Good Times, Bad Times: A keyword analysis of letters to shareholders of two Fortune 500 Banking Institutions
AuthorPoole, Robert E.
AffiliationUniversity of Arizona
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis corpus-based keyword analysis study investigated the letters to the shareholders from two commercial banks, Bank of America and Citigroup, over a three-year period from 2008, 2009, and 2010. The letters were compiled to facilitate a diachronic assessment of profit/loss reporting from two prominent institutions over a time period in which the recession commenced, peaked, and concluded. To conduct the analysis on the node texts, two sets of reference corpora were compiled. The first reference corpus set consisted of the letters to shareholders from eight consistently high-performing corporations not within the commercial banking industry for each of the three years; the second reference corpus set consisted of the letters from the 10 banking institutions that also appeared in the Fortune 500 listings for the three period. The corpus-based analysis revealed that in years of low performance companies create messages that assert a vision and forward a strategy for ensuring future success while also deflecting responsibility for past failure. In contrast, when companies perform well, the keyword lists display a clear tendency of the company and the author to accept praise and responsibility for high performance.