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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Corporate Persona and Optimistic Language in Annual Reports

Corporate Persona and Optimistic Language in Annual Reports
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Author(s): Samuel A. Nelson (University of Nebraska – Lincoln, USA), Liang “Lucas” Wang (Western University, Canada), Ronda M. Smith (Fort Hays State University, USA) and Ben Blackford (Northwest Missouri State University, USA)
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 20
Source title: Operations and Service Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3909-4.ch061


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This chapter draws on theories of the organization as a social actor to examine the influence of an organization's financial performance on the level of optimism presented in annual reports over time as a means to measure the consistency of the organization's identity. This study contributes to the understanding of firm behavior by adding firm level analysis and longitudinal design and the use of DICTION software for qualitative analysis. Annual reports from the petroleum and food and beverage industry were analyzed over a 10-year period for both between and within firm effects. Results suggest higher levels of organizational financial performance resulted in more optimistic language in their annual reports, but the effect was only significant when performance significantly exceeded baseline expectations. Implications for the study of organizational identity are discussed.

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