Narrative Styles and Institutional Isomorphism in South African CEOs’ Shareholder Letters

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dc.contributor.author Du Toit, Elda
dc.contributor.author Esterhuyse, Leana
dc.date.accessioned 2021-05-31T22:41:15Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-31T22:41:15Z
dc.date.issued 2021-05-31
dc.identifier.citation Du Toit, E., & Esterhuyse, L. (2021). Narrative styles and institutional isomorphism in South African CEOs’ shareholder letters . The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC), 27, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.23962/10539/31369 en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 2077-7213 (online version)
dc.identifier.issn 2077-7205 (print version)
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10539/31369
dc.identifier.uri https://doi.org/10.23962/10539/31369
dc.description.abstract Among the most-read corporate documents are chief executive officers’ (CEOs’) shareholder letters. Using institutional isomorphism as lens, this study examines the extent to which the narrative styles used by South African CEOs in their shareholder letters are similar to the styles used by CEOs at leading international companies. The study also explores the degree to which impression management techniques are present in the South African CEOs’ shareholder letters. The study uses DICTION software to conduct a narrative analysis of South African CEOs’ shareholder letters for a single financial year, and compares the findings with those drawn from the Craig and Amernic (2018) study of the shareholder letters of CEOs from samples of international Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies. The study finds that optimism and realism are the two most-used narrative styles in South African CEOs’ shareholder letters, and that these findings are markedly similar to those generated by the Craig and Amernic (2018) study of international companies. The study contributes to the understanding of normative institutional isomorphism in corporate reporting by providing empirical evidence that the narrative styles employed by CEOs of companies in a developing economy with high corporate governance standards conform to the same norms as those of CEOs of large international companies. The study also finds that the South African CEOs’ dominant communication styles in the shareholder letters lend themselves to being tools of impression management. en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg en_ZA
dc.rights This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 en_ZA
dc.subject corporate communications, narrative styles, CEO shareholder letters, institutional isomorphism, South Africa en_ZA
dc.title Narrative Styles and Institutional Isomorphism in South African CEOs’ Shareholder Letters en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA
dc.journal.title The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC) en_ZA
dc.description.librarian CA2021 en_ZA
dc.citation.doi https://doi.org/10.23962/10539/31369 en_ZA
dc.orcid.id Du Toit: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8386-7969 en_ZA
dc.orcid.id Esterhuyse: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0140-7980 en_ZA
dc.journal.link http://www.wits.ac.za/linkcentre/ajic en_ZA
dc.journal.issue 27 en_ZA
dc.article.start-page 1 en_ZA
dc.article.end-page 17 en_ZA
dc.faculty Humanities en_ZA
dc.school School of Literature, Language and Media (SLLM) en_ZA


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  • AJIC Issue 27, 2021
    Articles on problematic internet use, Indigenous knowledge in vocational education, machine learning, scaling of innovation, institutional isomorphism, human–computer interaction for development, and scholarly publishing.

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