Purpose - Even though a number of studies have shown the presence of IC in corporate disclosures (Abdolmohammadi, 2005; Garcia-Meca, 2005) and the importance of IC for capital market actors (Garcia-Meca & Martinez, 2007; Holland, 2006), little is known of how firms mobilise their IC in order for the capital market to embrace it and consider it to be an important part of the financial information. As a contrast to much of the functionalistic research in IC (Abhayawansa & Guthrie, 2010), this paper follow Mouritsen's (2006) performative approach. A performative approach does not assume items to have immutable essences but are instead interested in how things are mobilised and translated in order to promote action (Latour, 1987). The aim of this paper is to lend support to the performativity of IC and to explore how managers are mobilising non-financials when explaining financial performance. Design/Methodology/Approach - An opportunity to analyse this lies in the earnings announcement and its concurrent conference call. These are some of the most important disclosure for the capital market (Hollander, Pronk, & Roelofsen, 2010; Landsman & Maydew, 2002); yet it has not been given equal attention in the field of IC. Amongst other things, "[t]hey are the analysts' first opportunity to absorb any element of 'news' in the financial statements [. . .]" (Barker, 1998, p.12). The findings are gathered from a qualitative study of the disclosures of three Swedish companies' in different industries (one online-gaming company, one bank and one pharmaceutical company), primarily chosen for their high access to historical conference calls. In total, 36 conference calls and earnings announcements in the period of 2009-2011 were analysed. The findings from the disclosures were complemented with a total of 7 interviews, in order to widen the findings and acquire insight into practitioners' view of the disclosures. Originality/Value - Whereas most studies on IC-disclosures have been conducted using a functionalist approach, this paper adopts a performative stance and a qualitative research approach. Instead of assuming IC to have immutable essences, this paper builds on Mouritsen et al. (2001) and Mouritsen (2006) and argues that IC is what it has come to be in the situation at hand. Many studies on IC-disclosures have also examined annual reports (e.g. Abdolmohammadi, 2005; Brannstrom, Catasus, Giuliani, & Grojer, 2009) due to the disclosure's extensive size and central position within accounting. Few studies have however investigated the earnings announcements' role when communicating IC. There is neither much knowledge on how the report and the conference call complement each other in financial and non-financial matters. Earlier literature has highlighted the disclosures' individual importance (e.g. Garcia-Meca, 2005; Kimbrough, 2005) but there are few studies on their impact and usage in combination with one another. Practical Implications - The findings will nuance the view of IC-disclosures, enhance the understanding of how non-financial topics are mobilised to the capital market and problematize current approaches used to inquire into IC. The study also highlights the importance of meeting capital market actors at the conference calls and offers insights for managers in how to present their non-financial information.
2012. 593-621 p.
7th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics (IFKAD) and 5th Knowledge Cities World Summit (KCWS), Matera, Italy, June 13-15, 2012