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Rationality and Rhetoric in the Corporate World: The Corporate Annual Report as an Aristotelian Genre


White, RD and Hanson, DJ, Rationality and Rhetoric in the Corporate World: The Corporate Annual Report as an Aristotelian Genre, Prometheus, 18, (3) pp. 303-317. ISSN 0810-9028 (2000) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/713692069


This paper is part of a research programme into corporate annual reports. Reports do provide the information on the past performance, present state and future prospects which investors in listed companies require for the rational choices attributed to them. They also reveal the companies' responsiveness to the publics comprising the civil societies in which they are embedded. This effect requires more than strict rationality. To use Simon's distinction, the reports then entail both substantive and procedural rationalities. We argue that classical rhetoric and its recovery in the 'new rhetoric' yield useful approaches to the latter, and that annual reports comprise a genre in the rhetorical sense. We illustrate our case through generic features in the reports of the Australian-based multinational, Amcor. We suggest for future research that accounts of corporate functioning are incomplete unless they include the pre-structured interaction between companies and their publics which we have shown here through rhetoric.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Urban sociology and community studies
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Work and labour market
Objective Field:Work and labour market not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:White, RD (Dr Robert White)
UTAS Author:Hanson, DJ (Dr Dallas Hanson)
ID Code:19346
Year Published:2000
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2000-08-01
Last Modified:2001-07-04

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