IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Discourses of transparency in the Intellectual Capital reporting debate: Moving from generic reporting models to management defined information


  • Nielsen, Christian

    (Department of Business Studies, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Madsen, Mona Toft

    () (Department of Management)


Our study of the field intellectual capital reporting indicates the necessity of an emancipation from the normative understanding of transparency being merely a question of disclosing as much information as possible. Through a critical discourse analysis of the intellectual capital reporting debate, we identify a movement from generic reporting models to frameworks based on management defined information. The latter discourse argues that transparency is a question of providing fewer, more structured disclosures as well as focusing on illustrating flows, e.g. of intellectual capital and value creation, rather than providing static descriptions of passives and assets. In essence, our theorization of the intellectual capital reporting agenda suggests that we will see a shift in companies’ supplementary reporting practices in the years to come; a shift that will invoke less amounts of voluntary information in business reporting, e.g. concerning intellectual capital and sustainability. This, however, has the implication that users of intellectual capital reporting may become victims of management’s selected “right” information, by Strathern (2000) designated as the “tyranny of transparency”.

Suggested Citation

  • Nielsen, Christian & Madsen, Mona Toft, 2007. "Discourses of transparency in the Intellectual Capital reporting debate: Moving from generic reporting models to management defined information," Accounting Research Center Working Papers A-2007-01, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhb:aarbac:2007-01

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Transparency; Intellectual Capital; Business Reporting; Discourse Analysis;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhb:aarbac:2007-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Helle Vinbaek Stenholt). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.