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Investigations Regarding the Linguistic Register Used by Managers to Convey to Stakeholders a Positive View of Their Company, in the Context of the Business Sustainability Desideratum

Ionel Bostan (), Ionela-Corina Chersan, Magdalena Danileț (), Mihaela Ifrim () and Viorica Chirila ()
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Ionel Bostan: Department of Law and Administrative Sciences, Faculty of Law and Administrative Sciences, Ştefan cel Mare University, Universitatii 13, 720229 Suceava, Romania
Magdalena Danileț: Department of Management, Marketing and Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, 22 Carol I, 700505 Iasi, Romania

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 17, 1-19

Abstract: This paper is based on an analysis of the content of management reports (annual, integrated), on the activity of European multinational companies (listed on the Stock Exchange). For this purpose, we conducted a content analysis of company management letters which open integrated and annual reports of European multinational listed companies. The data comprised a corpus of letters and statements of chairmen and/or executive directors in five environmentally sensitive industries that were analysed using Wmatrix4 software. The identified key words, the preferred semantic domains and the tone of emotional register from the letters of managers provide significant evidence on what kind of information they contain and how these managers want to share it with their stakeholders. Our results show that managers are interested in the optimistic presentation of the mission, results and future plans of their companies. We found that words such as like , confidence , proud or trust are common on the emotional map of these letters, but the preferences in use are unequally distributed among the five analysed sectors. We also report that the word “sustainability” is among the key terms found in letters and statements of managers. Finally, for each of the five corpuses, our study proved that, beyond common issues, different economic domains prefer different topics, using a significantly different lexical register both in terms of relative frequency of common key-words and diversity of words within the same semantic domain. The study systematizes a set of key-words and semantic domains used to convey positive emotions, avoiding those with negative connotations, in order to provide an image of a company that acts in a sustainable manner. This could be successfully used by corporate communicators of a wide range of companies who want to comply with the best practices of integrated reporting.

Keywords: key semantic domains; integrated reporting; Wmatrix4 software; multinational companies; business sustainability; emotional register (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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