Why do firms disclose and not disclose structural intangibles?

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This study conducts 22 interviews with the directors of 11 firms chosen from the top 30 listed firms by market capital on the Colombo Stock Exchange, with each firm representing an industry. The interviews explore senior executives' views about disclosing the structural intangibles in annual reports to attract financial investments. The study identifies 20 intangible resources in 10 intangible classes. It analyzes the interview data using latent thematic analysis and explores them as responses to social, political, and economic interest groups. Corroborating interview data with annual report data, this study identifies five broad reasons for disclosure and non-disclosure. Build empathy, show they are good corporate citizens, win government support, and build confidence are about disclosure, and divert attention from issues at hand is about non-disclosure. This study finds that disclosure results in managing legitimacy of the social and political interest groups, and also in managing impressions of the economic interest group. Non-disclosure results in managing impressions of the social and political interest groups. The findings contribute to building an evidence-led theoretical connection to understand the structural intangibles disclosed and not disclosed to attract financial investment to firms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-393
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Accounting
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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