in corporate annual report
Merridee L. Bujaki
Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada, and
Bruce J. McConomy
School of Business & Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the gendered nature of interactions in mixed sex
Canadian corporate annual report (CAR) photographs.
Design/methodology/approach – Quantitative content analysis of 106 CAR photographs is
performed to evaluate, at the level of the photograph, how women and men interact in mixed sex
photographs to reveal their relative prominence, power and status.
Findings – Women in CAR photographs overall are under-represented. In mixed sex photographs,
however, the relative proportions of women and men approximate those of women in the Canadian
workforce, but men are more prominent in most photographs. Mixed sex photographs are relatively
similar in composition (depicting largely passive, smiling subjects, few of whom are talking or in
positions of authority). Where there are differences in mixed sex photographs, however, women are
portrayed as less powerful than the men in the photographs. Supplemental testing suggests that the
ﬁndings are persisting over time.
Originality/value – This paper looks at gendered interactions in CAR photos in a Canadian context.
It takes the photograph, rather than individual subjects in the photo, as the level of analysis. This
research clearly situates the inclusion of photographs in CARs in the voluntary disclosure literature
and explores the implications for management and readers of CARs.
Keywords Gender, Annual reports, Photography, Disclosure
Paper type Research paper
Photographs in corporate annual reports (CARs) are an important component of a
corporation’s voluntary disclosures. This is particularly so since photographs attract
readers’ attention, help to tell a story about the corporation, and serve to elicit an
emotional response from readers (Davison, 2007). The photographs included in a CAR
convey a lot of information about the corporation, its priorities, its values and its
culture (Helms Mills, 2005; Singh and Point, 2006). The photographs included in CARs
provide information on the gendered nature of the corporation (Benschop and
Meihuizen, 2002) and how women, in particular, are seen by the authors of the CAR.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
The authors thank the Centre for Research on Women and Work at the Sprott School of
Management, Carleton University for ﬁnancial support that facilitated completion of this project.
The authors also acknowledge the excellent research assistance provided by Pedro Bravo and
Billie Sabovitch and the helpful comments of two anonymous reviewers.
Received 20 August 2009
Revised 18 December 2009
Accepted 18 December 2009
Gender in Management: An
Vol. 25 No. 2, 2010
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited