Persuasive Trust Building in Oral Financial Presentations: An analysis of a narrative Investor Relations genre

Anja Caspers

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

The aim of this study is to better understand the nature and role of oral financial presentations (OFP) in listed companies' Investor Relations (IR) communication activities. Combining existing literature from two disciplines, accounting and business communication research, it identifies two different types of OFP: On the one hand, Earnings Calls (EC) which are closely related to mandatory Earnings Releases and can be seen as 'norm-based', and on the other, Analyst Presentations (AP) which are fully voluntary. Whereas the first group of OFP or EC has been studied to some extent, the voluntary form has received little attention. The present study is thus motivated by asking why and how listed companies present themselves to the financial community voluntarily. The main reason is seen in the necessity to promote the company's shares in the competitive markets. Moreover, the existing literature on EC has regarded them as a genre but has only analyzed different detail questions in presentations held in English without providing any theoretical framework. Therefore, by combining literature from different disciplines about IR and corporate communication, the present study develops a comprehensive genre framework for companies' IR activities and shows within this framework the nature and role of OFP focusing on the AP type or OFP(AP). On the other hand, however, the framework reveals the financial community's need of trustworthy information. The question is thus how listed companies solve this dual goal, share promotion and delivering trustworthy information, in their oral presentations with the help of the strategic reputational story, the Equity Story. This empirical study analyzes 17 recorded and transcribed OFP(AP) held in two European languages, German and Finnish. In order to describe the genre context of the companies' IR efforts, two surveys and six expert interviews were also conducted and analyzed. The findings show that there is a border crossing professional financial marketing rhetoric, which is, however, combined with local rhetorical features in practice. Due to the investors' specific need of trust, also the ethics of such rhetoric is discussed, with the conclusion that in AP, the genre rules make it a shared practice and thus help to share the meaning of these presentations well within the financial community.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Louhiala-Salminen, Leena, Thesis Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7543-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Keywords

  • persuasion
  • trust
  • oral financial presentations
  • thetoric
  • genre analysis
  • content analysis
  • narration
  • investor relations
  • equity story
  • professional culture
  • reputation
  • share promotion

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