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Intellectual capital disclosure on Twitter – empirical evidence from the world’s largest companies

Łukasz Bryl, Justyna Fijałkowska, Dominika Hadro
Published: 13 December 2021
 by  Emerald

Abstract: Purpose: This study aims to examine intellectual capital disclosure (ICD) on Twitter by 60 of the world’s largest companies and explains the main themes communicated to stakeholders. The second objective is to determine which topics provoke most stakeholders’ reactions. Design/methodology/approach: The authors perform content analysis on more than 42,000 tweets to examine ICD practices along with the reactions of stakeholders in the form of retweets and “favorites” toward the information disclosed. Findings: Intellectual capital (IC) is an important theme in corporate disclosure practices, as more than one-third of the published tweets refer to IC. The world’s largest companies focus on relational capital information, followed by human and structural capital. The main IC themes disclosed were management philosophy, corporate reputation and business partnering. Tweets related to IC are of greater interest to stakeholders than other tweets and provoke more reactions. There is no complete consistency between the topics most intensively disclosed by companies and those that elicit the most vivid responses from the addressees. Practical implications: This study offers an understanding of the world’s largest companies’ practices that refer to ICD via social media and has implications for organizations in the creation and use of communication channels when developing a dialogue with stakeholders on topics regarding IC that may lead to better management of IC performance. Originality/value: This paper is a response to the call for studies on ICD via social media, which is strongly highlighted in the recent literature concerning future research on IC and until now was almost absent in the field of business units. This research provides in-depth insights into the use of Twitter to disclose IC elements and indicates which fields and topics of this disclosure provoke stakeholders’ reactions, which is a novelty in ICD studies.
Keywords: Intellectual capital / Disclosure / Social media / Twitter / Stakeholder’s reaction

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