Rethinking the dissemination of management fashion: accounting for 'intellectual capital' in UK case firms

Robin Fincham, Robin Roslender

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    In research on management knowledge, a tension often exists between perspectives that stress the effects of structural and institutional forces on the spread of new knowledge within managerial communities versus a more action-focused and organizationally embedded perspective on dissemination. This article contributes to the critique of dissemination theory by exploring the fashion for Intellectual Capital Accounting. ICA is a set of accounting models for managing knowledge-based assets and represents a poorly institutionalized variable type of fashion. The findings from case studies of ICA in six UK firms are at variance with the image of packages of knowledge being transferred into organizations. They confirm a process of dissemination that was much more a function of operational constraints and the level to which internal controls had developed; firms seemed to come to ideas via distinctive processes internally constructed around current problems and agendas, technical constraints, and the actions of a range of sponsoring groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)321-336
    Number of pages16
    JournalManagement Learning
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


    • Dissemination
    • Intellectual capital
    • Management fashion
    • Management knowledge


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