The significance of IC indicators for the creation and maintenance of a trustworthy reputation

Philipp Bahr

Student thesis: Master thesis


Researchers have long demanded more accountability and transparency with regard to corporate actions. Nowadays, their enthusiasm, especially concerning voluntary corporate procedures to provide more information through, for instance, the disclosure of IC indicators, has transformed into skepticism (Madsen & Nielsen, 2009; Swift, 2001). That kind of skepticism is based on concerns, that especially the voluntary provision of corporate information results to an information overload (Nielsen & Madsen, 2009), a distraction from negative news (Brown & Deegan, 1998; Williams, 2001) etc. Additionally, Swift adds to those criticisms that there is a need to investigate the stakeholder dialogue tools, such as IC indicators (Marr et al., 2003) that influence the range of vulnerability between stakeholders and organizations and she stresses thereby the fact, that there are differences between stakeholders in terms of their stakes (Swift, 2001). In alignment with Swift's demand, the Master thesis attempted to investigate, if the disclosure of the same/similar and different IC indicators between Novo Nordisk, Novozymes and Coloplast is the result of management assessments concerning the importance of certain stakeholder groups and in how far do the three sample companies use IC indicators as tools for the creation and maintenance of a trustworthy reputation which ensures that those high important stakeholder groups trust Novo Nordisk, Novozymes and Coloplast? By answering the research question, two major findings emerged. First of all, all three companies provided, as a consequence of their stakeholder assessments, a common set of the same or similar IC indicators for transforming regulatory bodies' distrust into a lack of distrust. Secondly, the three companies disclosed different IC indicators to provide an overload of positive information for distracting from negative company news and for presenting themselves in a very favorable light with the intention to redeem a potential lack of trust among their most important primary stakeholders.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages88