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Discourses of transparency in the Intellectual Capital reporting debate: Moving from generic reporting models to management defined information

Christian Nielsen and Mona Toft Madsen ()
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Christian Nielsen: Department of Business Studies, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark
Mona Toft Madsen: Department of Management, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark, http://asb.dk/staff/man/mtm.aspx?page=%7B3A48694C-019A-4823-A4B9-3B58781541DD%7D

No A-2007-01, Accounting Research Center Working Papers from University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Business Studies

Abstract: Our study of the field intellectual capital reporting indicates the necessity of an emancipation from the normative understanding of transparency being merely a question of disclosing as much information as possible. Through a critical discourse analysis of the intellectual capital reporting debate, we identify a movement from generic reporting models to frameworks based on management defined information. The latter discourse argues that transparency is a question of providing fewer, more structured disclosures as well as focusing on illustrating flows, e.g. of intellectual capital and value creation, rather than providing static descriptions of passives and assets. In essence, our theorization of the intellectual capital reporting agenda suggests that we will see a shift in companies’ supplementary reporting practices in the years to come; a shift that will invoke less amounts of voluntary information in business reporting, e.g. concerning intellectual capital and sustainability. This, however, has the implication that users of intellectual capital reporting may become victims of management’s selected “right” information, by Strathern (2000) designated as the “tyranny of transparency”.

Keywords: Transparency; Intellectual Capital; Business Reporting; Discourse Analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 22 pages
Date: 2007-03-13
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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