Impression Management in Different Economic Political Contexts - A study in the usage of accounts in the CEO letter of Swedish-, UK- and German-based companies -

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Purpose: By studying different sets of data divided by type of economic political context, this thesis investigates if the usage of accounts differs between countries. In more specific, the purpose of this thesis is to investigate if the use of accounts in the CEO letters of Swedish-, UK- and German-based companies differ as a result of having businesses in different political economies. Theoretical perspectives: The theoretical frame of references is based on the Varieties of Capitalism approach and the theory of accounts. By combining these two theoretical frameworks, a solid foundation for understanding the empirical findings is provided. Methodology: The purpose of this thesis was investigated by conducting a content analysis of 90 CEO letters of companies based in Sweden, UK and Germany. More specifically, 30 listed companies represented each country. Initially, the data was accumulated from the CEO letters by using a predetermined coding manual (see Appendix A). After coding the data in NVivo, the information was transferred and processed in SPSS where ANOVA tests were performed to investigate the two research questions for this thesis. Empirical foundation: The empirical foundation consists of data that is retrieved from the companies included in the sample, more specifically their annual reports available on the companies’ websites. The empirical information is collected by manually and automatically analyzing the content of the CEO letters. Conclusions: The authors of this thesis conclude that there is no significant difference in the frequency of accounts employed in CEO letters for Swedish-, UK- and German-based companies. Additionally, the result displays that there is no significant difference in the type of accounts employed between companies based in Sweden, UK and Germany. However, one exception is that Entitlement is employed significantly different between companies originating from the UK and Germany. Overall, the results from this thesis indicate that firms operating in different economic political contexts employ accounts similarly.

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