Soft Regulating Intangibles Reporting: Rationales, Processes, and Consequences.

Laura Girella


The thesis aims to explore the economic, political and social premises according to which some governmental agencies have decided to promote Intellectual Capital (or Intangibles) Reporting in their countries. Firstly, it will examine the contextual premises and conditions that have encouraged (or inhibited) Intangibles reporting. Secondly, it will investigate the way these premises and conditions interact in different ways, through the actors involved, both within and outside countries, thus establishing (loosely) coupled relationships nationally and internationally. The relationship between IC recommendation for corporate reporting, governmental and contextual linkages will be analysed from different perspectives, namely political economy, legitimacy and institutional theory (Chapter 2) and in dis(similar) countries, namely Japan (Chapter 3) and Germany (Chapter 4). The investigation has been mainly centred on the examination of documents published by governmental agencies, and a number of interviews with high-level individuals, many of whom were directly involved in the development of the reporting practices in question. In light of the relationship that the thesis will establish between different regulatory theories and ways of conduct in (dis-)similar nations (Chapter 5), IC will be understood not as a merely corporate neutral technique but as an economic and socially constructed phenomenon aimed at re-launching the growth of a country. This way, it will be explored from both within – in terms of methods and their usefulness for its “supporters” – and also externally – in relation to how it is perceived and in turn communicated by politicians who are “delegates of different cognitive and social institutions” (Manninen, 1996). In other words, its potential to serve public interest will be here advocated.

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ISSN: 1974-918X