|Title:||A corpus-based genre analysis of corporate annual reports : Sony and Panasonic|
|Subject:||Discourse analysis -- Social aspects.|
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|Department:||Faculty of Humanities|
|Pages:||xv, 400 pages : color illustrations|
|Abstract:||The corporate annual report is an essential communication tool for a company. Its purpose is to convey corporate information for the past and coming year, and it aims to maintain a positive relationship with its stakeholders. The corporate annual report, therefore, is the corporate representation of a company and is one of the most important documents to investigate in order to gain an understanding of a company. Reflecting the significant role, the corporate annual reports of Sony and Panasonic from 2008 to 2013 have been analysed using corpora based on Bhatia's framework (2008b, 2010, 2014) for critical genre analysis, Kress and van Leeuwen’s (1996, 2006) multimodal image analysis and four types of corporate identities proposed by Balmer and Soenen (1999). The annual reports are classified into five discourses. Four discourses out of the five are based on a modified version of Bhatia’s (2010) classification: accounting discourse, CEOs' letters discourse, public relations discourse and cautionary statement discourse. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) discourse is added to the four discourses to cover a new addition to annual reports. This study aims to critically describe the differences and similarities between the two companies' annual reports by comparing their use of multimodal resources across each discourse and analysing how the annual reports construct corporate identities. Some supplemental frameworks are adopted to analyse each discourse; such as gestures (Kendon, 2004), facial action coding (Ekman & Friesen, 1982), CEOs' employer branding (Ambler & Barrow, 1996), Tufte’s (1983) principles of good graph design, Carroll's (1979) corporate social responsibility conceptual model, meaningful cautionary statements (Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, §21E, 15 U.S.C. §78u-5(c)(1)(A)(i)), the benchmark of Symmetry/Excellence in public relations (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1992). These frameworks aim to enhance our understanding of professional genre in their specialised contexts. The findings describe the distinct differences of the two companies in the CEOs' emphases, interpretations of accounting transparency, CSR approaches, descriptions of the risk factors and the presentation of their products in public relations. The main similarities are identified as the CEOs' optimism in the written text with a hint of emotional expression in the photos, graphs with a positive design, common interests in environmental CSR, the downplay in representing cautionary statements and blending propaganda with objective information in their public relations discourse. The combined findings from the five discourses are used to identify the corporate identities that articulate "the corporate ethos, aims and values" of the two companies (van Riel & Balmer, 1997, p.355). This corpus-based study identifies the distinctive characteristics in each discourse and so pieces together, the coherent corporate identity as well as the shared strategically communicated identities through their use of multimodal resources. Important implications of this study are that the more comprehensive and critical framework can be applied in other contexts, and also be used by companies to critically reflect upon their corporate identity in order to enhance their identity in terms of coherence.|
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