Intellectual capital communication: evidence from social and sustainability reporting
The purpose of this study is to investigate the level and quality of intellectual capital information communicated through social and sustainability report for a sample of 37 Italian listed company over two years (2005 and 2006). The study use the resource based theory to explain the relationship between corporate social responsibility and intellectual capital. Content analysis is applied through a multidimensional framework composed by three main disclosure profiles(time orientation, nature and type of information) which permits to analyse in depth the quality of intellectual capital information. The results highlight significant and increasing presence of intellectual capital information in CSR reports which is communicated principally in non financial, quantitative and non time specific terms. Human capital is the most reported category followed by relational and organisational capital. There are many similarities between the two typology of report contributing to the ongoing debate on corporate reporting practices.The results suggest that the integration between IC report and CSR report is a plausible issue and that could be useful to enhance the transparency and the understanding of company processes and activities both for internal and external stakeholders. Very few studies have analysed the intellectual capital in CSR report in atheoretical and mono-dimensional way. Moreover the resource base theory has been scarcely applied to explain the disclosure of intellectual capital even if there are several similarities between the two perspectives.
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