This article explores the meaning and context of intellectual capital (IC) numbers to help break free from the domination of IC "accountingisation". Offering a personal and reflective narrative about IC numbers, I first discuss what numbers mean by exploring the way we think about the number 42. This discussion is followed by two empirical sections examining the meaning and context of a common IC measure, employee turnover rates. Measuring any IC element is problematic from an IC accounting perspective because of the unique context in which each organization operates. The comparability of a number from one organization and one period with another is nearly impossible. The article is original because it takes a thoughtprovoking narrative journey into the use and meaning of applying IC numbers. It is a personal reflection on the implications of considering the meaning of numbers for IC practice, IC education and research, and IC's future. It is particularly topical in light of the inclusion of IC in the recent Integrated Reporting (<IR>) Guidelines.
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- IC numbers
- Integrated reporting
- Intellectual capital
- Meaning and context