Sheri Erickson, School of Business, Marsha Weber, Dean of the College of Business & Industry, and Joann Segovia, Winona State University, co-authored the paper “Using Communication Theory to Analyze Corporate Reporting Strategies,” which has been published in the April issue of the Journal of Business Communication, Vol. 48(2). Regulatory reforms in the U.S., such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Regulation Fair Disclosure, emphasize the significance of timely and transparent corporate reporting. Analysis of corporate financial disclosures using communication theory can provide useful information to stakeholders.
Communication is a goal-directed activity that involves a purpose and one of the central goals of communication for the corporation is to maintain a positive image (Benoit, 1995). Benoit’s theory of image restoration says that management presents the messages (responses) that are instrumental in obtaining the firm’s goals. This paper’s objectives are to summarize Benoit’s image restoration typology and to propose its potential use in analyzing management’s communication strategies in financial reporting. Examples from corporate SEC and annual reports of computer companies are analyzed to illustrate the use of various communication strategies based on Benoit’s typology.