Fund Managers as Cultured Observers
Abstract: During the last few decades, Intellectual Capital (IC) has been recognized as an important resource in firms. In order to improve IC reporting, a number of guidelines have been initiated in Europe and in Japan. The capital market has been one important target group for these initiatives. However, actors on the capital market seem to be ambivalent towards IC information. They both demand and find such information useful, and at the same time, they seem to lack interest in it.This thesis contains five papers that aim to explore how actors on the capital market deal with IC information. A qualitative research approach is applied involving interviews with 14 fund managers in Stockholm. In the analysis of the data, fund managers are seen as ‘cultured observers’, meaning they are influenced by social forces when they observe IC information. Three social forces were identified as being imposed on the respondents. These forces represent social logics that are created in the relationship between the fund managers and· the organization in which they work· the market price and rationale· the agendas around certain companiesThe seemingly increased complexity of IC information does not always bother fund managers. The rationale of interacting social networks reduces this complexity in order for the information to make sense in their meaning-based reproduction.With respect to ethical funds, this thesis suggests that the rationales of the three social forces above do not seem to have changed in order to include social aspects. Instead, these aspects are taken care of elsewhere in organizations, leaving fund managers outside of their potential for compromising market rationales. Furthermore, fund managers tend to reduce the complexity of information concerning personnel and the working environment by depending on having the right management in organisations.This thesis contributes by increasing our understanding of how the social environment influences fund managers when they observe IC information. By regarding fund managers as ‘cultured observers’ it explores how complexity is dealt with, an approach that contrasts with assumptions within finance theory about profit maximizing actors. Here, the market price and rationale represent one social force among many.
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