Rhetorical Impression Management in the Letter to Shareholders and Institutional Setting: A Metadiscourse Perspective.
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Forthcoming
52 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2016
Date Written: January 7, 2016
Using composite style measures of the letter to shareholders, we elaborate dominant rhetorical profiles and qualify them from an impression management perspective. In addition, we examine how institutional differences affect rhetorical profiles by comparing intensity and contingencies of rhetorical profiles of UK and US companies. We document three prominent rhetorical profiles: (1) an emphatic acclaiming stance, (2) a cautious plausibility-based framing position, and (3) a logic-based rationalizing orientation. The profiles represent distinct self-presentational logics and have different readability effects. Rhetorical impression management is stronger in the US companies, but higher expected scrutiny in the US institutional environment affects sensitivity of rhetorical postures to message credibility and litigation risk, attenuating the acclaiming and rationalizing profile, while marginally increasing the less litigation-sensitive defensive framing style in US letters.
Keywords: Rhetorical impression management, Linguistic style, Letter to shareholders, Institutional environment, Litigation risk, Metadiscourse
JEL Classification: M10 M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation