Annual reports typically include a letter to the shareholders signed by the CEO of the company. The reports are usually well crafted, printed on glossy paper and enriched with photographs and coloured images in the narrative section. It is indeed common knowledge that while being a required financial document, they also work as marketing material with the double aim of offering business/financial information and presenting the best qualities of the company. This dual character is also reflected in annual reports’ discourse, which has been widely acknowledged as an instance of hybrid genre (Bhatia 2010; de Groot 2013; White and Hanson 2000; Zanola 2009). The dual aim and target of annual reports have prompted scholars to analyse them through linguistic, multimodal, and semiotic approaches to define the contours of the interdiscursive nature (Bhatia 2010) of this textual genre. Hence, annual reports are both simultaneously and ambiguously, required financial documents and marketing tools to advertise businesses. Such ambiguity reflects on the communicative content of these reports. In this paper, we carried out a diachronic analysis of Walmart’s annual reports. The study integrates visual, lexical, and syntactical analysis of annual reports over an eight-year time span. Our objective was to describe discursive aspects of annual reports at multiple textual levels and to observe whether and toward what direction the discourse has developed. In order to achieve this aim, we identified Walmart’s annual reports as an ideal corpus. Firstly, they are freely available online, encouraging this way the attraction of both technical and non-technical audiences; moreover, older reports are also available for consultation and comparison. Secondly, Walmart is a huge American multinational business, which operates in 28 countries and is considered the world's largest company by revenue. It turns out that Walmart is inherently global and serves a very diversified audience. This study may contribute both to the characterization of annual reports as a hybrid genre, and to the compilation of an anthology of textual and interdiscursive strategies for annual report writing. 1

Genre hybridization in annual reports: the case of Walmart / W. Giordano, S. Pizziconi, L. DI FERRANTE - In: Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise : Where Business Meets Discourse / [a cura di] G.E. Garzone, W. Giordano. - [s.l] : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018. - ISBN 978-1-5275-0897-2. - pp. 152-175

Genre hybridization in annual reports: the case of Walmart

W. Giordano;L. DI FERRANTE
2018

Abstract

Annual reports typically include a letter to the shareholders signed by the CEO of the company. The reports are usually well crafted, printed on glossy paper and enriched with photographs and coloured images in the narrative section. It is indeed common knowledge that while being a required financial document, they also work as marketing material with the double aim of offering business/financial information and presenting the best qualities of the company. This dual character is also reflected in annual reports’ discourse, which has been widely acknowledged as an instance of hybrid genre (Bhatia 2010; de Groot 2013; White and Hanson 2000; Zanola 2009). The dual aim and target of annual reports have prompted scholars to analyse them through linguistic, multimodal, and semiotic approaches to define the contours of the interdiscursive nature (Bhatia 2010) of this textual genre. Hence, annual reports are both simultaneously and ambiguously, required financial documents and marketing tools to advertise businesses. Such ambiguity reflects on the communicative content of these reports. In this paper, we carried out a diachronic analysis of Walmart’s annual reports. The study integrates visual, lexical, and syntactical analysis of annual reports over an eight-year time span. Our objective was to describe discursive aspects of annual reports at multiple textual levels and to observe whether and toward what direction the discourse has developed. In order to achieve this aim, we identified Walmart’s annual reports as an ideal corpus. Firstly, they are freely available online, encouraging this way the attraction of both technical and non-technical audiences; moreover, older reports are also available for consultation and comparison. Secondly, Walmart is a huge American multinational business, which operates in 28 countries and is considered the world's largest company by revenue. It turns out that Walmart is inherently global and serves a very diversified audience. This study may contribute both to the characterization of annual reports as a hybrid genre, and to the compilation of an anthology of textual and interdiscursive strategies for annual report writing. 1
discourse of financial reporting; genre-hybridization; annual report
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/945816
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