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

Listed author(s):
  • Nielsen, Christian

    (Department of Business Studies, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Madsen, Mona Toft


    (Department of Management)

Registered author(s):

    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”.

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    Paper provided by University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Business Studies in its series Accounting Research Center Working Papers with number A-2007-01.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: 13 Mar 2007
    Handle: RePEc:hhb:aarbac:2007-01
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    The Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs Allé 4, DK-8210 Aarhus V, Denmark

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