Measuring and assessing tone at the top using annual report CEO letters

J. Amernic, Russell Craig, D. Tourish

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    CEOs have a strong influence on the tone at the top of companies. How they exercise this influence has the potential to affect the quality of financial reporting. Consequently, it is important that auditors and other users find a way of examining and evaluating the tone at the top and the resultant risks to which companies might be exposed. The authors contend that the CEO letter to shareholders in annual reports is one of the most important of the mediums used by corporate leaders to communicate their attitudes and values. They argue that by analysing the text of such letters, auditors and other interested parties can gain insight into the tone at the top of major corporations. This book demonstrates two complementary methods for undertaking this analysis. First, through the use of the text analysis software package DICTION to analyse the CEO letters of FTSE 100 companies and the top 100 FORTUNE 500 companies. Second, through conducting a close reading or forensic examination of selected company letters (General Electric, Enron, BP and New Century Financial) to understand their inherent ideology, rhetoric and use of metaphors, and to highlight any silences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEdinburgh, Scotland
    PublisherThe Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
    Number of pages210
    ISBN (Print)9781904574552
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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