The design, implementation and use of intellectual capital measurements: a case study

Chiucchi Maria Serena, Giuliani Marco, Marasca Stefano

Some would argue that during the last few decades the studies on IC measurements have mainly been focused on the design and implementation of accounting concepts, methods and tools while little attention has been devoted to the understanding of what happens to the measurements after they are ‘produced’, i.e. how measurements are used.

Stemming from these considerations, the aim of this paper is to reflect on the relationship between design, implementation and use of IC measurements in practice. In order to achieve this aim, we present a longitudinal case study referred to the design, implementation and use (or non–use) of an IC measurement and reporting system.

The main findings are the following. First, measuring can lead to the emergence of new managerial objects. Second, it seems that in the IC discourse numbers are relevant not only for sizing but also for creating an IC dimension to be managed. Third, the use of measurements do not necessarily follow their production but can be instead, simultaneous. With reference to single indicators, the following considerations emerge. First, the inclusion of ‘old’ indicators within the IC measurement system can lead to a change in their meaning. Second, the use of the measurements depends on how they are labelled, too. Third, in an IC project, more than the ‘result’ it is the activated understanding and learning process that matters.

Chiucchi M.S., Giuliani M., Marasca S. (2014), The design, implementation and use of intellectual capital measurement: a case study, Management Control, Special Issue 2, pp. 143-168. Doi: 10.3280/MACO2014-002007