and practitioners. The implications are first that it aligns IC to the current general and economic environment as there is a perceived increase in awareness among stakeholders to manage scarce and intangible resources. Second, by taking a critical approach to IC research it advocates how to develop insights and processes that can help build the recognition and benefits of IC practices.

Originality/value

This paper openly questions the need to develop further IC theory and advocates a way forward by outlining a critical approach to researching and implementing IC in practice.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 January 2012

John C. Dumay

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question “What are the barriers to the use of IC concepts?” by discussing and critiquing two contemporary grand theories about…

2050

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question “What are the barriers to the use of IC concepts?” by discussing and critiquing two contemporary grand theories about IC, being market‐to‐book ratios as a representation of IC and that disclosing IC leads to greater profitability.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews contemporary IC literature and explores reasons why these grand theories of IC hinder its adoption.

Findings

The research finds that these grand theories mislead because they cannot be proven empirically. Therefore, managers should attempt to better understand the possible causal relationships between their people, processes and stakeholders (human, structural and relational capital) rather than adopting someone else's mousetrap.

Practical implications

In order to improve the use of IC concepts they should be examined as differentiation theories of practice that take into account the agent (people) as a unit of analysis, the actual practice of IC and the resultant changes within an organisation, rather than trying to achieve the impossible generalisations of IC grand theories. Researchers need to conduct more critical and performative research into IC rather than ostensive research.

Originality/value

Allows academics and practitioners to understand the barriers to implementing IC in organisations, potentially allowing for the development of better engineered IC practices rather than the development of additional IC models.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 April 2010

John C. Dumay and Jiayang Lu

The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons for and outcomes of the rhetoric of disclosures of human capital (HC) management practices and to discuss how…

1396

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons for and outcomes of the rhetoric of disclosures of human capital (HC) management practices and to discuss how disclosures could be changed to be more meaningful and appropriate in practice. Thus, the research question of interest to this paper is “Is the rhetoric of HC disclosure achieved in practice?”

Design/methodology/approach

Using a case study approach, the paper utilises content analysis to examine the rhetoric of HC disclosures and the results of HC management practices utilising corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, newsletters, annual reports, and other publicly available information, with an emphasis on media reports. The case study organisation is Westpac Bank (Australia), chosen because of the transformation in its approach to HC management since 2001 and its reputation as a global leader in CSR practice and reporting.

Findings

The paper illustrates how highly exposed HC disclosures are to scrutiny by both internal and external stakeholders and if the rhetoric is not transformed into practice how the disclosures can be used as a weapon by adversarial stakeholders to attack the organisation and/or attempt to change the balance of power between management and employees. It is argued that it could be more beneficial if HC disclosures were to report on the ongoing struggles and conflicts that are inherent in HC management practice, rather than not admitting to or not mentioning them at all, in order to reduce information asymmetry and build trust in the disclosures so that that the disclosures are less likely to be seen as merely rhetorical arguments.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited to one particular organisation from which generalisation is not possible. Since the research is undertaken from outside the organisation, and relies largely on secondary data sources, it thus also relies in part on conjecture about the change processes which occurred inside the organisation.

Originality/value

The paper adds to the emerging discussion of how organisations put their HC management rhetoric into practice and whether or not they achieve their intended outcomes.

Details

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1401-338X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 April 2007

John C. Dumay and John A. Tull

The purpose of this paper is to examine an alternative way by which firms can disclose their intellectual capital to external stakeholders who have an influence on their…

2314

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine an alternative way by which firms can disclose their intellectual capital to external stakeholders who have an influence on their share price.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper shows that, by applying the empirical “event studies” methodology for the 2004‐2005 financial year, the components of intellectual capital are used to classify price‐sensitive company announcements to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), and to examine any relationship between the disclosure of intellectual capital and the cumulative abnormal return of a firm's share price.

Findings

The disclosure of intellectual capital elements in price sensitive company announcements can have an effect on the cumulative abnormal return of a firm's share price. The market is found to be most responsive to disclosures of “internal capital” elements.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited to an analysis of the Australian stock market for a one‐year period. It does not take into account the timing of announcement as a variable nor does it consider differences in regulation or operations pertaining to other stock markets.

Practical implications

Researchers and practitioners are now informed that price‐sensitive disclosures to the market containing intellectual capital elements have a marginal effect on the subsequent market valuation of a firm beyond traditional financial reports and external intellectual capital reports.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to examine the disclosure of price‐sensitive stock market information from an intellectual capital perspective, using Australian data.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 April 2010

John C. Dumay

The purpose of this paper is to provide a reflective discourse about a particular interventionist research project utilising a critical framework.

1184

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a reflective discourse about a particular interventionist research project utilising a critical framework.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses Alvesson and Deetz's tasks of critical research to analyse the application of interventionist research methodology and address the issues of access, data collection and ethnographical concerns.

Findings

Access issues are expanded to consider the concerns of the researcher and the researched. Interventionist research needs to develop a methodological approach moving beyond the concept of triangulation and to develop the concept of “catalytical” processes, expanding the emic and etic functions of interventionist research. The paper identifies that skills of the researched and the researcher need to be developed and recognises that the skills required are different to those currently possessed by academic researchers.

Research limitations/implications

The paper examines only a single application of an interventionist research project conducted over a short period of time with a specific outcome in mind.

Practical implications

This paper provides a discussion of a working example of an interventionist research project and highlights to researchers and practitioners some of the advantages and disadvantages of undertaking such an approach to solving organisational problems.

Originality/value

The reflective critical discourse as outlined in this paper contributes to the practice of interventionist research by opening up further the discussion of how it can be implemented in practice and what are some of the considerations from both the perspective of practice and the skills base of the participants.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 June 2008

John C. Dumay

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the manner and impact of intellectual capital (IC) disclosure. To frame the discussion, elements of Giddens' “structuration”…

1700

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the manner and impact of intellectual capital (IC) disclosure. To frame the discussion, elements of Giddens' “structuration” theory and narrative theory are used to analyse change from within an organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a case study approach, this paper explores the impact of the narrative disclosure of IC by an Australian public sector organisation, the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Lands (Lands), which is the first Australian government organisation to externally disclose IC.

Findings

By taking a structuralist approach to analysing the narrative disclosure of IC this paper moved beyond attempting to quantify or identify the wealth created by IC, and thus account for IC. By investigating the narrative disclosure of IC, initially in the form of the IC statement as a supplement to the annual report, it was shown how at Lands the use of narrative became routinized in the activities of management. Thus narrative was no longer used to only provide understanding of the IC measures and the reasoning behind the use of IC, but to provide a mechanism that engendered further management action and subsequent organisational change.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of this paper is that it provides a lone example of a particular organisation from which generalisations are not possible. But it is possible to extend this research, using the structuration framework, to other organisations that have engendered the use of narrative to disclose IC to both internal and external stakeholders. Doing so will further question the domination of “accounting” within the IC paradigm and provide additional insights that allows practitioners and academics to develop additional tools for understanding and utilising IC.

Originality/value

This paper investigates the manner and impact of IC disclosure from within an organisation by use of “structuration” and narrative theory to analyse change as a result of the implementation of IC practices.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 July 2007

John C. Dumay and James Guthrie

This paper seeks to discuss how an environmental change for an organisation can be a catalyst for the take‐up of intellectual capital (IC). In particular, it uses…

1213

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to discuss how an environmental change for an organisation can be a catalyst for the take‐up of intellectual capital (IC). In particular, it uses Laughlin's “colonizing” model of organisational change to understand the catalyst for change, being an ageing workforce, and the resultant formation of an accounting of IC.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a case study of an Australian public sector organisation, which has created and implemented IC practice.

Findings

In this case, the impending retirements of the “baby boomer” generation were an environmental disturbance and a catalyst that allowed for an accounting of IC, especially its human capital.

Research limitations/implications

This case study is limited to the presentation of findings of a phenomenon within a particular organisation within the Australian public sector context. Other forces may also have had an effect on the organisation, if not for the presence of the “ageing workforce” disturbance.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature on IC by examining the impact of the take‐up of IC from inside a public sector organisation perspective.

Details

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1401-338X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 October 2009

Suresh Cuganesan and John C. Dumay

The first aim of this paper is to present the methods developed by one of the co‐authors to render visible the complexity of intellectual capital (IC). These were…

2064

Abstract

Purpose

The first aim of this paper is to present the methods developed by one of the co‐authors to render visible the complexity of intellectual capital (IC). These were developed to make relationships between IC elements and value creation accessible to managers seeking to act on IC. The second aim of the paper is to explore the ability of visualisation techniques to inscribe the complexity of IC. This is pursued through a process of reflecting on the experiences of “being involved” in the production of IC visuals.

Design/methodology/approach

The study details the methods utilised in a case study of a shared service centre of a financial services organisation and presents a reflective analysis using the Latourian notion of inscriptions.

Findings

In conducting its reflective analysis, the paper traces the various translations undergone by the inscriptions of IC, with the end result of these movements being a visual meta‐narrative connecting the various IC elements to one another as well as dimensions of IC value creation.

Originality/value

The paper presents a novel examination of visualisations of IC as might be used within firms for the purposes of resource mobilisation and managerialist intervention.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 22 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 April 2009

John C. Dumay

The purpose of this paper is to investigate intellectual capital (IC) measurement critically so that the dynamics of intangible value creation can be better understood and…

4677

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate intellectual capital (IC) measurement critically so that the dynamics of intangible value creation can be better understood and to provide insights into how IC is constructed rather than what IC is.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a case study on how a division of a large Australian financial institution utilised an approach based on complexity theory to investigate IC in practice. The method utilises narrative, numbers and visualisations to make sense of IC at a particular point in time.

Findings

It is argued that trying to “fit” existing popular frameworks to gather IC measurements inside organisations has little relevance to understanding the value‐creation process. As a result of the investigation of IC in this paper, it is found that, to date, IC measurement has relied heavily on “accountingisation” and that alternate methods to understand IC need to be developed. The paper highlights that academics and practitioners need to develop new skills.

Research limitations/implications

The case study is limited to the use of an alternate method to investigate IC in a particular organisational and cultural setting. The research opens the possibility of the benefits of changing thinking about both research into, and the practice of, measuring IC.

Practical implications

Rather than being constrained by the traditional models of measuring intangibles, by way of contemporary IC reporting frameworks, a more open process is outlined that could improve the timeliness and use value of the information.

Originality/value

This paper has relevance to both IC academics and practitioners as it critically examines the contemporary IC frameworks and offers an alternate method for examining IC which has the potential to add to a discourse which focuses on additional understanding of IC.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 24 April 2007

Rory L. Chase

319

Abstract

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

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