A CEO with many messages: Comparing the ideological representations provided by different corporate reports

Mäkelä, Hannele; Laine, Matias
December 2011
Accounting Forum;Dec2011, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p217
Academic Journal
Abstract: This study analyzes how corporate reporting can be used to reinforce particular worldviews in the ongoing discursive debate over sustainability. The use of language is compared in CEO letters from two types of disclosures: the annual and sustainability reports of two Finnish companies during 2000–2009. The analysis is based on schema regarding the modes of ideology. Significant differences are noted; the CEO letters in the annual reports prominently use the economic discourse of growth and profitability, but they rely on the ‘well-being’ discourse in the sustainability reports. Despite the difference in discourse, by using different forms of ideological strategies, both types of disclosure serve the dominant social paradigm. The findings presented in this study highlight the need to further develop corporate sustainability reporting practices.


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