Investigating IC research: a critical examination

John Dumay, Tatiana Garanina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to examine IC research (ICR) methods and critically analyse how they have been utilised. The data set for this analysis is based on examining IC papers published in specialist IC and important generalist accounting journals from the years 2000 to 2011. The basis of our analysis is Alvesson & Deetz’s (2000) critical management framework of ‘Insight’, ‘Critique’ and ‘Transformative redefinition’ with the goal of widening the discourse about how to research IC. Our paper is motivated by Guthrie et al., (forthcoming) who identify a third stage of ICR which is “based on a critical and performative analysis of IC practices in action.” From 2004 onwards, Guthrie et al., (forthcoming) claim the third stage was starting to gain impetus and thus it will be novel to see if and how ICR has transitioned and how ICR might continue to develop. Our paper argues that there is an increasing performative research agenda however many researchers appear caught in an ‘evaluatory trap’ (Olson et al., 2001) whereby the researchers’ approach to ICR remains stuck in an ostensive approach (see Mouritsen, 2006) which characterises second stage ICR (see Petty and Guthrie, 2000). The implication of our paper for ICR and practice is to create a continued discourse about evolving approaches to ICR so we can continue communicating leading edge, third wave ICR, which develops IC theory in practice and effective IC management through praxis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th European Conference on Intellectual Capital
EditorsJukka Surraka
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherAcademic Publishing International
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781908272324
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEuropean Conference on Intellectual Capital ECIC 2012 (4th : 2012) - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 23 Apr 201224 Apr 2012


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Intellectual Capital ECIC 2012 (4th : 2012)
CityHelsinki, Finland


  • IC research
  • ostensive vs. performative
  • third stage ICR


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