Understanding intellectual capital disclosure in online media Big Data: An exploratory case study in a university

Valentina Ndou*, Giustina Secundo, John Dumay, Elvin Gjevori

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Intellectual capital disclosure (ICD) in universities is gaining increasing attention, especially through the adoption of innovative technologies. Online media, as a relevant source of Big Data, is shifting ICD. The purpose of this paper is to explore how Big Data generated through online media, such as websites and platforms like Facebook, can be used as rich sources of data and viable disclosure channels for ICD in a university. 

Design/methodology/approach: This is an exploratory case study, following the methodology in Yin (2014), that examines how online media data contributes to closing the ICD gap. The IC disclosed through different online media channels by a private university in Albania is analysed using Secundo et al.’s (2016) collective intelligence framework. The online data sources include the university’s website, Facebook page, periodic reports and statements outlining future goals.

Findings: What the authors discover in this research is that IC is an important part of how universities operate, and IC is communicated through social media, although unintentionally. However, this only serves to highlight the importance of IC, and if researchers want to discover IC and understand how it works in an organisation, they need to include social media and a prime resource for developing that understanding.

Research limitations/implications: Most importantly, the findings add to a growing consensus that ICD researchers, and researchers in other management and accounting disciplines, who traditionally rely on annual corporate social responsibility and other periodic reports, they need to change their medium of analysis because these reports no longer can be relied on to understand IC and its impact on an organisation. 

Originality/value: Online media tools and the advent of Big Data have created new opportunities for universities to disclose their IC information to stakeholders in a timely manner and to gain relevant insights into their impact on the society. The originality of the paper resides in the contribution of Big Data to the ICD research stream.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-530
Number of pages32
JournalMeditari Accountancy Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2018


  • Albania
  • Big Data
  • Intellectual capital
  • Intellectual capital disclosure
  • online media
  • University


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