Is “If it can’t be measured it can’t be managed” really true?

John Dumay, Jim Rooney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

Abstract

Is “If it can’t be measured it can’t be managed” really true? We cast doubt on its truth by critically studying Intellectual Capital (IC) practice over six years at an internationally recognised public sector IC leader. During this time the ‘Land and Property Authority of NSW’ (Lands) implemented IC practices. Initially Lands struggled to cope with the significant challenges associated with retaining the knowledge ingrained in an ageing workforce but as a result succeeded becoming a growing dynamic Government Business Enterprise (GBE) at a time when most of the public sector is getting smaller. During the IC journey Lands has achieved recognition for its IC reporting and practices in the absence of a definitive set of IC measures. Lands struggled with an inability to develop a specific set of IC metrics to communicate its success. However, Lands effectively communicates the impact of its IC practices through its IC statements based on an ongoing narrative. We conclude from the evidence presented that IC practices are possible without necessarily needing concrete IC measures. The conclusion highlights the struggle many organisations face when developing appropriate IC measures. While there appears to be a fixation on developing ‘accounting for IC’, we advocate the fixation is misplaced and the IC journey is better communicated narrating the story of how IC was mobilised. Doing so allows for more focus on IC practices rather than accounting. This opens the debate as to whether accounting can provide a solution as IC is more complex than providing an IC balance sheet.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Intellectual Capital
EditorsGeoff Turner, Clemente Minnone
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherAcademic Publishing International
Pages123-130
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781906638955
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventEuropean Conference on Intellectual Capital ECIC 2011 (3rd : 2011) - Cyprus
Duration: 18 Apr 201119 Apr 2011

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Conference on Intellectual Capital ECIC 2011 (3rd : 2011)
CityCyprus
Period18/04/1119/04/11

Keywords

  • intellectual capital
  • measuring
  • managing
  • reporting
  • IC balance sheet
  • complexity

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  • Cite this

    Dumay, J., & Rooney, J. (2011). Is “If it can’t be measured it can’t be managed” really true? In G. Turner, & C. Minnone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Intellectual Capital (pp. 123-130). United Kingdom: Academic Publishing International.