Moving from irrelevant intellectual capital (IC) reporting to value-relevant IC disclosures: key learning points from the Danish experience

Publikation: Forskning - peer reviewTidsskriftartikel


  • Robin Roslender
    Robin RoslenderUniversity of Dundee, Scotland
  • Stefan Schaper
  • Christian Nielsen
    Christian NielsenAalborg Universitet
Purpose – Informed by the findings of a follow-up research study of companies originally involved in the
Danish Guideline Project (DGP) for intellectual capital statements (ICS), the purpose of this paper is to provide
valuable insights for a potential shift from intellectual capital (IC) reporting, largely informed by an
accounting perspective, towards IC-related disclosures.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on data obtained from 21 semi-structured interviews
with respondents in 16 companies. The respondents were contacted following a genealogical exercise carried
out on the 102 companies involved in the DGP between 1999 and 2003.

Findings – The interviews suggested a rather critical perspective towards IC reporting using the ICS
framework. Despite the attempt of the DGP to establish a reporting standard, a range of experiments resulted
in changes to the framework’s original structure. Overall, a trend towards more integrated forms of reporting
was discernible, in some part being motivated by the need to reduce the levels of reporting overload.
Examples of integration designed to legitimise IC or corporate social responsibility reports, involving issuing
them in tandem with a recognised reporting vehicle such as the annual report, were also encountered.

Research limitations/implications – The implications of this study are that timely, value-relevant IC
disclosures and compliant reporting, primarily for accountability purposes, have the potential to coexist. In
addition to the usual limitations of a semi-structured interview research design, respondents’ difficulties in clearly
recalling events during the project after some 10-12 years is a further potential limitation. Additionally, the use of
internet-based communication channels for disclosure purposes was in its infancy at the time of the DGP.

Originality/value – The paper provides important insights into the mechanisms of IC disclosure and IC
reporting as seen from a practitioner perspective. Implications relevant to the continued development of
integrated reporting are also identified.
TidsskriftJournal of Intellectual Capital
Sider (fra-til)81 - 101
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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