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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2019

Beibei Yan, Walter Aerts and James Thewissen

This paper aims to investigate the informativeness of rhetorical impression management patterns of CEO letters and examines whether these rhetorical features affect…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the informativeness of rhetorical impression management patterns of CEO letters and examines whether these rhetorical features affect financial analysts’ forecasting behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use textual analysis on a sample of 526 CEO letters of US firms and apply factor analysis on individual linguistic style measures to identify co-occurrence patterns of style features.

Findings

The authors identify three holistic style patterns (assertive acclaiming, cautious plausibility-based framing and logic-based rationalizing) and find that assertive rhetorical feature in CEO letters is negatively related with the dispersion of financial analysts’ earnings forecasts and positively associated with earnings forecast accuracy. CEOs’ use of a rationalizing rhetorical pattern tends to decrease the dispersion of financial analysts’ earnings, whereas a cautious plausibility-based rhetorical position is only marginally instrumental in getting more accurate earnings predictions.

Practical implications

Whilst impression management communication is often theorized as manipulative and void of real information content, the findings suggest that impression management serves both self-presentation and information-sharing purposes.

Originality/value

This paper elaborates on the co-occurrence of style characteristics in management communication and is a first attempt to validate the external ramifications of holistic style profiles of corporate narratives by focusing on an economic target audience.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 20 February 2017

Walter Aerts and Beibei Yan

Using composite style measures of the letter to shareholders, the purpose of this paper is to elaborate dominant rhetorical profiles and qualify them from an impression…

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1865

Abstract

Purpose

Using composite style measures of the letter to shareholders, the purpose of this paper is to elaborate dominant rhetorical profiles and qualify them from an impression management (IM) perspective. In addition, the paper examines how institutional differences affect rhetorical profiles by comparing intensity and contingencies of rhetorical profiles of UK and US companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use automated text analysis to capture linguistic style characteristics of a panel of UK and US companies and employ factor analysis to determine rhetorical profiles. Next, the authors investigate company-level and country-level determinants of a company’s rhetorical stance.

Findings

The authors document three prominent rhetorical profiles: an emphatic acclaiming stance, a cautious plausibility-based framing position, and a logic-based rationalizing orientation. The profiles represent distinct self-presentational logics and have different readability effects. Rhetorical IM is stronger in US companies, but higher expected scrutiny in the US institutional environment affects sensitivity of rhetorical postures to message credibility and litigation risk, while marginally increasing the less litigation-sensitive defensive framing style in US letters.

Originality/value

The authors develop replicable archival-based measures of prominent rhetorical IM traits of the shareholder letter, based on composite style features. The authors argue that they are qualitatively different from content-based IM proxies. The authors investigate their institutional and organizational relevance by examining how company features and country-level differences affect incentives and constraints for style-based rhetorical IM.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 8 November 2019

Lars Alberth

This paper analyses how social workers in the German child protection system rhetorically frame their cases, and how their rhetoric defines its categorical labels…

Abstract

This paper analyses how social workers in the German child protection system rhetorically frame their cases, and how their rhetoric defines its categorical labels corresponding to positions of gender and generation: to what degree are mothers considered as perpetrators and children as victims? Seventy case narrations of social workers on the frontline are analysed regarding the rhetorical idioms they applied. The results show that violence is an irrelevant interpretive framework for the social problems at work in child protection. Instead, irresponsible mothers and their limited agencies are staged front and centre. Categories of limited agency serve as rhetorical devices for the social workers to justify diverse decisions ranging from implementing interventions to terminating the professional-client relationship due to the labelling of the mother as mentally ill. As the rhetorical idiom of unreason does not operate with categories of perpetration and victimization, equivalences for the labels of the practical objectives of victimization are analysed. Consequently, the responsibility of the mother is deflected as her limited agency is seen as a product of troubling conditions. In turn, children are either ignored as victims or even treated as a troubling condition for the mothers’ limited agency. This may lead to the blacking out of the adverse consequences of child abuse and neglect as well as of possible resources for the children to avoid or prevent violent situations. In this way, child protection helps the reproduction of the generational order, which is the basis for child abuse and neglect.

Details

Victim, Perpetrator, or What Else?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-335-8

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Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2013

Szilvia Gyimóthy

The majority of scholarly contributions in tourism social media have focused on assisting practitioners to optimize online platforms or to describe the digital behavior of…

Abstract

The majority of scholarly contributions in tourism social media have focused on assisting practitioners to optimize online platforms or to describe the digital behavior of prospective individual tourists. These studies are dominated by mechanistic ontological frameworks, which take little notice of the inherently social nature of tourism consumption. Acknowledging the sociality of Web 2.0 communications, this chapter explores the potentials of an alternative analytical framework informed by symbolic convergence theory. The linkages between tourism social media, virtual communities, and symbolic convergence processes are illustrated by examples of postings taking place on the Facebook fan site of Roskilde festival. These examples highlight the significance of symbolic communities in shaping the visitor experience against the backdrop of contemporary consumer culture.

Details

Tourism Social Media: Transformations in Identity, Community and Culture
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-213-4

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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2021

Binh Bui, Olayinka Moses and John Dumay

The authors unpack the critical role of rhetoric in developing and justifying the New Zealand (NZ) government's coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown strategy.

Abstract

Purpose

The authors unpack the critical role of rhetoric in developing and justifying the New Zealand (NZ) government's coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

Using Green's (2004) theory of rhetorical diffusion, the authors analysed government documents and media releases before, during and after the lockdown to reconstruct the government's rationale.

Findings

The blending of kairos (sense of urgency and “right” time to act), ethos (emphasis on “saving lives”), pathos (fear of disruption and death) and selective use of health-based logos (shrinking infection rates), prompted fast initial adoption of the lockdown. However, support for the rhetoric wavered post-lockdown as absence of robust logos became apparent to the public.

Research limitations/implications

The authors implicate the role of rhetoric in decision-makers’ ability to successfully elicit support for a new practice under urgency and the right moment to act using emotionalisation and moralisation. The assessment of the NZ government's response strategy provides insights decision-makers could glean in developing policies to tame the virus.

Practical implications

This study’s analysis demonstrates the unsustainability of rhetoric in the absence of reliable information.

Originality/value

The authors demonstrate the consequences of limited (intermittent) evidence and disregard for accounting/accountability data in public policy decisions under a rhetorical strategy.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 5 October 2018

Boas Shamir, Michael B. Arthur and Robert J. House

Despite apparent consensus about the importance of leader rhetoric, the topic has not received systematic attention from leadership scholars. The purpose of this article…

Abstract

Despite apparent consensus about the importance of leader rhetoric, the topic has not received systematic attention from leadership scholars. The purpose of this article is to advance the study of the relationship between rhetorical behavior and charismatic leadership in three ways: first, by presenting theoretically derived propositions about the expected contents of charismatic leaders’ speeches; second, by offering a thematic content analysis of a representative speech by a charismatic orator, in order to demonstrate the content themes suggested by the propositions; and third, by specifying the requirements for more systematic studies of the relationship between speech content and charisma.

Details

Leadership Now: Reflections on the Legacy of Boas Shamir
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-200-0

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2001

Arlene Harvey

Many charismatic leaders are renowned for their exemplary rhetorical skills and powers of persuasion and their sense of drama. Interpreting the charismatic relationship as…

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6629

Abstract

Many charismatic leaders are renowned for their exemplary rhetorical skills and powers of persuasion and their sense of drama. Interpreting the charismatic relationship as a drama invokes a cast of characters, with the charismatic leader and followers as main protagonist and co‐protagonists, respectively, and competitors and opponents as antagonists. Viewing the charismatic relationship from this perspective also suggests tensions and dilemmas that the leader, in particular, must resolve for the drama to have an outcome mutually acceptable to the actors and their audience. This paper describes the kinds of impression management techniques used by Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, a well‐known charismatic leader, to resolve the dilemmas and tensions resulting from the dramatic nature of the charismatic relationship.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2014

Colette Russell and Joanne Meehan

In the UK, major IT public procurement projects regularly fail at significant cost to the taxpayer. The prevalence of these failures presents scholars with a challenge; to…

Abstract

In the UK, major IT public procurement projects regularly fail at significant cost to the taxpayer. The prevalence of these failures presents scholars with a challenge; to both understand their genesis and to facilitate learning and prevention. Functional approaches have revealed numerous determinants of failure ranging from procurement specifications to risk escalation, but true and definitive causes remain elusive. However, since failure is not itself an absolute truth, but rather a concept which is reached when support is withdrawn, the survival of a project depends on there being sufficient belief in its legitimacy. We use critical hermeneutic methods and the conceptual lens of legitimacy to reveal powerful legitimating influences that enable and constrain action, but which are not analysed in the retrospective government inquiries that determine lessons learned.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Trine Dahl and Kjersti Fløttum

The purpose of this paper is to explore how energy companies discursively construct climate change when integrating it into their overall business strategy.

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1000

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how energy companies discursively construct climate change when integrating it into their overall business strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

This linguistic study uses a quantitative/qualitative approach to investigate three instances of recent climate disclosure, climate strategy reports, by the energy majors Statoil (now Equinor), Suncor Energy and Total. The qualitative analysis focuses on how keywords and expressions function in their immediate linguistic context. The discussion takes the socio-political and business context of the companies into account.

Findings

The paper finds that the reports discursively construct climate change in different ways. Total presents climate change primarily as a responsibility the company is ready to take on; Suncor Energy presents it primarily as a business risk; and Statoil as a business opportunity. In the material as a whole, however, the risk representation is the most prevalent.

Research limitations/implications

The material is relatively modest; however, the three reports represent the first comprehensive accounts of how energy players fit climate considerations into their overall strategy. The analysis is based on three search terms (responsibility, risk and opportunity). Further studies should include a broader range of words that may be semantically related to each approach.

Practical implications

The study can inform corporate strategy discussions and indicate the rhetorical implications of discourse-related choices in climate disclosure.

Originality/value

The study deals with very recent corporate disclosure involving an emerging discourse, climate strategy reporting. As the reports represent responses to investor engagement, the findings should also be relevant for studies involving stakeholder perceptions.

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Stefano Zambon and Adele Del Bello

It is commonly recognized that nowadays social and environmental aspects, and more in general stakeholder‐linked issues, are becoming important corporate value drivers. It…

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3671

Abstract

It is commonly recognized that nowadays social and environmental aspects, and more in general stakeholder‐linked issues, are becoming important corporate value drivers. It is also rather clear that there is a strong relationship between the stakeholder perspective, and a number of concepts and practices which stress non‐financial aspects of company behavior, such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability (including environmental respect) and corporate governance. Accordingly, these emerging company ideas and attitudes are here collectively referred to as “stakeholder responsible (or oriented) approaches”. Current literature underlines especially the importance and difficulty of the implementation phase of these approaches into concrete company actions, but it seems to largely overlook the impact which the reporting process has on both concepts and company actions. On the basis of an ad hoc theoretical model, the paper aims to provide insights into the “active role” subtly played by stakeholder oriented reporting (e.g. social and sustainability statements) in constructing and reconstructing the underlying ideas and notions, as well as company behaviors in this field. Far from being a neutral and “passive” mirror of the stakeholder responsible approach implemented, reporting carries out the decisive and constitutive role to concretize abstract concepts, and to visualize company activities, thus substantially contributing to make the “stakeholder philosophy” viable and reliable.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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