Corporate persona and optimistic language in annual reports

Samuel A. Nelson, Liang Lucas Wang, Ronda M. Smith, Ben Blackford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication and Language Analysis in the Corporate World
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781466650008
ISBN (Print)1466649992, 9781466649996
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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