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Human capital disclosures in developing countries: Figureheads and value creators

Huang, Ching Choo; Haniffa, Roszaini; Huang, Ching; Luther, Robert; Haniffa, Rosaini; Tayles, Michael


Ching Choo Huang

Roszaini Haniffa

Ching Huang

Robert Luther

Rosaini Haniffa

Michael Tayles


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore if any disparity exists between human capital information desired by financial analysts and fund managers and actual disclosure of such information in company annual reports, in the context of developing countries. Design/methodology/approach - Financial analysts and fund managers were interviewed to obtain opinions on the importance attributed to human capital information and whether their desired information is disclosed in the annual reports. Content analysis was then used to assess the extent and nature of human capital information actually provided in the annual reports of 100 listed companies in Malaysia. Findings - Interviewees seek information on company management and key corporate decision makers who could provide a firm with competitive advantage. However, the human capital information provided is limited, and tends to focus on directors, many of whom may be figureheads with little impact on the way companies are run and in creating value for the firm. Accordingly, analysts rely on alternative sources to get their desired information - a costly process for private shareholders. Originality/value - The paper contributes to the literature on the demand for, and disclosure of, human capital information in the context of developing countries. It identifies the inadequacy of current human capital disclosure practices in company annual reports. The authors theorise that in developing countries, resource dependence, legitimacy-seeking and "culture" cause companies to pay relatively more attention to figureheads than value creators. Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.


Haniffa, R., Huang, C. C., Huang, C., Luther, R., Tayles, M., & Haniffa, R. (2013). Human capital disclosures in developing countries: Figureheads and value creators. Journal of Applied Accounting Research, 14(2), 180-196.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 9, 2013
Journal Journal of Applied Accounting Research
Print ISSN 0967-5426
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 2
Pages 180-196
Keywords human capital disclsoures, developing countries
Public URL
Publisher URL


jaar2010TextFinal.doc (303 Kb)

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