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Intellectual capital reports in India: lessons from a case study

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Purpose ‐ In 1994 the Swedish insurance company Skandia published the first intellectual capital report. Following these steps, other European companies decided to report on intangible resources. The Indian company, Reliance Industries Limited, published the first Indian intellectual capital report in 1997. Later other Indian companies also started to build and publish this new type of corporate report. Now the question is: are there any differences between Indian intellectual capital reports and European intellectual capital reports? If so, what ideas can be derived from these differences? Design/methodology/approach ‐ A case study was carried out to analyse how Indian firms build the intellectual capital report. In particular three leading Indian firms were selected: Reliance Industries Limited, Balrampur Chini Mills, and Shree Cement Limited. Findings ‐ The paper offers insights into how leading Indian firms measure and report knowledge-based resources. The Indian intellectual capital report does not focus on the business model, values, mission and vision and/or knowledge management issues as in the case of European intellectual capital reports. It presents a "narrative" style. This is a major distinctive feature of Indian reports. Practical implications ‐ The case study may help other companies to build the intellectual capital report. As the paper also provides a comparative view of Indian and European intellectual capital reports, managers can decide which approach better fits their firms. Originality/value ‐ Most papers on intellectual capital measuring and reporting focus on European firms. However, this pioneer paper offers some insights into the reporting of intellectual capital in Indian companies.

Keywords: Case studies; India; Intangible assets; Intellectual capital

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14691930510574717

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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