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Intellectual capital reporting in Sri Lanka with a focus on human capital (1998-2000)

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posted on 2022-03-29, 01:35 authored by Indra Abeysekera
This study examines and explains the intellectual capital reporting (ICR) practices, with a human capital (HumC) focus, of firms located in a developing nation, Sri Lanka. The study ascertained the following: first, to what extent the industry groups, based on the number of shareholders, differ in their ICR practices; and second, to what extent firms in Sri Lanka differfrom counterparts in other nations in their ICR practices. -- The literature reviewed highlighted the voluntary nature and unregulated nvironment of ICR. It also underlined the inability of traditional accounting to recognise IC within its financial statements. This has lead to a plethora of non-uniform definitions of intellectual capital (IC) and ICR, and a wide range of theoretical frameworks available for IC. -- This thesis examined the top 30 firms by market capitalisation listed on the Colombo stock exchange in both 1998/1999 and 1999/2000. It reviewed their annual reports using content analysis to analyse the type and amount ofIC reported, and carried out 11 case study interviews with directors and senior executives to analyse the type and amount of IC managed within the firms. Using this data, this study tested the political economy of accounting (PEA) theory. The study collapsed the firms into four industry groups based on the number of areholders; this was done on the basis that the number of shareholders of a firm influences their ICR practice. -- The results indicate that, overall, there were distinct differences in ICR practice between industry groups. The industry groups were found to report similarly in relation to IC category. However, in relation to IC elements the industry groups were found to report differently, with some industry groups over reporting on certain elements which were not well managed and vice versa. The differences in ICR practices indicate that industry groups use ICR to mediate the agenda of debate between them and their economic, social and political constituents to maximise their capital reproduction. The study also indicates that differences exist in ICR practices between firms located in Sri Lanka and firms in other nations in relation to both IC categories and IC elements. These differences are attributed to the unique economic, social and political context of each country.


Table of Contents

Overview -- Literature review of intellectual capital reporting with a human capital focus -- Forces shaping intellectual capital reporting in Sri Lanka -- Reseach method -- Political economy of accounting reporting theory -- Hypothesis development and data interpretation -- Results of hypothesis testing --Interpretation of results -- Conclusions.


"December 2003". Bibliography: p. 210-272

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Graduate School of Management

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

James Guthrie


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Sri Lanka


xvii, 383 p., ill

Former Identifiers

mq:3114 1285328