Cases and Corpora
Section 2: Executive Discourse 71
Section 2: Executive Discourse BERNA HENDRIKS / MARGOT VAN MULKEN Dear Worker: A Corpus Analysis of Internal CEO Letters 1. Introduction In an age of increasing corporate accountability, an ongoing priority for many organisations is how to align corporate communicative behaviour with a variety of stakeholder expectations. For organisations, the diverse information requirements of different stakeholder groups present special challenges in communicating corporate practices, such as e.g. corporate responsibility programmes (Dawkins 2004), crisis communication policy (Benoit 1997), and ethical corporate behaviour (Morsing/Schultz 2006). For many organisations, corporate accountability to external stakeholders is primarily realised through their annual reports and the CEO’s letter. Both genres have received ample attention from studies with a genre-analytical perspective, which have been concerned with uncovering genre characteristics and genre typical discourse features (Skulstad 1996, 2006; Hyland 1998; Garzone 2004, 2005; Nickerson/ De Groot 2005; Rutherford 2005; De Groot et al. 2006). In this chapter we will focus on a genre that has received only scant attention in genre analytical research to date, the internal CEO letter, which is primarily addressed at internal stakeholders, the organisation’s workforce. These are the letters that are sent out periodically by CEOs of organisations to inform their workforce of corporate issues. The communicative purposes of these letters deserve to be analysed closely, as well as the rhetorical strategies that CEOs employ to achieve their goals. 74 Berna Hendriks / Margot van Mulken 2. Background Internal CEO letters are part of the wide range of media and channels that senior management...
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