Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse how appraisal resources and legitimation strategies, concerning “associates” and “suppliers” in Walmart’s Corporate Social Responsibility reports from 2011 to 2013, contribute to the representation of a positive corporate image. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws upon Appraisal Theory (Martin and White, 2005) and Legitimation Theory (van Leeuwen, 2007) to explore the link between evaluative language and legitimacy concerning abovementioned search terms. Findings – Walmart’s representations of its stance towards “associates” and “suppliers” differ greatly, although the corporation communicates a positive self-image through both of them. Walmart portrays its relationship with its “associates” as cooperative and mutually beneficial. On the other hand, the corporation presents the image of a philanthropist organisation that has been trying to improve the poor working conditions of its “suppliers” through strict regulations. Research limitations/implications – Only a small amount of data could be analysed manually due to the special nature of evaluative language and legitimation. Originality/value – This paper fulfils an identified need in studying social reporting in terms of linguistic resources.
On the Horizon – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 9, 2015
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