The Hitchhiker's guide to intellectual capital

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


Purpose: To explore the meaning and context of numbers from an intellectual capital (IC) perspective to help break free from the domination of what I term the “accountingisation” of IC. Approach: This paper offers a personal and reflective narrative about numbers and IC by first examining the different meanings and contexts of the number 42. This is followed by two empirical sections examining the meaning and context of a common IC measure of employee turnover. Findings: I argue the way in which employee turnover, and thus any IC element, is measured is problematic from an accounting perspective because each organisation is unique and operates in a different context; thus the comparability of the number from one organisation to another and from one period to another is nearly impossible. Originality: This paper takes a thought provoking journey into the use and meaning of numbers, how numbers are applied to IC and the implication this will have for the future of IC from practice, education and research perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCollected papers of APIRA Kobe 2013
EditorsKatsuhiko Kokubu, Norio Sawabe, Manabu Sakaue
Place of PublicationKobe, Japan
PublisherAPIRA Conference Committee
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventAsia Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (7th : 2013) - Kobe, Japan
Duration: 26 Jul 201328 Jul 2013


ConferenceAsia Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (7th : 2013)
CityKobe, Japan


  • intellectual capital
  • numbers
  • meaning and context
  • accountingisation


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