Author: Qin, Yong
Title: News discourse and identity construction on corporate websites : a corpus-assisted comparative study of top 10 Chinese and American banking corporations
Degree: DALS
Year: 2018
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Discourse analysis
Banks and banking -- Computer network resources
Corporate image
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xi, 280 pages : illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The present research aims to contribute to comparative discourse studies of corporate identity construction on the website. To achieve this general goal, a corpus-assisted study is carried out of the top 10 Chinese and American banking corporations, examining the similarities and differences in the key attributes of corporate identity being projected in their website news discourse and in their means of constructing the key attributes. In comparing what key attributes of corporate identity are being projected by the Chinese and American banking corporations in their website news discourse, the discourse model of critical metaphor by Charteris-Black (2004) is adopted in which the pyramid hierarchy of which the three metaphors, concrete metaphors, conceptual metaphors and abstract conceptual keys collaborate with each other is examined. In investigating how the key attributes of corporate identity are constructed, the appraisal framework by Martin & White (2005) is adopted, with pragmatic emotion analysis is to explore the (non)-authorial emotion evaluation power of attitudinal positioning. Two corpora (Corpus C and Corpus A) have been built by retrieving all the news articles covered by ANNOUNCEMENT, CORPORATE RELEASE, NEWS, NEWS & UPDATE released from January 1st to December 31 on the official website homepages from the top 10 Chinese and American banking corporations respectively. It is found that Chinese and American banking corporations attach strategic significance to metaphorical representation of identity website news discourse. The frequency and the distribution of concrete metaphors in the two semantic fields THE BODY AND THE INDIVIDUAL and SOCIAL ACTIONS, STATES AND PROCESSES demonstrate different attributes of corporate identity. While key attributes of corporate expertise are more dramatically demonstrated in Chinese corporate website news discourse, key attributes of corporate social responsibility are more significantly demonstrated in American corporate website news discourse. To be more specific, Chinese banking corporations highlight key attributes of social welfare, harmony, humanity and sportsmanship whereas American banking corporations highlight key attributes of social welfare, innovation and entrepreneurship, sportsmanship, transparency, humanity, unity, nationality, consolidation, community development, social investment, transparency, teamwork and philanthropy. Nonetheless, in terms of conceptual metaphors, there are two shared abstract schemas among Chinese and American banking corporations: BANKING CORPORATIONS ARE ORGANISMS, CATEGORIES OF CORPORATIONS ARE CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE. But in terms of their conceptual keys, Chinese and American banking corporation differ significantly. In corporate competence, Chinese banking corporations are constructed as powerful muscular hunks who have gone into therapy due to serious illness, while American banking corporations are professional doctors who can diagnose their own symptoms and enjoy highest social reputation. In corporate social responsibility, Chinese banking corporations are projected as strong heroes who have saved many people's lives in emergency and are skilled in human relations, whereas American banking corporations are supermen who know how to be a great boss, a great father, and a great husband.
It is also found that both Chinese and American banking corporations both take (non)-author emotion evaluation as an effective discursive strategy for attributes projection of corporate identity. In regard to attitudinal targets, shared discourse features include choice of salience on different semantic element and of attitudinal targets, overt inscription of authorial attitudinal stance, lexical choice of numerals, quantifiers, adverbial circumstances, adjective modifiers, comparative and superlative adjectives, nominal groups, epithets, and parallel syntactic structure, and deactivation of negative meanings. Some other effective strategies that American banking corporations adopt include choice of inner stakeholders' emotion evaluation, integrating diversified corporate attributes and negatively assessed attitudinal targets, which are absent from the news discourses by Chinese banking corporations. In regard to (non)-authorial stance, what Chinese and American website news discourse share in common are the dominance of authorial stance, which illustrates positive evaluation of all the proposition and the reinforced evaluation power we, as well as the absence of the second person(s)' evaluation. Significant features in Chinese news discourse are the avoidance of first personal singular evaluation in indirect speech and the choice of the first personal pronoun in direct speech to negotiate with the audience's reading position. In summary, applying a corpus-assisted critical metaphor analysis and appraisal theory, the present research has heightened awareness of website news discourse as a new media for corporate identity construction and contributed to our further understanding of multi-facetness of corporate identity construction today. Suggestions and implications are provided for Chinese banking corporations in their identity constructions in the age of globalization and digitalization.

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