Grand theories as barriers to using IC concepts

Grand theories as barriers to using IC concepts Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to answer the question “What are the barriers to the use of IC concepts?” by discussing and critiquing two contemporary grand theories about IC, being market‐to‐book ratios as a representation of IC and that disclosing IC leads to greater profitability. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews contemporary IC literature and explores reasons why these grand theories of IC hinder its adoption. Findings – The research finds that these grand theories mislead because they cannot be proven empirically. Therefore, managers should attempt to better understand the possible causal relationships between their people, processes and stakeholders (human, structural and relational capital) rather than adopting someone else's mousetrap. Practical implications – In order to improve the use of IC concepts they should be examined as differentiation theories of practice that take into account the agent (people) as a unit of analysis, the actual practice of IC and the resultant changes within an organisation, rather than trying to achieve the impossible generalisations of IC grand theories. Researchers need to conduct more critical and performative research into IC rather than ostensive research. Originality/value – Allows academics and practitioners to understand the barriers to implementing IC in organisations, potentially allowing for the development of better engineered IC practices rather than the development of additional IC models. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Intellectual Capital Emerald Publishing

Grand theories as barriers to using IC concepts

Journal of Intellectual Capital, Volume 13 (1): 12 – Jan 13, 2012

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1469-1930
DOI
10.1108/14691931211196187
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to answer the question “What are the barriers to the use of IC concepts?” by discussing and critiquing two contemporary grand theories about IC, being market‐to‐book ratios as a representation of IC and that disclosing IC leads to greater profitability. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews contemporary IC literature and explores reasons why these grand theories of IC hinder its adoption. Findings – The research finds that these grand theories mislead because they cannot be proven empirically. Therefore, managers should attempt to better understand the possible causal relationships between their people, processes and stakeholders (human, structural and relational capital) rather than adopting someone else's mousetrap. Practical implications – In order to improve the use of IC concepts they should be examined as differentiation theories of practice that take into account the agent (people) as a unit of analysis, the actual practice of IC and the resultant changes within an organisation, rather than trying to achieve the impossible generalisations of IC grand theories. Researchers need to conduct more critical and performative research into IC rather than ostensive research. Originality/value – Allows academics and practitioners to understand the barriers to implementing IC in organisations, potentially allowing for the development of better engineered IC practices rather than the development of additional IC models.

Journal

Journal of Intellectual CapitalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 13, 2012

Keywords: Intellectual capital; Market‐to‐book ratios; Grand theory; Disclosure; Causal relationships; Differentiation theories of practice

References

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