DOI: 10.1515/csh-2023-0017 ISSN: 2940-1445

A Corpus-Assisted Comparative Study of Chinese and Western CEO Statements in Annual Reports: Discourse-Historical Approach

Qun-ying Zhuang, Xin-ting Li, Xu-qi Li


This study presents a corpus-assisted comparison of Chinese and Western chief executive officer statements in annual reports. Using two self-built corpora of 15 statements from 2017 to 2021 annual reports in three Chinese listed pharmaceutical companies, representative of Chinese companies, and 15 statements from 2017 to 2021 annual reports in one American multinational, one British multinational and one Australian listed corporation in the same industry, representative of Western companies, this study employs the Discourse-Historical Approach of Critical Discourse Studies and the corpus linguistic analysis tool Wmatrix5 to investigate linguistic means, discursive strategies and semantic domains of the two corpora. The study results show that Chinese CEOs tend to present an objective, authoritative and thriving “out-group” identity with strong awareness of environmental protection while Western CEOs tend to project an affiliative, inclusive and well-established “in-group” identity with leading industrial status and a global mindset. This study is of significance in understanding cross-cultural differences in projecting corporate identities through CEO statements in annual reports.

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