انگیزه های پشت افشای سرمایه انسانی در گزارش های سالانه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4695||2008||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Volume 32, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 16–29
Although much has been discussed about voluntary disclosure of human capital in annual reports there has been limited examination of the motivations behind such disclosure. This study uses the perspective of the political economy of accounting to understand motivations. Using the method of content analysis, this paper examines human capital disclosure practices in annual reports of a sample of firms in Sri Lanka, a developing nation. Eleven case study interviews from the sample explore the motivations behind the disclosure practices of firms. Findings reveal that firms use disclosure to reduce tension between firms and their constituents, in the interest of further capital accumulation.
Traditional accounting can be described as an institutional process regulated by the accounting profession, constructed for the purpose of reporting on and communicating the impact of economic activity. It is largely designed as a reporting mechanism for profit-oriented firms (Boczko, 2000). This regulated process secures economic capital accumulation (hereafter called capital accumulation) through institutional rules, laws and agreements, and norms. The capital accumulation regime is supported by the formulation and implementation of laws, government policies, political practice, rules of negotiation and bargaining, the culture of consumption, and social expectations (Amin, 1994, p. 8). Tinker (1985, p. 84) explains that accounting measures and appraises capital accumulation as an exchange between the firm and parties involved in the exchange process. Accounting has become part of that exchange process by helping firms to make decisions relating to economic exchanges favouring capital accumulation. The combination of factors possessed by individuals and the collective workforce of a firm is referred to as human capital, to differentiate it from economic capital. Human capital encompasses knowledge, skills, and technical ability; personal traits such as intelligence, energy, attitude, reliability, and commitment; ability to learn, including aptitude, imagination, and creativity; desire to share information, participate in a team, and focus on the goals of the firm (Fitz-enz, 2000). Several authorities consider that human capital is important because its extraction creates capital accumulation of firms (Edvinsson & Sullivan, 1996; Graham & Pizzo, 1998, p. 25; O’Donnell et al., 2006). This study examines the human capital disclosure practices of the top 30 listed firms in Sri Lanka over two consecutive years. The aim of the study is to gain insight into the motivations behind human capital disclosure in annual reports. Three major factors motivated the present research examining the human capital disclosure of firms and their motivations in a developing country, and selecting Sri Lanka as an empirical site. Motivation in this paper means the arousal, direction and persistent behaviour of a firm in annual report disclosure (Samson & Daft, 2005, p. 623). First, devising human capital measures for disclosure has so far resulted in little progress in recognising them in financial statements (Fitz-enz, 2000, pp. 116–117; Roslender, 1997). Although human capital disclosure is theoretically interesting, there is little empirical evidence to suggest the usefulness of the associated financial models (Flamholtz, 1976; Grojer & Johanson, 1996, p. 24). Second, there is a dearth of research into the motivations behind voluntarily disclosed human capital information of firms in developing nations. The need for a study of firms in developing countries has become increasingly evident because of increasing competition with firms in developed countries due to rapid globalisation, lower transaction costs and more freely available capital. Daley (2001, p. 5) notes that the competitive advantage of firms lies increasingly in intangibles (such as human capital) which are immutable. These immutable intangibles are used to differentiate the products and services of firms. Third, the recent emphasis of the Sri Lankan government on encouraging a knowledge economy (as highlighted in the amendments to the Intellectual Property Act and the liberalisation of the foreign ownership of firms) has heightened the importance of utilising human capital for economic growth ( BOI, 2000 and McSheehy, 2001, p. 57). An amendment to the Intellectual Property Act prohibits the application or fixing of a registered trademark in such a way that it is likely to mislead the public. The amendments also deal with areas of copyright and related rights, and geographical indications, which were not sufficiently protected its precursor. The second section presents a brief review of the capital accumulation of firms in the context of human capital. Section 3 describes the theoretical perspective of the political economy of accounting and introduces the three constituents influencing or influenced by firms: political, economic, and social. Section 4 describes the research methods employed. This study coded and analysed human capital disclosures in the sample of annual reports of two consecutive years (2001 and 2002) by frequency of disclosure using content analysis, and subsequently carried out case study interviews to examine the motivations behind such disclosure. The empirical evidence from the content analysis and case study based interviews are presented in section five, while the last section provides the summary and conclusion.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
As O’Donnell et al. (2006) argued, critical theory is more likely to reveal the underlying tensions between the particular state of capital–labour relations in time, place, and space of firms. This study demonstrates that firms had different motivations when they voluntarily disclosed human capital in annual reports. These disclosures were intended to convince the three major constituents—capital, social, and political, so that firms could operate in ways that facilitated capital accumulation. Some of the motivations behind human capital class disclosure were common to all industries. For instance, all firms disclosed about employee relations and employee measurements in an attempt to win the support of the social constituents as all firms were adopting technology replacing semi-skilled and unskilled workforce. On the other hand, the motivations for rationalising equitable treatment across minority groups differed from one industry sector to another. Some human capital classes were the most frequently disclosed (employee relations and employee measurement) while others were the least disclosed (equity issues and workplace safety). The most disclosed classes gave rise to the most tensions and the least disclosed classes gave rise to the least tensions. The restructuring undertaken by firms replaced unskilled and semi-skilled workers with technology. This activity created most tensions with the social constituent, the support of which was needed by firms for capital accumulation. On the other hand, lack of government support for enabling the disabled to work, absence of workers’ compensation for disabled workers, restrictive legislation for women with regard to work hours, and cultural attitudes about work suitable for women, created the least tensions between constituents and firms in relation to their capital accumulation. Hence the annual report disclosures were driven by the level of contemporary tensions between firms and constituents, as perceived by the firms. It is possible that the nature and type of tension between the firm and its constituents, and hence the firm's approach to resolving those tensions, could differ from one set of firms to another. The Colombo Stock Exchange where these firms are listed is relatively small by market capitalisation and relies heavily on foreign investors to maintain its liquidity, to bridge the gap between investments and savings (CSE, 1997). Firms in a capital market that had greater liquidity might approach resolving tensions between the firms and their constituents differently. The characteristics of the social constituent may also influence the type of tensions between the firm and social constituent and the approach taken to resolve them. Although Sri Lanka has performed well in social development, it has lagged in economic development (UNDP Sri Lanka, 1998, pp. 5–42). In 1999, the unemployment rate was 7.7% of the labour force (Central Bank of Sri Lanka Annual Report, 2000, p. 127; McSheehy, 2001, p. 57). The adult literacy rate during 1998 stood at 91.8% (Central Bank of Sri Lanka Socio-Economic Data, 2001, pp. 1, 63; Human Development Report, 2000, pp. 157–160; McSheehy, 2001, p. 57; UNDP Sri Lanka, 1998). The contextual effects of high social development and low economic development in Sri Lanka might not be applicable to the social constituent in another country. Although care was taken to maximise the validity and reliability of the case study based interviews, interviewer bias and observer bias may have influenced the findings. There were occasions when the researcher inferred conclusions from less explicit answers given by respondents. The fact that only the human resource managers and directors were interviewed might have provided a one-sided perspective. Interviews with staff from different functional areas might have offered richer results.