Improving integrated reporting: A new learning and growth perspective for the balanced scorecard

Rada Massingham*, Peter Rex Massingham, John Dumay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a new learning and growth perspective for the balanced scorecard (BSC) that includes more specific measures of integrated thinking and value creation to help improve integrated reporting (<IR>). Practical, relevant definitions of these historically vague concepts may improve intangible asset disclosures (IAD) and increase uptake of the<IR> framework.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is conceptual. The authors use organisational learning to theorise about the learning and growth perspective of the BSC, within the context of the practice of IAD.

Findings: Several criticisms of IAD, the<IR>framework and the BSC have acted as barriers to implementing the<IR>framework. The improved version of the BSC’s learning and growth perspective, presented in this paper, addresses those criticisms by redefining the concept of integrated thinking (learning) and more fully connecting that learning to future value creation (growth). The model is designed to be used in tandem with the<IR>framework to operationalise integrated thinking. A new BSC strategy map illustrates how this revised learning and growth perspective interacts with the other three BSC perspectives to create long-term shareholder value through the management and growth of knowledge within an organisation.

Research limitations/implications: Organisational learning is an important source of competitive advantage in the modern knowledge economy. Here, the authors encourage further debate on how to report and disclose information on intangible assets, driven by a new conceptual strategy for organisational learning that fully supports the BSC’s capacity to help integrated thinking and future value creation for the<IR>framework.

Practical implications: From its roots as a performance measurement system, the BSC has become a widely used strategy execution tool. The<IR>framework has struggled to gain traction, but still has value in exploring intangible assets and its disclosure from a systems thinking perspective. The model is designed to bring an explicit understanding of how to improve integrated thinking for the<IR>framework facilitating better measurement, management and reporting of human and structural capital. By doing so, the new model enables a firm to use the BSC to engage with<IR>more effectively, which should also be useful for practitioners given the widespread use of the BSC. 

Originality/value: The analysis of the BSC’s learning and growth perspective reveals two dichotomies – one between resources and growth, and another between systems and capability. The revised perspective resolves these dichotomies with clear, forward-focused measures of learning and intangible asset growth, and multiple vertical and horizontal connections between the perspective’s four constructs. The authors demonstrate practical paths to value creation through a range of strategic impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-82
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Intellectual Capital
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019


  • Balanced scorecard
  • Intangible asset disclosure
  • Integrated reporting
  • Integrated thinking
  • Learning and growth
  • Systems thinking


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