Communication through Discourse: A Contrastive Genre Analysis of the CEO Statements between American and Chinese CSR Annual Reports

Hua Liu, Junwei Liu, Pinying Cheng


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) annual reports are serving as an important communicative tool in building corporate legitimacy and maintaining close relationship with stakeholders. However, the question on how effective communication can be achieved through discourse design has been largely overlooked in the existing literature. This contrastive study examines the discourse differences between American and Chinese CEO Statements in CSR reports through the perspective of genre theory by adopting Swales and Bhatia’s Move-Step Model and Hassan’s Generic Structure Potential Model. Based on a self-built corpus of 60 CSR reports from Fortune Global 500 List 2015, we find that two types of CEO Statements share the similar obligatory moves, communicative targets, and fixed move-step structures, but the number of move and steps, focus of information, and topic areas vary greatly. The cultural differences may account for such disparities, which are found at the level of rhetorical structure. The results of this study offer theoretical and practical implications for future designing of CSR discourse.


Corporate Social Responsibility (Csr) Report, Communication, Discourse Design, Genre, Ceo Statements

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