Review of Studies on Corporate Annual Reports During 1990-2012

Atefeh Mobasher, Afida Mohamad Ali, Faiz Sathi Abdullah, Chan Mei Yuit


Corporate Annual Reports (CARs) are corporate communication tools which have been around for 75 years. They report company’s progress, profits and losses. At first, reports were provided in English, because they were published in an English speaking context. After a while, non-English speaking companies started to publish CARs in English to attract international investments. So far studies on CARs considered themes in text and images of CARs, subgenres of CARs, rhetorical construction, discourse and genre structure. During the last two decade; however, not many studies have been conducted on CARs from a language perspective. We aim to evaluate those studies and provide insight for further research. Findings of previous studies revealed that CARs consist of various sections functioning as sub-genres that have features of their own. Researchers so far have been interested in management forewords section as it is considered to be the most widely read section of CAR, which are supposed to gain the trust of readers. Other sub-genres studied include: operational and financial performance, corporate history and mission statements. As modern CARs are considered to be multimodal, images that appear in CARs have also been studied.



Annual Reports, Genre analysis, Theme analysis

Full Text:



Anderson, C. J., & Imperia, G. (1992). The corporate annual report: A photo analysis of male and female portrayals. Journal of Business Communication, 29(2), 113-128.

Beattie, V., & Jones, M. (1994). An empirical study of graphical format choices in charity annual reports. Financial Accountability & Management, 10(3), 215-236.

Beattie, V., & Jones, M. J. (1992). The use and abuse of graphs in annual reports: theoretical framework and empirical study. Accounting and Business Research, 22(88), 291-303.

Beattie, V., McInnes, B., & Fearnley, S. (2004). A methodology for analysing and evaluating narratives in annual reports: a comprehensive descriptive profile and metrics for disclosure quality attributes. Paper presented at the Accounting Forum.

Benschop, Y., & Meihuizen, H. E. (2002). Keeping up gendered appearances: representations of gender in financial annual reports. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 27(7), 611-636.

Bernardi, R. A., Bean, D. F., & Weippert, K. M. (2002). Signaling gender diversity through annual report pictures: a research note on image management. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 15(4), 609-616.

Bernardi, R. A., Bean, D. F., & Weippert, K. M. (2005). Minority membership on boards of directors: the case for requiring pictures of boards in annual reports. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 16(8), 1019-1033.

Bhatia, V. K. (2010). Interdiscursivity in professional communication. Discourse & Communication, 4(1), 32-50.

Conaway, R. N., & Wardrope, W. J. (2010). Do their words really matter? Thematic analysis of US and Latin American CEO letters. Journal of Business Communication, 47(2), 141-168.

Courtis, J. K. (1995). Readability of annual reports: Western versus Asian evidence. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 8(2), 4-17.

Courtis, J. K., & Hassan, S. (2002). Reading ease of bilingual annual reports. Journal of Business Communication, 39(4), 394-413.

Crombie, W., & Samujh, H. (1999). Negative messages as strategic communication: A case study of a New Zealand company's annual executive letter. Journal of Business Communication, 36(3), 229-246.

David, C. (2001). Mythmaking in annual reports. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 15(2), 195-222.

De Groot, E. (2008). English annual reports in Europe. Unpublished doctoral dissertation Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of LOT: Netherland.

De Groot, E., Korzilius, H., Ickerson, C., & Gerritsen, M. (2006). A corpus analysis of text themes and photographic themes in managerial forewords of Dutch-English and British annual general reports. Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on, 49(3), 217-235.

Delahaye, A., Booth, C., Clark, P., Procter, S., & Rowlinson, M. (2009). The genre of corporate history. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 22(1), 27-48.

Garzone, G. (2004). Annual Company Reports and CEOs' Letters: Discoursal Features and Cultural Markedness. In M. Gotti (Ed.), Intercultural aspects of specialized communication (pp. 311-341). Bern: Peter Lang.

Hyland, K. (1998). Exploring corporate rhetoric: metadiscourse in the CEO's letter. Journal of Business Communication, 35(2), 224-244.

Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2004). Metadiscourse in academic writing: A reappraisal. Applied Linguistics, 25(2), 156-177.

Jameson, D. A. (2000). Telling the investment story: A narrative analysis of shareholder reports. Journal of Business Communication, 37(1), 7-38.

Kohut, G. F., & Segars, A. H. (1992). The president's letter to stockholders: An examination of corporate communication strategy. Journal of Business Communication, 29(1), 7-21.

Kress, G. (2006). Reading images: The grammar of visual design (second ed.). London: Routledge.

Kress, G., & Van Leeuwen, T. V. (2001). Multimodal discourse: The modes and media of contemporary communication. London: Arnold.

Linsley, P. M., & Shrives, P. J. (2006). Risk reporting: A study of risk disclosures in the annual reports of UK companies. The British Accounting Review, 38(4), 387-404.

Nickerson, C., & De Groot, E. (2005). Dear shareholder, dear stockholder, dear stakeholder: The business letter genre in the annual general report. In P. G. M. Gotti (Ed.), Genre variation in business letters (pp. 325-346). Bern: peter Lang.

Plung, D. L., & Montgomery, T. T. (2004). Professional communication: the corporate insider's approach: Thomson/South-Western.

Prasad, A., & Mir, R. (2002). Digging deep for meaning: a critical hermeneutic analysis of CEO letters to shareholders in the oil industry. Journal of Business Communication, 39(1), 92-116.

Preston, A. M., Wright, C., & Young, J. J. (1996). Imag [in] ing annual reports. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 21(1), 113-137.

Rogers, P. S. (2000). CEO Presentations in Conjunction with Earnings Announcements Extending the Construct of Organizational Genre Through Competing Values Profiling and User-Needs Analysis. Management Communication Quarterly, 13(3), 426-485.

Rutherford, B. A. (2005). Genre Analysis of Corporate Annual Report Narratives A Corpus Linguistics–Based Approach. Journal of Business Communication, 42(4), 349-378.

Ryan, G. W., & Bernard, H. R. (2003). Techniques to identify themes. Field methods, 15(1), 85-109.

Seidman, S. A. (1992). A Study of the Visual Design of Corporate Annual Reports. Journal of Visual Literacy, 12(2).

Thomas, J. (1997). Discourse in the marketplace: the making of meaning in annual reports. Journal of Business Communication, 34(1), 47-66.

Williams, L. S. (2008). The Mission Statement A Corporate Reporting Tool With a Past, Present, and Future. Journal of Business Communication, 45(2), 94-119.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.