Accounting for information: Information and knowledge in the annual reports of FTSE 100 companies

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Cummins, J. ; Bawden, D. (2010)

The purpose of this study was to assess the ways in which a sample group of companies discuss information and knowledge.\ud \ud Quantitative and qualitative content analyses were used to survey the way that companies present and value information and knowledge, based on the annual reports of the FTSE 100, the United Kingdom's largest publicly-listed companies. A novel content analysis approach is used, based on a set of categories proposed by Oppenheim, Stenson and Wilson.\ud \ud Many of the companies analysed made explicit the importance of information and knowledge, through either discussion in the text of the annual report or through an attempt to assign a monetary value to information assets. Where the importance of information and knowledge was not made explicit, the study revealed links between successful performance and effective use of information assets. Different categories of information assets were identified within the annual reports.\ud \ud Conclusions drawn from the analysis include that information and knowledge are demonstrably important to FTSE 100 companies, although the specific term “knowledge” does not appear to have a special significance in the companies’ lexicon; and that certain sectors, such as General Financial, General Retail, Travel & Leisure, Mining, Aerospace & Defence and Software & Computer Services, mention information and knowledge more than others.
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