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Impression Management and Organizational Audiences: The Fiat Group Case

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  • Saverio Bozzolan

    ()

  • Charles Cho

    ()

  • Giovanna Michelon

    ()

Abstract

In this paper we investigate whether, and how, corporate management strategically uses disclosure to manage the perceptions of different organizational audiences. In particular, we examine the interactions between the FIAT Group and three of its key organizational audiences—the local press, the international press, and the financial analysts, which are characterized by different levels of salience for the company. We focus on both how management reacts to the optimism level existing within each audience and how the narrative disclosure tone adopted by FIAT influences the ex-post optimism in the local and international press or in the financial analyst community. We investigate the disclosure of the FIAT Group over a 6-year period (2004–2009), during which 70 price-sensitive press releases were published. On the basis of 1,887 (331) news articles published in Italian (international) newspapers and 411 analyst reports, we report evidence of different strategic patterns in the interaction processes between FIAT and its audiences. Our findings also indicate some differences in the way FIAT is affected by, and in turn, affects the sentiment of each audience, thus highlighting that the salience of the stakeholder is an important driver of the adoption of impression management techniques. Taken together, our findings point to issues related to setting the “tone at the top” and potential ethical matters. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Saverio Bozzolan & Charles Cho & Giovanna Michelon, 2015. "Impression Management and Organizational Audiences: The Fiat Group Case," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 143-165, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:126:y:2015:i:1:p:143-165
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-013-1991-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Charles H. Cho & Matias Laine & Robin W. Roberts & Michelle Rodrigue, 2018. "The Frontstage and Backstage of Corporate Sustainability Reporting: Evidence from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Bill," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 152(3), pages 865-886, October.
    8. Martins, Adelaide & Gomes, Delfina & Oliveira, Lídia & Caria, Ana & Parker, Lee, 2020. "Resistance strategies through the CEO communications in the media," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).

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