Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the extent and quality of intellectual capital disclosures (ICDs) in the annual reports of the New Zealand local government sector. Design/methodology/approach – This paper makes use of an ICD index constructed through a participatory stakeholder consultation process to develop a disclosure index which measures the extent and quality intellectual capital reporting in the 2004/2005 annual reports of 82 local government authorities in New Zealand. The final index comprised 26 items divided into three categories: internal, external and human capital. Findings – The results indicate that the reporting of intellectual capital by local government authorities is varied. The most reported items were joint ventures/business collaborations and management processes, while the least reported items were intellectual property and licensing agreements. The most reported category of intellectual capital was internal capital, followed by external capital. Human capital was the least reported category. Research limitations/implications – There are a number of limitations associated with this study. First the research covered only one year (2004/2005) which makes it difficult to draw any trend conclusions. Second, differing legal reporting requirements may make it difficult to compare findings of this research with findings of research conducted in other jurisdictions. The final limitation of this study is its exploratory nature of this research and the use of a disclosure index to measure disclosure levels. Practical implications – The results in this paper indicate that local authorities are disclosing some aspects of intellectual capital in their annual reports. However, there is no consistent reporting framework and many areas of ICDs do not meet stakeholder expectations. Originality/value – This paper is unique in that it is the first study to make use of an ICD index to examine intellectual capital reporting by local government authorities.
Journal of Intellectual Capital – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 25, 2008
Keywords: Intellectual capital; Disclosure; Annual reports; Local authorities; Stakeholder analysis; New Zealand