Analyzing corporate trust-repair discourse using corpus and experimental techniques
Trust is a valuable relational asset for companies, and an important precondition for their legitimacy. But trust is also a fragile commodity; it takes a long time to build, and just moments to destroy. In this talk, I will present the results of two studies that investigate how companies use discourse strategically in order to restore public trust in them after episodes of wrongdoing. In the first study, I combine Appraisal theory (Martin and White, 2005) and manual corpus annotation techniques to examine the trust-repair discourse strategies deployed by BP’s CEO in his letters to shareholders after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. In the second study, I use experimental methods to test the perlocutionary effects of two basic strategies that are commonly used by corporations in situations where trust is at stake: apology and denial. These two studies offer new insights into the discursive dynamics of trust, and demonstrate the usefulness of mixing corpus and experimental methods for the analysis of discourse.
Time & place
1600, Mon 24th Oct, County South B89
All are welcome to attend.