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Intellectual capital communication: evidence from social and sustainability reporting


  • Passetti, Emilio
  • Tenucci, Andrea
  • Cinquini, Lino
  • Frey, Marco


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Passetti, Emilio & Tenucci, Andrea & Cinquini, Lino & Frey, Marco, 2009. "Intellectual capital communication: evidence from social and sustainability reporting," MPRA Paper 16589, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16589

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Fernando Fuentes-García & Julia Núñez-Tabales & Ricardo Veroz-Herradón, 2008. "Applicability of Corporate Social Responsibility to Human Resources Management: Perspective from Spain," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 82(1), pages 27-44, September.
    5. Fabrizio Cerbioni & Antonio Parbonetti, 2007. "Exploring the Effects of Corporate Governance on Intellectual Capital Disclosure: An Analysis of European Biotechnology Companies," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 791-826.
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    7. Orens, Raf & Lybaert, Nadine, 2007. "Does the financial analysts' usage of non-financial information influence the analysts' forecast accuracy? Some evidence from the Belgian sell-side financial analyst," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 237-271.
    8. Francesco Perrini & Angeloantonio Russo & Antonio Tencati, 2007. "CSR Strategies of SMEs and Large Firms. Evidence from Italy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 285-300, September.
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    11. Mark A. Youndt & ohan Subramaniam & Scott A. Snell, 2004. "Intellectual Capital Profiles: An Examination of Investments and Returns," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 335-361, March.
    12. Angeloantonio Russo & Antonio Tencati, 2009. "Formal vs. Informal CSR Strategies: Evidence from Italian Micro, Small, Medium-sized, and Large Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 85(2), pages 339-353, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dicu Roxana-Manuela, 2011. "The Transparency In The Reporting Of Intellectual Capital: Between The Management Responsibility And The Stakeholders' Requirements," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 609-615, July.

    More about this item


    intellectual capital; disclosure; social and sustainability reporting; resource based view; corporate social responsibility;

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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