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Siavash Karami, Alireza Vafaei ORCID logo


Australian universities are the major exporter of higher education in the country. As knowledge producers, they face the challenges of globalization, and the financial resources needed to maintain their competitive advantage. The current funding systems that use traditional resources like students’ fees and government grants are unable to meet these requirements. This could well force Australian universities to improve their structures; aiming for a higher international standard and recognition of a more visible and dynamic competitive system to attract funds. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the level of intellectual capital disclosure and the existence of any standalone intellectual capital report (ICR) by Australian universities. Four universities from the eight leading Australian universities known as the Group of Eight (Go8) have been chosen at random for this study. The universities in the Group of Eight compared to other Australian universities are highly research-concentrated and subsequently, have valued reputations.
Findings indicate that sample universities disclose some intellectual capital information via their annual reports. However, there has been no attempt, at the institutional or systems-wide level, to produce a standalone intellectual capital report (ICR) with standard indicators. In fact, a low rate of innovation, poor human resources and a weak relationship with business need a new managerial approach. Accordingly, results suggest a change within the current system. This study strongly recommends Australian universities to utilize a universal framework for measuring, managing and reporting of intellectual capital information to meet the global and competitive challenges ahead. Currently, European universities – as Australian competitors - are required to disclose a standalone intellectual capital report to construct a harmonized national university system. Theoretical implications of this paper assist with the classification and search for appropriate indicators for measurement and disclosure of Intellectual capital in universities. The practical implication of this paper could be of interest to many different parties, such as institutional investors, managers, policy makers and university scholars.

Keywords: Intellectual Capital, Higher-Education, Australian Universities, Intellectual Capital Reporting

How to cite this paper: Karami, S., & Vafaei, A. (2014). Australian universities and intellectual capital reporting: Case study: The group of eight. Corporate Ownership & Control, 11(4-2), 288-295.