Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to show how three similar utility companies have adopted intellectual capital statements as a management technology, incorporated it into existing practices, developed and adapted it. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on ethnomethodology using accounts where the data collection was mainly through semi‐structured interviews with practitioners. The analysis is based on the actor network theory where the idea of an intellectual capital statement is enacted and materialised. Findings – The paper finds that the local context and the local actors have a decisive influence on the network creation taking place around the intellectual capital statement as an object, where the objects create room for different actions. It is concluded that the intellectual capital statement in the companies functions as a conceptual framework where existing initiatives can be integrated into a whole. Further, it is concluded that an actor with a strong position is necessary in order for the intellectual capital statement to be part of the management practice. Originality/value – Previous studies of intellectual capital reporting have been based on surveys or studies of the written reports and how they at a specific point in time were used in companies. This study is based on the researchers being present in the companies while the intellectual capital statements are developed, and on following the companies for three to four years. Thus, the focus is on the construction of the statements. Further, the methodology opens up new ways of understanding intellectual capital statements.
Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 26, 2008
Keywords: Denmark; Intellectual capital; Electricity industry
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