Ethos, logos, pathos: Strategies of persuasion in social/environmental reports

Higgins, Colin; Walker, Robyn
September 2012
Accounting Forum;Sep2012, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p194
Academic Journal
Abstract: We demonstrate how persuasive strategies activate the ‘middle ground’ discourses of responsible and sustainable business constructed in three social/environmental reports. Drawing on insights from impression management and communication studies, and Kenneth Burke''s understanding that rhetoric is all pervasive, we focus on Aristotle''s rhetorical ‘proofs’: ethos (credibility), logos (reason), and pathos (emotion). We study the social/environmental reports produced by three New Zealand companies during a wider discursive struggle over the ‘proper’ role of business in society. We argue that persuasive strategies facilitate the social effects of ‘middle ground’ discourse by making business-centred understandings of social responsibility and sustainability appear reasonable and business organisations appear trustworthy in their pursuit of sustainable development. This study complements discourse analyses of social/environmental reporting by providing a finer-grained picture of how language use influences how social actors think, feel and act.


Related Articles

  • Should Sustainability Reporting Be Integrated? Verschoor, Curtis C. // Strategic Finance;Dec2011, Vol. 93 Issue 6, p12 

    The article discusses the aspects of sustainability reporting integration and the development of the Sustainability Reporting Framework by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The author mentions that the framework is considered the most widely used framework for reporting performance on...

  • The nature, use and impression management of graphs in social and environmental accounting. Jones, Michael John // Accounting Forum;Jun2011, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p75 

    Abstract: Social and environmental reports are growing in popularity. They are voluntary, unregulated documents. This study investigates graph usage in social and environmental reports. The findings show that graphs are widely used. Key managerial preferences are shown to be air pollution, waste...

  • Corporate sustainability: What is it and where does it come from? Wilson, Mel // Ivey Business Journal;Mar/Apr2003, Vol. 67 Issue 4, p1 

    Discusses factors associated with corporate sustainability. Sustainable development; Corporate social responsibility; Corporate accountability.

  • TOWARDS EQUITABLE SUSTAINABILITY. G�ler, Aras; Crowther, David // Ivey Business Journal;Jan/Feb2008, Vol. 72 Issue 1, p1 

    The article discusses the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to promote equitable sustainability. The author cites that CSR defines the relationship between a corporation and its stakeholders, including its relationship with society as a whole. It also argues that big business...

  • Sustainable Development and the Problems of Measuring. Kovačič, Art // Proceedings of World Academy of Science: Engineering & Technolog;2007, Vol. 24, p83 

    There are many questions regarding business-society relationship. We can bring more benefits to society through improvement of enterprise behaviour. Sustainable development is the concept that connects business performance and welfare of the citizens. Slovenian business sector is now more...

  • Progressing toward a SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY. Espahbodi, Reza // TK...Topeka's Business Magazine;Winter2012, p54 

    The article discusses the responsibility of businesses to report and measure the social and environmental impact of their operations on the community in Topeka, Kansas. It provides a detailed understanding on how sustainability report communicates the company's actions and commitment to...

  • STUDY REGARDING THE PERCEPTION OF THE CSR CONCEPT AMONG THE ALBA IULIA ENTERPRISES. Mihalache, Silvia Ştefania; Stremţan, Filimon // Annales Universitatis Apulensis - Series Oeconomica;2010, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p766 

    Although several years ago people rejected the idea of corporate responsibility, today CSR is a concept directly related to sustainable development, competitive companies, to modern firms. But unfortunately, in Romania companies still have several years to catch the European modern enterprises...

  • La diffusion du concept de RSE dans les firmes industrielles : l'émergence de nouveaux paradigmes managériaux. Angelini, Christine; Lombardo, Évelyne; Pignatel, Isabelle // Recherches en Sciences de Gestion;2013, Issue 96, p131 

    Research has tried to deepen knowledge on phenomenons induced by CSR policies in industrial firms. A new representation of the firm has appeared due to evolving strategies and the increasing role of stakeholders. Our article searches to identify changes in managerial practices and impacts on the...

  • Corporate Responsibility as China Strategy. Pullam, Felicia // China Business Review;Mar/Apr2006, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p34 

    Discusses the importance of the concept of corporate responsibility to doing business in China. Efforts by international business enterprises in launching corporate responsibility projects in the country; Importance of the support of the Chinese Communist Party for corporate responsibility to...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics