Indicators: on visualizing, classifying and dramatizing

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ This study aims to follow the development of human intellectual capital indicators over a six-year period and to bring forward the production, transmission and reception of indicators in order to interpret the ambitions and technological and programmatic properties that characterize the development of the indicators. The case builds around an organization that collects human resource data from various organizations and redistributes indicators for benchmarking purposes. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper is based on a case, complemented with a survey. The design of the study is labeled as a case story, since it does not emphasize the organization itself, but rather the empirical material is analyzed to illustrate the production, transmission and reception of human capital measurements. The study thus follows the evolution of indicators in an organization specializing in human intellectual capital indicators. Findings ‐ The main conclusion of the study is that indicators may legitimize, serve as a heuristic tool for learning or mobilize the organization. The paper also suggests that human intellectual capital indicators may be produced, transmitted and received differently in relation to their technological and programmatic logics. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study suggests that there is a need to develop a theory of indicators. Originality/value ‐ By emphasizing that not all that gets measured gets managed the paper's classification makes it possible to understand how indicators may contribute to the organization in different ways.

Keywords: Classification; Human capital; Intellectual capital; Measuring instruments

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14691930610661854

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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