Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the human capital (HC) value creation practices of knowledge‐based software and service exporter industry in India.
Design/methodology/approach: The study used HC disclosure attributes as a tool to the contents of the annual reports for the year 2003‐2004, to evaluate the type and amount of HC disclosed by the software firms. The study also conducted semi‐structured interviews with the heads of human resources (HR) of 14 software firms to obtain a greater understanding of the similarities between reporting and managed HC practices.
Findings: The study identified most reported and least reported attributes of HC using content analysis and explained their reporting of value creation using interviews and resource‐based view. The findings suggest that the HC reporting practices were consistent with interview findings. The frequency of HC attributes reported followed the extent of the management's perception of HC value creation to the firm.
Research limitations/implications: The limitations of the study are: first, it is a cross‐sectional study; second, the findings may be applicable exclusively to the software and service industry in India and cannot be generalised to other industries in India or software industry in other countries; third, the assertions by the HR heads are assumed to faithfully reflect the firm's HC practices; fourth, the study assumes that annual reports are the primary documents available to public (stakeholders) requiring information on the firms.
Originality/value: This study provides an insight into the HC reporting practices of the nascent software and service exporter industry in India that is experiencing an economic boom that is positively influenced by the information technology software industry. This study throws light on the utilization of HC for value creation by the top software firms. This may help countries having tie‐up with Indian firms to understand the value creation process of these firms to sustain growth. The study would enable other software firms to understand HC reporting practices of the industry, and could use a framework that is similar to the framework used in this study.