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Rhetoric, repetition, reporting and the “” era: words, pictures, intangibles

Listed author(s):
  • Jane Davison
Registered author(s):

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to add to theoretical and empirical work on the rhetoric of narratives and pictures in annual reporting by using the lens of repetition to examine the Design/methodology/approach - The study constructs a conceptual framework of repetition in signifiants (from rhetoric) and signifiés (from philosophy, notably Barthes, Deleuze, Eliade and Jankélévitch). Signifiants are established by reference to rhetorical figures based in repetition: anadiplosis, anaphora, alliteration/rhyme and lists. Signifiés are indicated as conscious rhetorical emphasis, and unconscious reflections of sameness and difference; networks and links; and, of particular interest during the “” years, exuberance and compulsion; differentiation, ritual and reassurance. The framework is used to analyse BT plc's Findings - The application of the framework is enlightening: repetition is shown to be prevalent in BT plc's Research limitations/implications - The paper provides a model which may be applied to the wealth of discretionary narratives and pictures in contemporary annual reporting. It would also benefit from the assessment of readership impact. Practical implications - The analysis is of interest to accounting researchers, practitioners, trainees, auditors and any user of accounting and accountability statements. It illuminates the way in which discretionary words and pictures highlight and supplement accounting information. Originality/value - The paper augments theoretical and empirical work on the significance of narratives and pictures in accounting.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 6 (August)
    Pages: 791-826

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:aaajpp:v:21:y:2008:i:6:p:791-826
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    References listed on IDEAS
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    1. Jane Davison, 2007. "Photographs and accountability: cracking the codes of an NGO," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 133-158, March.
    2. Aerts, Walter, 1994. "On the use of accounting logic as an explanatory category in narrative accounting disclosures," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 19(4-5), pages 337-353.
    3. Preston, Alistair & Oakes, Leslie, 2001. "The Navajo documents: a study of the economic representation and construction of the Navajo," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 39-71, January.
    4. Young, Joni J., 2003. "Constructing, persuading and silencing: the rhetoric of accounting standards," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 621-638, August.
    5. W. Aerts, 2001. "Inertia in the attributional content of annual accounting narratives," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 3-32.
    6. Michael J. Cooper, 2001. "A by Any Other Name," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2371-2388, December.
    7. Laura Spira, 1999. "Ceremonies of Governance: Perspectives on the Role of the Audit Committee," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 3(3), pages 231-260, September.
    8. Walter Masocha, 2007. "Rhetoric in standard setting: the case of the going-concern audit," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 74-100, March.
    9. Preston, Alistair M. & Young, Joni J., 2000. "Constructing the global corporation and corporate constructions of the global: a picture essay," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(4-5), pages 427-449, May.
    10. Jay R. Ritter & Ivo Welch, 2002. "A Review of IPO Activity, Pricing, and Allocations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1795-1828, 08.
    11. Walters, Melissa, 2004. "Alternative accounting thought and the prison-house of metaphor," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 157-187, February.
    12. Jose L. Arquero & Trevor Hassall & John Joyce & Jose A. Donoso, 2007. "Accounting Students and Communication Apprehension: A Study of Spanish and UK Students," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 299-322.
    13. Benschop, Yvonne & Meihuizen, Hanne E., 2002. "Keeping up gendered appearances: representations of gender in financial annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 611-636, October.
    14. Mark A. Clatworthy & Michael John Jones, 2006. "Differential patterns of textual characteristics and company performance in the chairman's statement," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(4), pages 493-511, July.
    15. Graves, O. Finley & Flesher, Dale L. & Jordan, Robert E., 1996. "Pictures and the bottom line: The television epistemology of U.S. annual reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 57-88, January.
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