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Extending Intellectual Capital Through Integrated Reporting

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Intellectual Capital

Guest Editors:
Subhash Abhayawansa, Senior Lecturer in Accounting, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
James Guthrie, Professor of Accounting, Macquarie University, Australia
Cristiana Bernardi, Lecturer in Accounting, The Open University Business School, United Kingdom

Why a special issue on extending intellectual through integrated reporting?
Integrated reporting is gaining popularity globally (Dumay et al., 2016). In contrast, after beginning at Skandia in 1994, the practice of preparing intellectual capital (IC) statements has ceased, at least, among listed companies (Dumay, 2016). As a result, it is possible that measuring IC within organisations for internal management decision-making has lessened. However, integrated reporting may offer new opportunities for IC measurement, management, and reporting. According to the International Framework integrated reporting includes disclosure on intellectual (or structural), human, social and relational capital along with the financial, natural and manufactured capitals. Thus, what has been traditionally termed IC accounts for three of the six capitals now are part of the Framework.

The concept of integrated thinking introduced in the Framework can act as a means of integrating IC into many aspects of business, including decision making (Feng et al., 2017).  The Framework advocates the interaction of IC with physical, natural and financial capitals and the role of IC in the wider eco-system and sustainable development – the fourth stage of intellectual capital explained by Dumay and Garanina (2013). In these and other ways integrated reporting may overcome several problems that were associated with approaches to IC measurement, management and reporting that arguably contributed to the demise of IC statements (Abhayawansa, 2014; Nielsen et al., 2017).

Research on integrated reporting is growing (de Villiers et al., 2016). The focus of this research has been around the links to sustainability and benefits and drawbacks of integrated reporting. The existing empirical research has ignored the integrated reporting’s nexus with IC. Some exceptions are Melloni (2015); Setia et al. (2015); Ahmed Haji and Anifowose (2017). These studies focus on either South Africa where listed companies are recommended to prepare integrated reports on an “apply and explain” basis or participants of the business network pilot program of the IIRC. Thus, there is much to be learned on the IC-integrated reporting nexus in different contexts.

Studies that explore this nexus can enhance our understanding of integrated reporting in practice (Guthrie et al., 2012) as a basis for exploring how integrared reporting affects wider economic, social and environemental concerns. Additionally, any evidence of improvements in IC measurement, management, and reporting and increased usefulness of IC information resulting from integrated reporting may bring legitimacy to the IIRC and the Framework. Currently, there is a need for research that can develop understandings about integrated reporting as a field, and as an area of multi-disciplinary and multi-focused research.

The aim of this JIC special issue is to provide a specialised outlet for more empirical work on the link between integrated reporting, integrated thinking and IC as a practice, and its impacts. We believe that the discourse around integrated reporting has not been grounded on sufficient substantial empirical evidence, and its relevance is yet to be confirmed (Dumay, 2016; Dumay et al., 2016). As IC is an interdisciplinary field, submissions to this JIC special issue are encouraged to contribute towards a multi-disciplinary understanding of integrated reporting and expand the boundaries of IC research (Cuozzo et al., 2017; Dumay et al., Forthcoming). It is also timely to update the IC literature in the age of integrated reporting.

Key topics of interest:
We welcome submissions which explore, but not restricted to, the following aspects of the linkages between IC and integrated reporting and integrated thinking:

•    Extent and quality of integrated reporting practices of organisations in for-profit, public and not-for-profit sectors and the place of IC reporting in such reporting practices.
•    Antecedents and implications of IC measurement, management and reporting through integrated reporting.
•    Benefits accruing to firms adopting integrated reporting with an emphasis on IC.
•    The consideration of IC in the practice of integrated thinking and its relationship with integrated reporting, and firm performance.
•    Implementation of the Framework issued by the IIRC and how to disclose IC within the Framework.
•    Incorporating human, structural, social and relation relational and natural capital within integrated reports.
•    The role (or displacement) of IC measurement, management and reporting within organisations adopting integrated reporting.
•    The role and impact of IC and knowledge management in the facilitation of integrated thinking and reporting.
•    Discharge of accountability relating to IC in public and non-for-profit institutions through integrated reporting.
•    Value relevance and capital market implications of IC disclosure in the context of integrated reporting.
•    Changes in IC measurement, management, and reporting that is brought about by integrated reporting.
•    Usefulness of IC information communicated through integrated reports.
•    Whether the usefulness of IC information to internal and external stakeholders has changed because of integrated reporting.
•    Use of integrated reporting by various organisational stakeholders in for-profit, public, and not-for-profit sectors to understand organisational value creation.

Submission instructions:
The closing date for submission for this special issue is 30 May 2018. Manuscripts should be submitted via ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available at Please choose the special issue from the list when submitting. Please check the author guidelines before submitting. All papers will be reviewed in accordance with JIC’s normal review process. The Guest Editors welcome enquiries in advance of submission and declarations of interests. Enquiries can be sent for the attention of the Guest Editors to: [email protected] 

Abhayawansa, S. (2014), "A review of guidelines and frameworks on external reporting of intellectual capital", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 100-141.
Ahmed Haji, A. and Anifowose, M. (2017), “Initial trends in corporate disclosures following the introduction of integrated reporting practice in South Africa”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 373-399.
Cuozzo, B., Dumay, J., Palmaccio, M. and Lombardi, R. (2017), “Intellectual capital disclosure: a structured literature review”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 9-28.
de Villiers, C., Venter, E. R. and Hsiao, P.-C. K. (2016), “Integrated reporting: background, measurement issues, approaches and an agenda for future research”, Accounting & Finance. doi:10.1111/acfi.12246
Dumay, J. (2016), “A critical reflection on the future of intellectual capital: from reporting to disclosure”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 168-184.
Dumay, J., Bernardi, C., Guthrie, J. and Demartini, P. (2016), “Integrated Reporting: A structured literature review”, Accounting Forum, Vol. 40 No. 2016, pp. 166-185.
Dumay, J. and Garanina, T. (2013), “Intellectual capital research: a critical examination of the third stage”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 10-25.
Dumay, J., Guthrie, J. and Rooney, J. (Forthcoming), “The Critical Path of Intellectual Capital”, in J. Dumay, Ricceri, F. Guthrie, J. and Christian Nielsen (Ed), The Routledge Companion to Intellectual Capital: Frontiers of Research, Practice and Knowledge, Routledge London.
Feng, T., Cummings, L. and Tweedie, D. (2017), “Exploring integrated thinking in integrated reporting – an exploratory study in Australia”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 330-353.
Guthrie, J., Ricceri, F. and Dumay, J. (2012), “Reflections and projections: A decade of intellectual capital accounting research”, The British Accounting Review, Vol. 44 No. 2, pp. 68-92.
Melloni, G. (2015), “Intellectual capital disclosure in integrated reporting: an impression management analysis”, Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 661-680.
Nielsen, C., Roslender, R. and Schaper, S. (2017), “Explaining the demise of the intellectual capital statement in Denmark”, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 38-64.
Setia, N., Abhayawansa, S., Joshi, M. and Huynh, A. V. (2015), “Integrated reporting in South Africa: Initial evidence”, Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 397-242.