Reputation building, website disclosure, and the case of intellectual capital

Indra Abeysekera

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This study investigates into the website disclosures of the 100 most entrepreneurial firms more widely known as the fastest growing companies in Australia recording the highest revenue growth sustained over three years, to examine their influence on the corporate growth aspect of reputation building. The majority of them are small businesses that are not required to prepare annual reports with general purpose financial reports; their primary tool of communication is the company-sponsored websites. They heavily rely on intangibles to propel their corporate growth and assert their distinctive character to stakeholders, and hence are the case of intellectual capital. The study spanning over three continuous years (2005 to 2007), analyses website disclosure of 45 intellectual capital resource items, and examines their relation to reputation building. The statistical analysis using panel data models reveal that combining narrative and visual intellectual capital disclosure on websites enhance corporate reputation. The corporate reputation held in the past does not necessarily result in the current period reputation, indicating firms need to continually work at the corporate growth in the reputation building. A survey questionnaire was mailed to directors of these firms identify corporate culture, customer satisfaction, and staff know-how as most contributing to reputation building. The eighteen focused interviews conducted with directors of firms reveal that the aim of website intellectual capital disclosure is to appear to their major stakeholders (existing and potential; customers and staff) as leaders or differentiators of their industry. Firms considered several factors in making decisions about disclosing intellectual capital resource items on their websites and perceived importance does not necessarily translate into website disclosure. The findings lead to policy recommendations having both managerial and research implications – a dialogue between stakeholders and accounting regulators, conducting an awareness program on website disclosure, guidelines on website disclosure, and encouraging firms to combine disclosure types.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages321
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-85724-506-9
ISBN (Print)978-0-85724-505-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies in managerial and financial accounting


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