بازتاب و پیش بینی: یک دهه پژوهش حسابداری سرمایه فکری
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The British Accounting Review, Volume 44, Issue 2, June 2012, Pages 68–82
The purpose of this paper is to review and critique the field of Intellectual Capital Accounting Research (ICAR). The literature indicates that an organisational and business revolution is in progress concerning the need to understand the value of knowledge resources and how to manage them. The paper explores the field of ICAR by examining a decade of published research since Petty and Guthrie's (2000) seminal paper on ICA, “Intellectual capital literature review: Measurement, reporting and management” as published in the Journal of Intellectual Capital. The paper has four specific contributions. The first contribution is to identify the field of scholarship associated with ICAR. The second is to provide a comprehensive picture of what has happened in the field of ICAR over the past decade. Third, it provides evidence as to how and why the field of ICAR is changing. Fourth, it highlights areas for future research and policy developments. From these four contributions our definition of Intellectual Capital Accounting (ICA) emerges. That is, ICA is an accounting, reporting and management technology of relevance to organisations to understand and manage knowledge resources. It can account and report on the size and development of knowledge resources such as employee competencies, customer relations, financial relationships and communication and information technologies. Additionally, the analysis highlights several interesting patterns and worrying trends in the field of ICAR.
Since the 1980s the world's economy has rapidly changed from an industrial to a knowledge base. In the new knowledge economy wealth is created by developing and managing knowledge (Ricceri & Guthrie, 2009). These value creating knowledge resources are commonly referred to as intellectual capital (IC) (see Stewart, 1997, p. x). Value is no longer measured solely on the basis of financial outcomes; rather the value of activities that develop knowledge resources must also be considered. Doing so helps us understand how employees, customers and activities contribute to value creation, leading us to the challenge of how to identify, measure and report on the value of our knowledge resources. Intellectual Capital Accounting (ICA) has been developed to meet this challenge (Ricceri, 2008). From an academic perspective, the interest in ICA has led to the creation of two specialist journals publishing, Intellectual Capital Accounting Research (ICAR): Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting (JHRCA) in 1996 and the Journal of Intellectual Capital (JIC) in 2000. Additionally, other generalist accounting journals have shown interest in ICAR, publishing individual papers, and special issues. With over a decade of published research on ICA, its development can be followed by examining the journal published research literature. This is the purpose of our paper. As a starting point our paper considers the arguments of Petty and Guthrie's (2000) seminal paper on ICA, “Intellectual capital literature review: Measurement, reporting and management” as published in the Journal of Intellectual Capital and uses them as a foundation from which to build the review of the IC literature in the period since the paper was published. The Petty and Guthrie (2000) paper was chosen as the starting point because it appeared in the first volume of the JIC and has to date been cited over 400 times.1 We develop a descriptive meta- analysis of over 400 ICAR journal articles, using a method previously employed to select and categorise academic papers (see also Broadbent & Guthrie, 2008; Guthrie & Murthy, 2009; Parker, 2005). This analysis is used to evaluate, identify and address future research agendas. In doing so, our paper answers four inter related research questions: 1. What is the scholarship field of ICAR? 2. What has happened in the field of ICAR over the past decade? 3. How and why is the field changing? 4. What is the future for ICAR? Our paper demonstrates how ICAR has moved from what Petty and Guthrie (2000) described as stage one and stage two research, establishing and developing ICAR as a field and legitimising ICA as an area of multi-disciplinary and multi-focused research. From this we argue a third stage of IC research is emerging based on a critical and performative analysis of IC practices in action. The descriptive analysis highlights several interesting patterns emerging such as the dominance of continental European research, the organisational basis of the majority of research and the importance of specialist journal outlets. When the various research method types were considered, commentary and normative policy papers remained the most popular research areas, rather than empirical papers. To some extent, these patterns represent wider patterning in other specialised accounting research literature (see also Broadbent & Guthrie, 2008; Guthrie & Murthy, 2009; Parker, 2005). The findings of our paper outline how ICAR has developed a strong and continuing tradition, providing important insights that highlight areas for further development of research and policy. Additionally, our paper discusses several trends in the field of ICA scholarship, for example, how generalist journals provide little space for ICAR. We also create a debate between the advantages and disadvantages of disseminating ICAR in specialised IC media such as conferences, journals, books and research monographs, versus the need to disseminate ICAR through more generalised accounting media outlets (see Parker & Guthrie, 2009). Our paper has four further sections. Section two offers a brief review of the original article and a general review of contemporary ICAR literature, establishing what constitutes the field of ICAR. Section three outlines our research method followed by a descriptive meta-analysis of the ICAR papers. Section four discusses issues associated with the field of ICAR. Last, a conclusion outlining an agenda for future ICA research is provided.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The first aim of our paper was to answer the question “What is the scholarship field of ICAR?” We achieved this by reviewing the seminal Petty and Guthrie (2000) literature review and establishing ICA as a specialist field of research. More importantly we witnessed how the first two stages of ICAR have matured and how a third stage of ICAR was taking hold focussing on critically examining ICAR in practice. Next we addressed the questions: “What has happened in the field of ICAR over the past decade?” and “How and why is the field changing?” utilising a meta-analysis of the articles that focus on ICAR for a ten year period from 2000 to 2009 in ten selected journals. Our study shows that there is an increase in research in the field of ICA, with focus on developed countries, public listed companies and on management control and strategy areas, and within recent years more empirical studies. Next we advocate some ways forward in answering the final question: “What is the future for ICAR?” First, we advocate that ICA researchers need to take an active role in disseminating their research to the wider accounting research community. The potential to do so has never been greater as the generalist accounting journals have recently opened the doors to special editions and have increased the space available for articles of all types. Additionally generalist accounting conferences do not shy away from accepting ICA papers for presentation. In reality it is up to us as the ICA researchers to take our work to the generalist accounting community to receive feedback which informs us of the reasons papers may not be accepted. We should be leading the way by offering our findings to the generalist journals and conferences and participating in their debates. Second, we advocate that the specialist journals should continue to promote acceptance of ICAR by openly seeking critical views on ICA as a field of research. There fore we want to emphasise the need to continue developing critical ICAR research as part of the third stage as important. The special edition titled “Intellectual capital: becoming critical” in JIC (Vol. 7 No.1), the special edition of CPA (Vol. 20 No. 7) called “Critical perspectives on intellectual capital” is evidence of how both specialist and generalist journals have contributed to the third stage. Unfortunately, up until just recently, we have not participated in many of these debates within our own community, which leads us open to the criticism that our research field is a closed shop and we are unwilling to hear the opposing arguments of other accounting researchers. Only by confronting each others' ideas in open discourse can we move forward. ICA researchers should become the catalyst of the discourse rather than turn away from it. Thus, in conclusion we find that there are significant omissions in the research agenda in both the specialist and generalist agendas. On the other hand, we see plentiful evidence of a counter-offensive to the capital market intangible research that dominates financial accounting research (see for instance, Lev, 2008; Skinner, 2008a; Stark, 2008; Wyatt, 2008). As evidenced by our research, we as ICA researchers are part of a growing academic research community, particularly in the interpretive, qualitative and critical traditions researching various aspects of ICA. Through our research, we are establishing bridgeheads of published research addressing subjects of emerging importance to world communities, embracing change and engaging in being critical of experiences in the field. We welcome the task of grappling with the complexities of organisational and institutional worlds rather than repeatedly modelling them and conceiving from them abstract positivistic theory. The future research directions discussed above are about opening up new fields of enquiry, addressing neglected issues and consolidating the field of ICAR. We must challenge the status quo, employ innovative methodologies, experiment with the novel and take risks. We encourage you to watch the ICA space in the next decade for more critical field studies which will provide empirical studies of IC in action and help develop broader theoretical research. The conclusion of this article should be considered after taking into account the following limitations. First, the selection of journals was restricted to ten. Results could vary if more journals were scrutinised and if other forms of scholarly activities were included (e.g. monographs, conference papers, books, book chapters, PhD theses, etc). Second, although the coding process was performed systematically with utmost care to allow consistency, there could be errors of omission and coding could have also been affected by coder bias. Third, in spite of using previous research to select the coding criteria so as to make the classification mutually exclusive and exhaustive, the addition of ‘other’ and ‘other general’ classifications may have camouflaged some interesting findings. In closing, Parker and Guthrie (2009) argue that consistent with its historical tradition, the accounting and the accounting research disciplines must remain resolutely pluralist if we are to have any significant and relevant future at all. The range of topics studied, and the range of theoretical perspectives adopted, is extremely broad. Arguably, this is a highly desirable feature that should be protected against narrow-minded approaches to the evaluation of research (Ashton et al., 2009, p. 207).