Reporting the Intangibles and Sustainability Among Vietnamese Firms

Ms Le Thu Nga Pham
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In the new economy, competition has changed. Firms cannot only rely on competitive advantages of the tangibles. Intangible and intellectual assets, like human, structure, and relationship have become the core of sustainability. Western literature indicates that despite its importance, firms find it difficult to adequately report about intellectual capital to stakeholders.

In Vietnam, since the Doi Moi program in 1986, the Vietnamese economy has undergone significant structural changes. After the mid 1990s, moving away from agriculture, manufacturing and industrial production, the service sector has boomed in banking, finance, information technology, media, professional services and tourism. In these sectors, intellectual capital plays a large role. Intellectual capital builds up firms' competency and forms the firms' attitude toward the society. It is the human, structural and relational assets that help the firms to fullfill their social responsibility and other commitments to sustainability.

However, there is little research on intellectual capital in Vietnam and hence, a questionable understanding of intellectual capital by Vietnamese managers. This paper explores the gaps in their perception of intellectual capital and its contribution to firms' value and sustainability, the practice of intellectual capital reporting and sustainability reporting, the challenges of applying Western practices of intellectual capital management in Vietnamese firms and the structural issues relating to intellectual capital in the context of an emerging economy of Vietnam.

The data used for the paper has been collected from more than 100 firms in Vietnam in July 2005. Data from survey questionnaires have been supplemented by indepth interviews with business managers in diffirent areas of tourism, banking, telecommunication, trade and services and construction. The paper presents a combination of qualitative and quantitative data.

Keywords: intellectual capital, sustainability reporting, Vietnamese firms
Stream: Economic Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Ms Le Thu Nga Pham

Deputy Dean, The School of Management and Tourism, Hanoi University of Foreign Studies
Viet Nam

1. December 2001 - present : Deputy Dean, Lecturer in Economics and Finance, Faculty of Management & Tourism, Hanoi University of Foreign Studies, Vietnam
- Lecturer of Macroeconomics, Microeconomics and Corporate Finance and Principles of Marketing.
- The Center for Education and International Exchange (CIEE - USA: Lecturer of Vietnam Economic Development (for American exchange students from California University in Hanoi)
2. August 2003- present: Academic Manager, La Trobe –HUFS joint DBA and BBUS program
- Coordinating the subjects of DBA and BBUS by Australian and Vietnamese lecturers.
3. May 2002 – Present: English Simultaneous Interpreter
Interdisciplinary Research Methodology in Social Sciences, Organized by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and The American Social Sciences Research Council, sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
4. December 2001 : Director Assistant
Rural Development Services Centre, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Ref: S06P0200