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Researching Discourse in Business Genres

Cases and Corpora


Edited By Sylvain Dieltjens, Paul Gillaerts, Priscilla Heynderickx, Geert Jacobs and Elizabeth de Groot

The contributions of this volume approach the genres of employee, CEO and organizational communication from different angles. They analyze how the author’s position in the company influences the construction of these genres, what content and linguistic style characterize them, and how the discourse of these genres is related to other resources. They look at linguistic and rhetorical strategies in a range of communicative settings: email correspondence among (male versus female) co-workers, collaborative writing of formats in the workplace, leadership messaging by the CEO, financial disclosures for (non-)financial audiences and expressions of the corporate philosophy. Two methodologies in particular are prominent in the genre-based chapters: corpus analyses and case studies.


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Section 3: Organisational Discourse 139


Section 3: Organisational Discourse ELIZABETH DE GROOT Who’s to Blame? Attribution in English Earnings Press Releases Originating in the Netherlands, the United States and Russia 1. Introduction Recent news articles and research reports emphasize the Dutch econ- omy’s strong dependence on the established US market as well as the emerging Russian market: in 2009, the Netherlands was one of the largest foreign investors in the US and Russia (Jackson 2010; NL EVD International 2010), while 2009 was also marked by substantial US and Russian investments in Dutch companies and business projects (FD 2010; NIFA 2010). These economic ties are reflected in multinational operations. For example, listed Dutch corporations such as Akzo Nobel have divisions in the US and Russia, whereas US and Russian multinationals such as Johnson & Johnson or Gazprom have units in the Netherlands. To be able to interface with local investor communities, multi- nationals increasingly engage in investor relations communications, i.e. a communication discipline focused in particular on establishing and maintaining relationships with financial and non-financial stake- holders that have an interest in the company’s performance (Laskin 2009). One way in which investor relations communications is rea- lized is through the publication of earnings press releases. Earnings press releases are usually published each quarter of the financial ca- lendar year, and cover periodical results and forecasts in a narrative and in a numerical section (Henry 2008). For international audiences, they are often published in English on corporate websites. Akzo No- bel’s global website, for instance, contains a News...

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