Accounting Forum, vol. 36, issue 3 (2012) pp. 178-193
We introduce Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), an interdisciplinary approach to analysing written and spoken texts, which provides accounting researchers with a range of resources to analyse corporate narrative documents more systematically and in more detail from a linguistic perspective. CDA addresses how the content and the linguistic features of texts influence, and are in turn influenced, by the contexts of text production, distribution, reception and adaptation, and by the wider socio-economic context in which texts are embedded. We apply Fairclough's (2003, 2006) Dialectic-Relational approach to the analysis of a chairman's statement of a UK defence firm. The focus of analysis is on the grammatical devices used to represent organisational activities and outcomes in ways which obfuscate social agency (impersonalisation) and to evaluate social actors, entities, and social events (evaluation). We find that impersonalisation and evaluation are used strategically to guide organisational audiences' interpretations of financial performance and to legitimise and normalise violence and destruction by depicting it in an abstract and sanitised manner. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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