PurposeThe purpose of this study is to compare of the way intellectual capital (IC) is disclosed in the websites of the universities in three European countries to assess the way universities decide to communicate IC to their stakeholders and identify potential patterns and trends. In addition, the relation between the level and the type of IC Web disclosure in universities and academic rankings as a proxy of performance is explored to reveal interrelations.Design/methodology/approachThe study is based on a sample of 128 universities coming from Greece (22), Italy (58) and Spain (48). The websites of the universities are content-analysed to measure the level of IC disclosure. The IC disclosure metrics are then correlated with the academic rankings of the World Ranking.FindingsWhile the level of IC disclosure among universities and among countries is not homogeneous, human capital and internal capital items are more heavily disclosed compared to external capital items in all three countries. In addition, larger universities in terms of number of students tend to disclose more on IC. Moreover, there is a positive correlation between the level of IC Web disclosure and the academic ranking that challenges the IC disclosure strategies followed by the universities.Originality/valueThe paper represents an innovative contribution to the existing literature as it investigates websites to assess the level of IC disclosure provided by universities in a comparative perspective. Furthermore, it analyses the relationship between the online IC disclosure and European universities’ academic rankings and provides evidence on the interaction between the IC disclosure and the ecosystem in which the universities operate contributing to the fourth stage of IC research.
Meditari Accountancy Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 9, 2019
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