The shareholder reports I studied use neither an inductive nor a deductive structure but instead create a hyperstructure that engages readers as comakers of a story.
This process occurs for all kinds of stories, including stories about the investment year as r ecounted in shareholder reports.
Theories espoused by Chatman and Bal apply to this study and to business communication more broadly by illuminating the relationship between events, such as economic changes and management decision making, and the narrative accounts of those events, such as shareholder reports.
In the case of shareholder reports, then, phenomenology suggests that audience analysis involves understanding how the reader is depicted in and interacts with the text.
As a case in point, the study of shareholder reports has drawn primarily on linguistic and reading theory, but rarely on narrative theory.
In sum, then, previous scholarship has stressed the importance of narration in business communication and the importance of shareholder reports in business, but has rarely linked the two.
In preparing their 1996 shareholder reports, however, many mutualfund companies faced a dilemma: how to explain why returns were high in absolute and historical terms, yet low in relative terms when compared to benchmarks such as market indexes, category averages, and past performance of the same fund.
Because they are written for a wide, external readership, shareholder reports are accessible, both literally and conceptually.
This study analyzed shareholder reports issued between July 1996 and June 1997 for the type of broad-based equity mutual funds that most investors in the United States consider core holdings.