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On the “Realities” of Investor‐Manager Interactivity: Baudrillard, Hyperreality, and Management Q&A Sessions†

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  • Matthew Bamber
  • Santhosh Abraham

Abstract

This paper draws on extensive fieldwork to explore the nature, scope, and implications of management preparations for the question and answer session (Q&A) that occurs during a firm's results presentation. Prior literature has associated the value of this encounter with investor‐manager interactivity. As such, it is assumed that there are high levels of managerial authorship, ownership, and spontaneity as executives face questions from analysts. Following on, it is generally assumed that this translates into an increased risk of unintended disclosure, through verbal and nonverbal messaging. However, our data indicate that management engages in vast preparatory work to mitigate the risks associated with real (“original,” natural, spontaneous, un‐staged) interactivity. Instead, the Q&A is carefully planned, organized, scripted, and rehearsed. As such, the event is transformed into a hyperreal encounter in the Baudrillardian sense. Despite this, the value of the Q&A is not necessarily impaired. Instead, these managerial backstage preparations arguably make the encounter realer than real. We suggest that the Q&A that we observe (the “copy”) is more useful than the original might have been. Our work provides evidence and discussion of two interconnected paradoxes: perfection and self‐reference. This study not only raises important questions, challenges, and opportunities for researchers interested in the study of investor‐manager interactions but also speaks to those with an interest in workplace meetings and Q&A more broadly. Des « réalités » de l'interaction investisseurs‐dirigeants : Baudrillard, hyperréalité et période de questions de la direction Les auteurs s'appuient sur un travail exhaustif sur le terrain pour analyser la nature, l'étendue et les conséquences de la préparation de la direction à la période de questions qui se tient à l'occasion de la présentation des résultats d'une société. Dans de précédentes études, la valeur de cette rencontre a été associée à l'interaction investisseurs‐dirigeants. L'on y tient pour acquis que le degré de liberté des dirigeants dans la composition, l'appropriation et la livraison spontanée de leurs réponses aux questions des analystes est élevé. L'on suppose ainsi généralement que cette liberté engendre un risque accru de communication involontaire de renseignements par le biais de messages verbaux et non verbaux. Les données recueillies par les auteurs indiquent toutefois que la direction procède à un vaste travail de préparation afin d'atténuer les risques associés à l'interaction réelle (« d'origine », naturelle, spontanée, sans mise en scène). La période de questions est plutôt soigneusement planifiée, organisée, schématisée et répétée. L'évènement devient donc une rencontre hyperréelle au sens de Baudrillard. La valeur de la période de questions n'en est toutefois pas nécessairement menacée. Il est permis de croire que cette préparation des dirigeants en coulisse fait de la rencontre une manifestation plus réelle que la réalité. Selon les auteurs, la période de questions qu'ils observent (la « copie ») est plus utile que n'aurait pu l'être l'événement d'origine. Ils démontrent et analysent l'existence de deux paradoxes liés entre eux : la perfection et l'autoréférence. Non seulement leur étude met‐elle en évidence des questions, des défis et des possibilités d'importance pour les chercheurs qui se penchent sur les interactions investisseurs‐dirigeants, mais elle s'adresse aussi à ceux qui s'intéressent plus globalement aux réunions en milieu de travail et aux périodes de questions.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Bamber & Santhosh Abraham, 2020. "On the “Realities” of Investor‐Manager Interactivity: Baudrillard, Hyperreality, and Management Q&A Sessions†," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 37(2), pages 1290-1325, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:coacre:v:37:y:2020:i:2:p:1290-1325
    DOI: 10.1111/1911-3846.12539
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