Approaching ESP Texts: Genre Analysis of CEO Statements

Elaboration, 2008

18 Pages, Grade: 1


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Description of Analytical Process

3. Genre Description
3.1. Definition
3.2. General Genre Analysis

4. Analysis of Formal Structure
4.1. Table 1: Formal Structure

5. Move Structure
5.1. Obligatory Moves
5.2. Core Moves
5.3. Optional Moves
5.4. Other Moves
5.5. Analysis of Move Structure

6. Linguistic Analysis
6.1. Lexical Features
6.1.1. Most Frequent Words
6.1.2. Table 2: Most Frequent Nouns
6.1.3. Table 3: Most Frequent Technical Terms
6.2. Keyword Analysis
6.2.1. Positive Keywords
6.2.2. Negative Keywords
6.3. Concordances
6.3.1. Clusters
6.3.2. Collocations
6.4. Grammatical Features
6.4.1. Personal Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives
6.4.2. Grammatical Voice
6.4.3. Tense, Mood and Aspect

7. Problems Encountered and Insights Gained

8. Teaching Situation
8.1. Description of Teaching Situation
8.2. Application of Results of Genre Analysis to Teaching Situation

9. Conclusion

10. Corpus of Texts Used

1. Introduction

This project report presents a genre analysis of CEO statements. The corpus of relevant texts consists of 20 examples, the CEO statements of 3M, Air Berlin, Alcoa, Allianz, Beijer Electronics, Coca Cola, Deutsche Bank, Ericsson, Exxon Mobil, Gerflor, Holcim, Intel, Interamerican, JSE Limited, Nissan, O2, Small Business Technology Institute, Telecom, TNT and T-Rex Corporation. All the texts can be found on the Internet[1] and are taken from the websites of the respective companies.

The main focus of this project is a linguistic analysis of the genre CEO statements, whereby a move structure of the genre is identified and lexico-grammatical features are pointed out. Typical text patterns of CEO statements are included in these chapters. Furthermore, this project report contains sections that deal with the description of the analytical process as well as with problems encountered and insights gained. Besides, a context is presented in which this analysis can be applied to a teaching situation.

2. Description of Analytical Process

Many CEO statements occur publicly on the websites of the respective companies and are, therefore, easily accessible. Thus, this corpus of CEO statements was basically compiled through an Internet search, of which the first 20 relevant results were selected as sample texts. As a first step a move structure of the genre CEO statements was identified. All texts were looked at individually and recurrent moves were determined. Afterwards the individual moves were labelled and grouped according to their number of occurrences, which is also how the move structure is presented in this project report. Besides, the formal structure of CEO statements was analysed and is presented in this report as well.

As a next step the texts were put into and analysed by the computer programme Wordsmith. Wordsmith provides several tools that facilitate the lexical analysis of a corpus of texts. The programme is able to create a general word list and a keyword list that compares the selected corpus of texts with the BNC world corpus. In addition, Wordsmith features a concordance function, which searches for and points out recurrent collocations, phrases and word patterns. The most important and relevant results of this analysis are presented in this report. Furthermore, some grammatical features of this corpus of texts were identified and the most noticeable are displayed in this report as well.

As a final step the results of this analysis were applied to a teaching situation. This genre based approach on teaching is described in the last part of this project report.

3. Genre Description

3.1. Definition

A CEO Statement is a message from a company’s Chief Executive Officer addressed to the public and to the company’s employees. A CEO is an executive who is responsible for a company's operations, usually the President or the Chairman of the Board.[2] The word statement itself is occasionally replaced by message or letter, thus making ‘CEO message’ and ‘Letter from the CEO’ synonymous with ‘CEO statement’ in these instances.

3.2. General Genre Analysis

CEO statements basically address everyone interested in or associated with the respective company. Thus, the generally interested public, business partners (for instance suppliers, customers, investors, etc.) and the employees of a company are the target group of this genre.

In general, CEO statements give information about a company’s philosophy, especially about its principles and values, and create a particular image of a company. Most CEO statements explicitly focus on a company's sustainability measures and emphasise a company's steps to improve in this area. Sustainability basically both comprises social and environmental issues, describing a company's effort to operate community and ecologically friendly. The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as "forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”[3].

Nowadays sustainability is seen as one of the most important criteria of a successful company that at the same time has a high reputation. It significantly contributes to how a company is perceived both from within and from the outside world. Sustainability is one of the key issues especially for companies that produce products which have a reported negative impact on the environment, for instance the automobile industry. This is also reflected in some CEO statements, which, hence, could be grouped under the genre name sustainability reports as well.

In addition, some CEO statements give information about a company's history and its previous and recent performance. A company’s business outlook, the current market situation and the relation of the company with its employees is also often included in CEO statements.

The tone of CEO statements is generally formal, however, most of them are at the same time personalised. Thus, they are sometimes either mainly or partly written in first person singular, whereby the CEO directly addresses the public. More often, CEO statements convey that the CEO is speaking on behalf of the company and, therefore, a significant number of first person plural pronouns can be found in CEO statements.

4. Analysis of Formal Structure

CEO statements follow a fairly conventionalised structural form. Almost all CEO statements of the corpus are explicitly entitled CEO statements, are structured in paragraphs, written in full sentences and give the name of the CEO. In addition, a significant number also has an additional headline and give a picture of the CEO.

4.1. Table 1: Formal Structure

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


[1] On the 28th December 2007 (date of the author’s last access).

[2] CEO definition is taken from (13th January 2008).

[3] Cf. (13th January 2007).

[4] Or a synonym.

[5] From a gender studies perspective and as a side note it is interesting to point out that all CEOs are male.

Excerpt out of 18 pages


Approaching ESP Texts: Genre Analysis of CEO Statements
University of Vienna
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ISBN (eBook)
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Approaching, Texts, Genre, Analysis, Statements
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Mag. Andreas Raab (Author), 2008, Approaching ESP Texts: Genre Analysis of CEO Statements, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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