Intellectual capital measurement practices in the Swedish banking sector : An explorative study
Sammanfattning: Ever since its conception, Intellectual Capital has undergone substantial transformation both in terms of its general definition and its prevalence in external reports. Although consistently focusing on intangibles, over time, intellectual capital has become an area focused on intangibles in accordance with the basic principles of the Resource-Based View regarding how assets can be used to acquire sustainable superior performance. Proponents of intellectual capital adhere to its framework and classification of different intangibles, claiming that it offers increased understanding as to how value is derived from intangible assets. The understanding of the measurement and subsequent reporting of intellectual capital being value creating is, however, a disputed claim. The field of intellectual capital has also been stated to be suffering from a lack of empirical studies focused on specific sectors. Although organisations from among the banking sector have been included in empirical studies within the realm of intellectual capital, there are few such studies which include Swedish banks, let alone studies focused on the Swedish bank sector. The question of whether organisations among the Swedish banking sector are dedicating themselves towards measuring intangible assets included in the intellectual capital framework has so far not been closely studied. Neither has a study focused on exploring the underlying motivations as to why organisations within this sector would choose to dedicate themselves to such work been made. By means of a qualitative research method focused on interviews with respondents from three banks belonging to the Swedish banking sector, this study demonstrates that although intellectual capital is virtually unknown within the sector, examples of the organisations’ measuring practises of intangibles included in the intellectual capital framework are numerous. By implementing resourced-based view and legitimacy theory, the primary motivation behind organisations implementing such measurements is suggested to primarily be to better understand and utilise the resource. The findings of this study also suggest that disclosure of intellectual capital is not viewed as legitimising, despite similarities between organisations in the sector leading to expressed wishes of certain intangibles being disclosed for differentiation purposes.
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