Narratives and accounts: 'post-crisis' narration in annual company reports

Winchester, Jules and Williams, Simon (2014) Narratives and accounts: 'post-crisis' narration in annual company reports. Language Learning in Higher Education, 3 (2). pp. 207-229. ISSN 2191-6128

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This paper aims to provide Business English and EAP practitioners with a rationale for including the analysis of narrative elements in business addresses in their language teaching in order to encourage critical thinking in learners. By studying these elements, and the rhetorical function of the narrative in particular, students can become more aware of how the use of narratives can be part of a strategy to convey a particular message in order to influence perceptions and to enact change in a company (Moon 2010: 133). This is especially the case when the company has undergone a crisis (Hearit 1995).

The business addresses chosen for the study are the annual reports of two global companies, BP and Toyota, both written post-crisis. According to a narrative analysis of both reports, outlined in the paper, there are significant differences between the two papers in the use and effect of rhetoric. The findings of a quantitative study show that Business English students are able to identify differences in rhetorical functions and corporate identity construction within the texts, suggesting that such a contrastive analysis can develop students’ critical thinking skills. These findings are supported by a further small-scale study assessing potential classroom applications of the reports in which example activities and tasks were piloted with small groups of EAP students.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > Sussex Centre for Language Studies
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English > PE1001 Modern English
Depositing User: Simon Williams
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 13:43
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2014 14:21
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