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CEO Letters as Legitimacy Builder: Coupling Text to Numbers
School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.
School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.
2010 (English)In: Journal of Human Resource Costing and Accounting, ISSN 1401-338X, E-ISSN 1758-745X, Vol. 14, no 4, 307-328 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe and interpret the CEO letter in the annual reports of three multinational Swedish companies. This study focuses on the CEOs' comments on accounting principles and rules, on company decisions and actions, and on external events. Examination of CEO letters reveals how CEOs make themselves accountable to readers and establish their own and their companies' legitimacy.

Design/methodology/approach – A strategic design was used to select the three companies;.the three criteria used in making the selection were company nationality, age, and stock market listing. A fourth criterion was that the company had been a nominee in the Stockholm Stock Exchange “Best Annual Report” contest. Based on a social constructivist approach, with inspiration from the field of discourse psychology, a discursive action model (DAM) is applied in this research.

Findings – The analysis shows that the CEO letters at two of the three companies do not emphasize numbers and text. In the third company's CEO letters, the numbers are an important component and are balanced with text. It was found that one explanation of the CEO letter format is the CEO's wish to persuade readers of the company's legitimacy, excellence, and future survival. The CEO letter is intended to strengthen readers' confidence in the company.

Originality/value – This paper provides insight into how CEOs use CEO letters in annual reports to craft a corporate image for readers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 14, no 4, 307-328 p.
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-14925DOI: 10.1108/14013381011105975OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-14925DiVA: diva2:414044
Available from: 2011-05-02 Created: 2011-05-02 Last updated: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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