Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise: Where Business Meets Discourse [1 ed.] 1527508978, 9781527508972

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Table of contents :
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
1. Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise: Developments and Issues. An Introduction • Giuliana Elena Garzone and Walter Giordano
Part I. Business Communication on the Web
2. Evaluative Lexis and Employer Branding in Job Advertisements on LinkedIn • Giuliana Elena Garzone
3. Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters. Facebook Posts and Brand Identity • Esterina Nervino
4. New Club Manager Press Conferences: The Generic Anatomy of a Professional, web-mediated Genre • Dermot Heaney
5. Work on the Go: Linguistic and Discursive Dynamicity in Online Workshifting Communities • Roxanne Barbara Doerr
6. Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Misrepresentation on Consumer Review Websites • William Bromwich
7. The Homepage of Corporate Websites: Balancing Standardization and Dynamism in Online Corporate Communication • Emanuela Tenca
Part II. Corporate Reports and CSR
8. Genre Hybridization in Annual Reports: The Case of Walmart • Walter Giordano, Sergio Pizziconi and Laura Di Ferrante
9. The Generic Structure of CSR Reports: Dynamicity, Multimodality, Complexity and Recursivity • Marina Bondi and Danni Yu
10. The “Economicization” of CSR: A Linguistic Perspective • Paola Catenaccio
11. Multimodal Strategies of Knowledge Communication in Corporate Social Responsibility Reports and Sustainability Webpages: A Comparative Analysis • Donatella Malavasi
12. CSR Reports in our Globalized Era: Balancing National Culture and Global Trends • Franca Poppi
13. Exploring the Impact of CSR and the Discursive Construction of Corporate Identity: The Case of Moncler and Patagonia • Elisa Turra
Part III. Representation and Discursive Construction in Corporate Communication
14. Compliance to IFRS 7: Evidence from the Italian Banking Sector • Alessandra Allini, Luca Ferri, Marco Maffei and Annamaria Zampella
15. Building Employer Brands through Employee Testimonials: The Linguistic Expression of Values • Jolanta Łącka-Badura
16. Directives in Business (Sales) Discourse: Beschleunigung (Acceleration) as an Instrument for Creation of Time • Anna Danielewicz-Betz
17. The Discursive Construal of Trust through Narration: The Case of a Semiconductor Industry in Avezzano, Abruzzo, Italy • Janet Bowker
18. Shell’s Image of Climate Change and Its Representations in the British Financial Press • Oleksandr Kapranov
19. Local and Global Voices in the Discourse of the Vesuvian International Institute for Archaeology and the Humanities: Tactical Manipulation and Critical Misalignments • Emilia Di Martino
20. National Traits or Individual Traits? Turn-Taking Patterns in a Business Focus Group in Japan • Misa Fujio
21. The Construction of a Country’s Image for the Expo 2015 Event: The Case of English and German Websites • Daniela Cesiri and Laura A. Colaci
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Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise

Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise: Where Business Meets Discourse Edited by

Giuliana Elena Garzone and Walter Giordano

Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise: Where Business Meets Discourse Edited by Giuliana Elena Garzone and Walter Giordano This book first published 2018 Cambridge Scholars Publishing Lady Stephenson Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2PA, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2018 by Giuliana Elena Garzone, Walter Giordano and contributors All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-5275-0897-8 ISBN (13): 978-1-5275-0897-2


List of Figures........................................................................................... viii List of Tables ............................................................................................... x Contributors ............................................................................................... xii Chapter One ................................................................................................. 1 Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise: Developments and Issues. An Introduction Giuliana Elena Garzone and Walter Giordano Part I. Business Communication on the Web Chapter Two .............................................................................................. 16 Evaluative Lexis and Employer Branding in Job Advertisements on LinkedIn Giuliana Elena Garzone Chapter Three ............................................................................................ 49 Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters. Facebook Posts and Brand Identity Esterina Nervino Chapter Four .............................................................................................. 68 New Club Manager Press Conferences: The Generic Anatomy of a Professional, web-mediated Genre Dermot Heaney Chapter Five .............................................................................................. 88 Work on the Go: Linguistic and Discursive Dynamicity in Online Workshifting Communities Roxanne Barbara Doerr


Table of Contents

Chapter Six .............................................................................................. 110 Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Misrepresentation on Consumer Review Websites William Bromwich Chapter Seven.......................................................................................... 130 The Homepage of Corporate Websites: Balancing Standardization and Dynamism in Online Corporate Communication Emanuela Tenca Part II. Corporate Reports and CSR Chapter Eight ........................................................................................... 152 Genre Hybridization in Annual Reports: The Case of Walmart Walter Giordano, Sergio Pizziconi and Laura Di Ferrante Chapter Nine............................................................................................ 176 The Generic Structure of CSR Reports: Dynamicity, Multimodality, Complexity and Recursivity Marina Bondi and Danni Yu Chapter Ten ............................................................................................. 206 The “Economicization” of CSR: A Linguistic Perspective Paola Catenaccio Chapter Eleven ........................................................................................ 230 Multimodal Strategies of Knowledge Communication in Corporate Social Responsibility Reports and Sustainability Webpages: A Comparative Analysis Donatella Malavasi Chapter Twelve ....................................................................................... 249 CSR Reports in our Globalized Era: Balancing National Culture and Global Trends Franca Poppi Chapter Thirteen ...................................................................................... 279 Exploring the Impact of CSR and the Discursive Construction of Corporate Identity: The Case of Moncler and Patagonia Elisa Turra

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Part III. Representation and Discursive Construction in Corporate Communication Chapter Fourteen ..................................................................................... 298 Compliance to IFRS 7: Evidence from the Italian Banking Sector Alessandra Allini, Luca Ferri, Marco Maffei and Annamaria Zampella Chapter Fifteen ........................................................................................ 320 Building Employer Brands through Employee Testimonials: The Linguistic Expression of Values Jolanta àącka-Badura Chapter Sixteen ....................................................................................... 343 Directives in Business (Sales) Discourse: Beschleunigung (Acceleration) as an Instrument for Creation of Time Anna Danielewicz-Betz Chapter Seventeen ................................................................................... 362 The Discursive Construal of Trust through Narration: The Case of a Semiconductor Industry in Avezzano, Abruzzo, Italy Janet Bowker Chapter Eighteen ..................................................................................... 388 Shell’s Image of Climate Change and Its Representations in the British Financial Press Oleksandr Kapranov Chapter Nineteen ..................................................................................... 407 Local and Global Voices in the Discourse of the Vesuvian International Institute for Archaeology and the Humanities: Tactical Manipulation and Critical Misalignments Emilia Di Martino Chapter Twenty ....................................................................................... 428 National Traits or Individual Traits? Turn-Taking Patterns in a Business Focus Group in Japan Misa Fujio Chapter Twenty-One ............................................................................... 447 The Construction of a Country’s Image for the Expo 2015 Event: The Case of English and German Websites Daniela Cesiri and Laura A. Colaci


Figure 2.1 Structure of the LinkedIn job advertisement (the solid lines represent the demarcation between separate tabs, and the dashed lines delimit a separate area within the same tab Figure 3.1 Key domain cloud Figure 9.1 “Contents” in Heineken 2007 and 2011 Figure 9.2 The macro generic structure of CSR reports Figure 9.3 Part-genres in CSR-Ita-T, CSR-Chn-T, and CSR-Eng-T Figure 9.4 Tokens of the SP section and the PR section Figure 9.5 Examples of lay-out formats in Shell 2013 Figure 9.6 Lay-out formats in Main Report (CSR-Ita-T/ CSR-Chn-T/ CSR-Eng-T) Figure 9.7 Moves in the SP section and PR section of CSR-ICE-T Figure 11.1 BASF Report 2014 Figure 11.2 BASF website Figure 11.3 “Impact Investment and Microfinance” Credit Suisse Website Figure 11.4 Credit Suisse Report 2014 Figure 11.5 Unilever Report 2014 Figure 11.6 Unilever Website Figure 11.7 Eni Report 2014 Figure 11.8 Unilever website Figure 12.1 Overlapping circles of sustainability Figure 12.2 Delta’s key word cloud Figure 12-3 Delta’s key domain cloud Figure 12.4 Etihad’s key word cloud Figure 12.5 Etihad’s key domain cloud Figure 12-6 JAL’s key word cloud Figure 12.7 JAL’s key domain cloud Figure 16.1 Tool-related meta-discourse: basic structure of emails Figure 16.2 Directive codes: frequency of occurrence Figure 16.3 Most frequent urgency code categories Figure 17.1 Slide 1, Talk Outline Figure 17.2 Slide 2, Summarized Value Proposition Figure 17.3 Slide 3, Supply Chain Pyramid Figure 17.4 Slide 4, The March on Rome Figure 17.5 Slide 5, “A Mass for Hope”

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Figure 17.6 Slide 6, How can Management become the New Hero? Figure 17.7 Slide 7, Direct questions about conflict Figure 17.8 Slide 8, Activation Strategy in Crisis Figure 17.9 Slide 9, Learning and Strategy Figure 17.10 Slide 10, Organizational Systemic Complexity and Corporate Mindset Figure 17.11 Slide 11, Andy Grove’s ideas on Strategic Inflection Points Figure 17. 12 Slide 12, Learning lessons Figure 17.13 Slide 13, Who makes up the Group? Is the final Network The Group? Figure 17.14 Slide 14, Maximum common divisor or minimum common multiple? Figure 17.15 Slide 15, Mathematical complexity versus social complexity Figure 19.1 Picture from the brochure Italy Pleasure and Culture Figure 19.2 Picture from the brochure Italy Pleasure and Culture Figure 20.1 Floor-holding time and number of turns Figure 21.1 Homepage of the German website Figure 21.2 Homepage of Austria’s website. Figure 21.3 The ‘Towers’ on the Swiss website. Figure 21.4 Pollen and Plants on the British website. Figure 21.5 Homepage of the Irish website. Figure 21.6 Homepage of the USA website.


Table 2.1 List of the 20 most frequent evaluative / evaluatively used adjectives/premodifiers. Table 2.2 Distribution of the 20 most frequent evaluative / evaluatively used adjectives/premodifiers. Table 2.3 Evaluative adjectives /attributive premodifiers up to frequency 5 Table 3.1 Page insights. Facebook pages of the brands Table 3.2 Semantic fields and communication purposes Table 3.3 Self-mentions and engagement markers Table 4.1 Repertoire of obligatory and optional moves in the NCMPC Table 5.1 Division of neologisms regarding workshifting from the citrix.com glossary. Table 5.2 Names and numbers of posts. Table 8.1 Textual Architecture Dimensions Table 8.2 Classification of Images Table 8.3 Lexical Set A: Financial Terminology. Table 8.4 Social Responsibility Terminology. Table 8.5 Frequency of the Words in Lexical Set A Table 8.6 Frequency of the Words in Lexical Set B Table 8.7 Hypotaxis Table 8.8 Types of Main Clauses Table 9.1 CSR-Ita-T, CSR-Chn-T, and CSR-Eng-T . Table 9.2 The move scheme of CSR reports Table 9.3 Move pattern in a text of Shell 2013. Table 9.4 “Presenting corporate profile” in SP section (CSR-Ita-T/ CSRChn-T CSR-Eng-T) Table 9.5 “Presenting corporate governance” in SP (CSR-Ita-T/ CSRChn-T/ CSR-Eng-T) Table 9.6 “Stating values and beliefs” in SP (CSR-Ita-T/ CSR-Chn-T/ CSR-Eng-T) Table 9.7 “Establishing credentials” in SP (CSR-Ita-T/ CSR-Chn-T/ CSREng-T) Table 10.1 Details of corpora Table 10.2 Most frequent items in the three corpora Table 11.1 Companies’ CSR reports vs. webpages: approximated numbers of running words

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Table 11.2 CSR webpages vs. reports: Keywords with related ordinal rank and frequency of occurrence Table 12.1 The ratings of the three countries on the basis of Hofstede’s bipolar dimensions Table 12.2 The main distinguishing features of each of the three countries Table 14.1 Final sample composition Table 14.2 Mean statistics of FDI for financial risk Table 14.3 Mean statistic for each item of credit risk Table 14.4 Mean statistic for each item of market risk Table 14.5 Mean statistic for each item of liquidity risk Table 14.6 Relevance of disclosed information requested by IFRS 7 Table 15.1 Corporate websites from which the testimonials have been extracted. Table 15.2 Rational/functional and emotional/ psychological values Table 15.3 Rational/functional benefits expressed explicitly Table 15.4 Emotional/psychological benefits expressed explicitly Table 15.5 Values/benefits – HR perspective and corpus of ETs (comparison) Table 16.1 [Directive+ please]: examples Table 16.2 Most frequent [VP + please] sequences Table 17.1 Story types, narrative modes, speech functions and language in visual texts Table 18.1 Conceptual Metaphors Associated with Climate Change in Shell’s 2015-2016 ARs and Conceptual Metaphors Associated with Shell’s Climate Change-Related Activities by The FT


Alessandra Allini is associate professor of Accounting at the Department of Economics, Management, Institutions of the University of Naples Federico II, where she teaches public accounting, and financial analysis. Alessandra has trained and consulted with the National Accounting Standard Setter and local accounting standard bodies on financial accounting, international financial accounting standards, management accounting. Her main area of research and publications regards sustainability reporting, risk disclosure, performance measurement in cultural organizations, value relevance and IAS/IFRS. Anna Danielewicz-Betz is business English lecturer at LudwigMaximilian University of Munich, Germany. She has worked internationally throughout her career for institutions such as Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and lately as associate professor at the Centre for Language Research, University of Aizu, Japan. Her research interests include business/corporate communication, socio-pragmatics, interdisciplinary studies (e.g. forensic linguistics) and internationalisation of higher education. She also is an experienced business consultant and trainer offering customised in-house business English courses and coaching services for multinational companies. She has recently published a monograph entitled Communicating in Digital Age Corporations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Marina Bondi is a professor at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and Director of the CLAVIER centre (Corpus and LAnguage Variation In English Research). She has published extensively in the field of genre analysis, EAP and corpus linguistics, with a focus on argumentative dialogue and language variation across genres, disciplines and cultures. Janet Bowker is Associate Professor in English Linguistics in the Faculty of Economics, Sapienza University of Rome. Her research interests lie mainly in academic, institutional and professional discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, socio-cognitive pragmatics, ESP teaching and testing.

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She has been compiling a specialised corpus of business discourse for a number of years consisting of a wide range of organizational data. This has been used to explore a variety of topics such as description, evaluation and persuasion in internal and external company discourse, multimodal organizational communication, and intercultural business interactions. She has published extensively on these themes, including a book “Internal Organizational Discourse in English: Telling Corporate Stories”, 2014. Together with Rita Salvi, she is co-editor of “The Dissemination of Contemporary Knowledge in English”, 2015, and “Space, Place and Identity: Discursive Indexicality in Cultural, Institutional and Professional Fields, 2013. She has recently contributed to a book “The Discursive Construal of Trust in the Dynamics of Knowledge Diffusion”, co-edited by Rita Salvi and Judith Turnbull, 2017: “Organizational trust creation in peer coaching events: multimodal means and representations”. She serves as peer reviewer for national commissions appointed to evaluate research quality. William Bromwich is Associate Professor in English Linguistics at the Marco Biagi Department of Economics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, and at the Doctoral Research School at the Marco Biagi Foundation in Modena. His research interests include legal English, labour law terminology, courtroom discourse, genre theory, the linguistic construction of social reality, language and disability, and metaphor in economic and financial discourse. Recent publications include Bromwich (2013) Worlds of Professional Discourse, Mantua, Universitas Studiorum; Bromwich (2014) “Every Writer is Checked for Plagiarism”: Occluded Authorship in Academic Writing, in Ilie, Cornelia / Garzone, Giuliana (eds), Genres and Genre Theory in Transition: Specialized Discourses across Media and Modes, Boca Raton, Brown Walker; and Bromwich, (2016) Reputation Management and the Fraudulent Manipulation of Consumer Review Websites, in Tessuto, Jerome / Bhatia, Vijay / Garzone, Giuliana / Salvi, Rita / Williams, Christopher (eds) Constructing Legal Discourses and Social Practices: Issues and Perspectives, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press. Paola Catenaccio is Full Professor of English Linguistics and Translation at Università degli Studi di Milano. Her research interests lie primarily in the field of discourse analysis, which she applies to a variety of domains (legal discourse, business communication, the discourse of news production, the discourse of science and popularization) in combination with other methodological perspectives, adopting a multi-method approach to linguistic research, especially in an intercultural perspective. Her most



recent contributions focus on linguistic aspects of corporate communication, especially corporate social responsibility. She has authored numerous articles which have appeared in international journals and edited collections. Some of her publications are: Understanding CSR Discourse: Insights from Linguistics and Discourse Analysis (2012); “Social and environmental reports. A diachronic perspective on an emerging genre” (2011). She is also co-editor of Identities Across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives (2009) (with G. Garzone) and Genre Change in the Contemporary World (2012, with G. Garzone and C. Degano). She is also co-editor of a special issue of the journal Languages/Cultures/Mediation devoted to “Professional Practice across Domains: Linguistic and Discursive Perspectives” (2017, with G. Garzone and S. Sarangi). Daniela Cesiri holds a PhD in English Language and Linguistics. She is currently Assistant Professor of English Language and Translation in the Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies at “Ca’ Foscari” University of Venice. Her main research interests focus on applied linguistics, pragmatics, the use of corpora for discourse analysis, computer-mediated communication, metaphors in specialised discourse, and the study of ESP/EAP in different settings, domains and genres. She has published several articles on these topics, a monograph entitled “Nineteenth-century Irish English: a corpus-based linguistic and discursive analysis” published in 2012 by Mellen Press (Lampeter, Wales/NY), and a second volume published by Carocci (Rome) in 2015 entitled “Variation in English across time, space and discourse. An introductory textbook”. This textbook unites the author’s research and a state-of-the-art literature to introduce Italian undergraduate students to the several aspects of language change and variation in English. Laura Colaci holds a PhD in German Literature and a PhD in German Language and Linguistics. Currently, she is Post-Doc Fellow and Untenured Lecturer in German Language and Translation at the University of Salento. Dr. Colaci’s research interests include Corpus Linguistics, Conceptual Metaphor Theory, Contrastive Linguistics, Specialized Discourse in the domains of Economics and Tourism, as well as the study of audiovisual texts. On these topics, she has published articles in national and international journals and volumes, such as “Metaphors on the global crisis in economic discourse: a corpus-based comparison of The Economist, Der Spiegel and Il Sole 24 ORE” and “The ‘Euro Crisis’ in The Economist, Der Spiegel and Il Sole 24 Ore: A contrastive and corpusbased study”, both published in the journal Rassegna Italiana di Linguistica Applicata, and co-authored with Dr Daniela Cesiri (“Ca’

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Foscari” University of Venice), as well as the chapter “Diversità culturale e umorismo nel film Maria, ihm schmeckt’s nicht!” included in the volume Translating Humor in Audiovisual Texts (Peter Lang) edited by Gian Luigi De Rosa, et al. Laura Di Ferrante is a linguist and an expert in teaching Italian and English as foreign languages. Co-editor in chief of E-journALL, EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages. She holds two Ph.D.s in Linguistics and Teaching Italian as a Foreign Language and in English respectively from the University for Foreigners of Siena, Italy and from Texas A&M University-Commerce, USA. Currently she is Adjunct Professor of English at the Sapienza University of Rome, at the Language Center of Roma Tre University and at the Federico II University of Naples. Her research interests focus on Small Talk, Workplace Discourse, Cross-cultural Marketing, Second/Foreign Language Teaching and Learning, and L1/L2 Pragmatics. Her most recent publications focus on brand identity’s communicative strategies in TV commercials. Her current research delves into discursive strategies in the workplace as they contribute to social identity construction. Emilia Di Martino (PhD in English for Special Purposes, Università di Napoli Federico II) is Associate Professor of English Language and Translation at Università di Napoli Suor Orsola Benincasa. She is the author of numerous articles and volume publications, and has presented at many local and international conferences on a variety of topics, mostly focusing, in terms of linguistic issues, on the nexus between language, identity and power. She is currently editing a Special Issue of Journal of Pragmatics on Scientific communication with David Banks. Roxanne Barbara Doerr is an adjunct professor at the Universities of Milano (English language, English for communication in management), Padova (English in psychology) and Verona (medical-scientific English). She holds a PhD in English Studies from the University of Verona, the title of Dr. Phil. from the University of Köln, and the title of Doctor Europaeus for an international co-tutored interdisciplinary doctoral thesis. Her current areas of research and publication include language of and in new and social media, knowledge dissemination and popularization, critical discourse analysis, online discourse communities, military discourse, workplace communication, distance learning, English for specific purposes, English for psychology.



Luca Ferri is an Assistant Professor of Accounting at the Department of Economics, Management, Institutions of the University of Naples Federico II where he teaches analysis of financial flows and supports some teaching activities, like accounting, auditing, and management accounting. His main area of research and publication regards cloud computing, IT, financial and strategic risks, and performance measurement in football firms. Misa Fujio, PhD, is Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration at Toyo University, Japan. She obtained her PhD from the University of Tokyo in Applied Linguistics, after an earlier professional career in American-based global companies. Her research interests include intercultural communicative competence, business discourse analysis (especially of discourse involving Japanese business people) and intercultural business communication. Recently, she has led several projects funded by MEXT (the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan), including projects to investigate the abilities needed for globally-minded leaders and to examine mandatory English policy in Japanese organizations both in university and corporate sectors. Her recent publications include Communication Strategies in Action (Tokyo: Seibido); "Harmonious Disagreement in Japanese Business Discourse” (Chapter 4 of Discourse Perspectives on Organizational Communication), a publication which received the Distinguished Publication Award of the ABC (Association for Business Communication); and "The Role of Linguistic Ability and Business Expertise for Turn-taking in Intercultural Business Communication" in The GABC Journal, Vol. 3 (available on the internet). She is a former director of Japan Business Communication Association (JBCA) and editor-in-chief of its journal, as well as a member of the editorial review board of the GABC Journal. Giuliana Garzone is Full Professor of English, Linguistics and Translation at IULM International University of Languages and Communication, Milan (Italy), where she co-ordinates the Masters Programme in Specialized Translation and Conference Interpreting, and she is the Rector’s Delegate for Foreign Languages. Her research interests are mainly in ESP, which she has explored in a discourse analytical perspective, integrating it with corpus linguistics. She has co-ordinated several research projects and published extensively on legal, scientific and business discourse as well as on translation and interpreting. Her latest publications include the volume Le traduzioni come ‘fuzzy set’. Percorsi teorici e applicativi (Translations as a ‘fuzzy set’. Theory and applications) (LED Edizioni, 2015), and the book chapters “Polyphony and Dialogism in Legal Discourse: Focus on Syntactic Negation” (2016) and “Evolutions in Societal Values and

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Discursive Practices: Their Impact on Genre Change” (2014). She is editor-in-chief of the journal Languages Cultures Mediation, and is coeditor of the series “Lingua, traduzione, didattica” (“Language, translation, language teaching”) for the publisher FrancoAngeli. She sits on the advisory board of the international journals Text & Talk and Journal of Multicultural Discourses. Walter Giordano is a lecturer in English Language at the Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, where he has held the chair of Business English since 2007. His main research interests are LSP, with a particular concentration on business communication, discourse analysis and genre variation. His most recent publications focus on the discourse of financial reporting, of annual reports and on the analysis of car ads: American Car Ads in the 1950s: Discursive Features, Multimodality and Gender Issues (2014), Translation issues from Italian to English: a pilot study of three companies’ financial statements (2016) with Laura Di Ferrante and Sergio Pizziconi, “Dissociative identities: a multi-modal discourse analysis of TV commercials of Italian products in Italy and in the USA”, Palgrave Macmillan (2016). He organized the DICOEN VIII (Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise) International Conference in 2015. He is also a business consultant and he is specialized in training business professionals and corporate personnel. His textbook English for Business Communication is a best seller in the market of academic textbooks. Dermot Heaney is originally from Birmingham UK. He holds a doctorate from U.C.C. of the National University of Ireland. He is currently a tenured researcher in Translation and English Language and Linguistics at the Università degli Studi in Milan. He is on the editorial boards of the journals Altre Modernità and Current Trends in Translation Teaching and Learning E. His recent research interests lie mainly in the field of sports discourse, and his publications in this area include “Don Fabio and the taming of the three lions: the discursive construction of a foreign England manager’s identity on the sports online written media” (2013); “NNS Proficiency and Identity construction in Sports Media Discourse and Interactions” (2013); “Bowling Them Over and Over with Wit: Forms and Functions of Humour in Live Text Cricket Coverage” (2016). He is also co-editor of two recent volumes on LSP genres and translation and on the teaching of specialised discourse (2016). Oleksandr Kapranov (PhD, associate professor in English Linguistics) is currently employed at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway. Having received his PhD from The University of Western



Australia in Perth (WA), Oleksandr was a post-doctoral research fellow at The University of Bergen (Norway), where his research focus was on corporate discourse and climate change. Currently, he teaches English at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. Oleksandr's interests involve academic writing in EFL, discourse, cognitive linguistics, and psycholinguistics. Jolanta àącka-Badura holds a PhD in linguistics from the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. She has also completed two postgraduate qualifications in 1) Business Management and 2) European Integration at the University of Silesia. She works as a senior lecturer of Business English, head of the Foreign Language Center at University of Economics in Katowice. Her research interests include business communication, discourse analysis, the language of persuasion and evaluation, teaching English for Business Purposes Marco Maffei is Associate Professor of Accounting at the Department of Economics, Management, Institutions of the University of Naples Federico II, where he teaches advanced accounting and auditing. His main area of research and publications regards risk disclosure, performance measurement, financial instruments, IAS/IFRS and going concern. Moreover, he is Professor of accounting for financial instruments at Toulouse Business School. He is also coordinator of the project #empl-oi funded by the European Union with the aim to create structured, favourable and mutually beneficial ecosystem for transnational University-Business cooperation and study models that require students to act across traditional boundaries. Donatella Malavasi holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Languages and Cultures from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where she is now a Tenured Researcher in English Linguistics and Translation. Her research interests include the analysis of financial communication and Corporate Social Responsibility Reports (“The Multifaceted Nature of Banks’ Annual Reports as Informative, Promotional and Corporate Communication Practices”, 2010; “ ‘The Necessary Balance between Sustainability and Economic Success’: an Analysis of Fiat’s and Toyota’s Corporate Social Responsibility Reports”, 2012), and the construction of identity in business discourse (“ ‘Made in Italy’: Local and Global Distinctive Traits”, 2013; “Selling How Good We Are: An Analysis Of Web-Based CSR Communication In 'Made In Italy' Companies”, 2014). Esterina Nervino is a PhD candidate at the Department of English of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She graduated from Universita’ degli

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Studi della Calabria, Italy (B.A. in Language Mediation) and Universita’ degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy (M.A. in Languages for Communication in Businesses and International Organizations) where she is also Cultore della Materia in Intercultural Communication and Language Variation, before being awarded with the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (2014-2017). Esterina is currently working on her PhD project on the semiotic construction branding discourse of luxury fashion firms in the social media. She has shared her preliminary findings at several conferences and is currently working on publications in the area of applied linguistics and social semiotics. A book chapter entitled “Branding Burberry through Facebook Posts: A Multimodal Analysis of Site-specific Discursive Practices” will appear in the edited volume Analyzing the Media - A Systemic Functional Approach (Kaltenbacher & Stöckl, 2018) which will be published by Equinox. Besides her thesis, Esterina has been conducting research on the relationship between luxury and art, corporate social responsibility, country of origin effect and language use, retail experience, intercultural communication, media communication. Sergio Pizziconi, with an Italian doctorate in Linguistics and Italian Applied Linguistics, and an American Ph.D. in English with emphasis in Applied Linguistics, taught courses in the linguistic and composition areas both in Italian and American universities. His research interests are in cognitive linguistics, languages for specific purposes, and first/second language acquisition and teaching. Recent publications: with Marzo Zanasi and Daniele Silvi, “Dream Coding: Re-writing dream reports as an object of textual analysis” University of GdaĔsk Press (2015) and with Laura Di Ferrante and Walter Giordano, “Dissociative identities: a multimodal discourse analysis of TV commercials of Italian products in Italy and in the USA”, Palgrave Macmillan (2016). Franca Poppi is Associate Professor of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. She has published on various aspects of teacher-learner interaction, learner autonomy and advising in self-instruction. She has also focused on the interactional features of discourse, with particular reference to academic settings (economics and marketing textbooks) and the language of the law. Her current research interests center on English as an international lingua franca, as it is used in intercultural business communication, written corporate communication and corporate web-site communication. She is a reviewer for the Asian ESP Journal, the Profile Journal, Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development and the Journal of Linguistics and Literature Studies



Her publications include: Global Interactions in English as a Lingua Franca (2012); Enriching the University ELT curriculum with Insights from ELF, in G. Garzone, D. Heaney and G. Riboni (2016); Conveying Trust in a Globalized Era, in R. Salvi and J. Turnbull (2017). Emanuela Tenca received her PhD at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), where she wrote her dissertation on the global version in English of companies’ websites. Her research interests include International and Intercultural Business Communication, Corporate Communication, English as a Business Lingua Franca, English for Specific Purposes, and Multimodal Discourse Analysis. Currently, she is adjunct professor of English at the University of Padova (Italy). Elisa Turra holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Lancaster. She teaches Languages for specific purposes at Università Bocconi, English for Communication studies at Università di Pavia and holds company courses on Business Communication, Meetings and Negotiation. She has also taught courses at the University of Edinburgh, Università degli Studi di Milano and Università degli Studi di Modena. Her research and publications focus on business meetings, corporate and intercultural communication and classroom interaction. Among her latest publications are the volume Investigating Interactional Strategies in New Economy Business Meetings (2012) and the article “Pragmatic and Rhetorical Strategies in ELF Courses of Business Negotiation: An Interdisciplinary Approach” (2016). Danni Yu is a lecturer at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. Her research focuses on corporate social responsibility reports and crosscultural studies. She has published several papers in the field of CSR reporting and discourse analysis. Annamaria Zampella is a post-doc in Accounting at the Department of Economics, Management, Institutions of the University of Naples Federico II where she supports the teaching activity related to accounting, public accounting, management accounting and auditing. Her main area of research and publication regards value relevance, financial instruments, risk disclosure, IAS/IFRS and innovation in biotech firms.


Introductory remarks This volume collects research studies that investigate various aspects of corporate communication from the viewpoint of language and discourse, giving special attention to emerging issues and recent developments in times of rapid sociotechnical evolution. Its chapters are loosely based on a selection of the papers presented at the DICOEN VIII Conference, held in Naples in June 20151, on the theme of “Language, discourse and action in professional practice”. “DICOEN” stands for “Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise”. This is the name of a global informal research network, comprising scholars from all continents working in a variety of disciplines – linguistics, discourse analysis, communication studies, organisation and management studies, economics, marketing, accounting, etc. – who are 1

The DICOEN VIII Conference was held at Università di Napoli Federico II, Department of Economics and Statistics, on June 11th – 12th 2015. The previous DICOEN encounters took place in 2001 in Lisbon, Portugal (DICOEN I), in 2003 in Vigo, Spain (DICOEN II), in 2005 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (DICOEN III), in 2007 in Nottingham, U.K. (DICOEN IV), in 2009 in Milan, Italy (DICOEN V), in 2011 in Hong Kong (DICOEN VI), in 2013 in Beijing (DICOEN VII). A further edition of the conference was subsequently held in Birmingham in June 2017 (DICOEN IX). Cf. also Garzone and Gotti 2011.


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interested in the relevance of discourse and communication to the world of business and organizations. Researchers belonging to this informal network meet every two years to discuss the results of their investigations, exchange views on research methods and analytical tools in light of the latest developments, pinpoint topical issues and research themes to which the attention of the discipline is currently addressed and debate them collaboratively. The choice of the aspects to be dealt with in the various chapters was made with a view to covering a range of issues and topics that is as wide and representative as possible, providing a broad outline of ongoing research in the area of business and corporate communication. The resulting collection includes studies that are diverse in their outlook, analytical procedures and objects of enquiry, spanning various areas of corporate communication, both external and internal: corporate image and reputation management, various forms of corporate behaviour, branding at different levels including employer branding, recruiting, consumer reviews, etc. Similarly diversified are the settings, genres and media analysed (from face-to-face interaction to communication through the press, from traditional websites to social networking sites). But, in broad terms, all the studies presented in this volume are set in a discourseanalytical framework and share the ultimate purpose of providing new insights into the latest evolutions of communication and discourse practices in the corporate environment, taking account of the most important issues that have attracted researchers’ interest and are still open to debate. The volume is organized as follows: the chapters in Part I focus on business communication on the Web, an area that has received intense scholarly attention on account of the dramatic impact that the spread of Internet usage has had on the overall constitution of corporate communication leading to the migration and adjustment of traditional genres and the rise of new web-native genres. The focus in Part II shifts to corporate reporting, and in particular to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports, an area of research on corporate communication that has seen a surge of interest in the last three decades. Finally, the studies featured in Part III look at a variety of different discourse practices deployed both in internal and external communication, giving special attention to strategies enacted by companies for purposes of branding and corporate-image construction.

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Contents of the book The book opens with a section entitled “Business Communication on the Web”, that focuses on different Internet genres, at a time when webmediated communication has seen its relative importance grow exponentially, favoured by technological advances and their increasing pervasiveness (cf. e.g. Georgakopoulou and Spilioti 2016). In this context an especially prominent role has been recently played by Social Networking Sites (SNSs), that is, web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within that system, and form relationships with other users of the same Web site (cf. e.g. boyd and Ellison 2007). Social media networks are a major resource for businesses that want to promote their brands on the Internet, enhance their reputation and connect with customers. Among them, LinkedIn distinguishes itself for being tailored to the workplace environment. In particular, it is specialized in the offering of career content, and has recruitment as one of its most important functions (cf. Garzone forth). In the first chapter in this section, Giuliana Elena Garzone focuses on job ads published on LinkedIn, which in spite of their apparent similarity to announcements posted on other recruitment platforms or in newspapers have been shown to be communicatively more complex and take full advantage of the options made available by the SNS where they are posted, displaying various additional features that contribute to setting job advertisements within the context of the SNS, i.e. of a virtual community of practice (cf. Garzone forth). Garzone’s study has its starting point in the analysis of a corpus of job ads posted on LinkedIn and discusses the use of evaluative language, a feature that is especially prominent today. At a time when promotional messages play a crucial role in corporate communication, the migration of this genre to the web has freed it from constraints in terms of text length (number of words and characters) that traditionally applied to ads published in newspapers and has given ample scope for the components that go beyond the basic recruiting message and largely consist of evaluative language. In particular, the study focuses on positively charged lexis, identifying recurrent patterns in its use, and maps its quantitative distribution with regard to the main actors involved. The analysis demonstrates that recurrent recourse to positively charged language is not only a way to realise employer branding strategies (as some scholars have argued), but it is also used – and more prominently – to refer to the ideal candidate and to the position being offered, sometimes contributing to setting very high, even seemingly unrealistic requirements


Chapter One

for the potential candidate. At the same time the study contributes to the conceptualization of recourse to evaluation on business oriented SNSs. In the next chapter, authored by Esterina Nervino, the focus is still on social media, but shifts from LinkedIn to Facebook, a SNS which has a more specifically personal/individual character, but is nevertheless used quite extensively in corporate communication for branding and advertising purposes. Nervino’s study provides an overview on the use of discourse on Facebook by companies in the luxury industry for branding purposes. In this respect she identifies three main aspects: engagement, as the fundamental pillar of social media activity; entertainment, which is recreated through the deployment of storytelling; and integration, realized through the use of hyperlinks redirecting the users from Facebook to other online outlets. Another important notion exploited by luxury brands is that of brand heritage. According to Nervino, this approach is geared to catering to the tastes of consumers in the luxury industry who have become ever more educated and sophisticated, and informed about the characteristics of products. In this respect, she concludes, research on relevant multimodal corpora can potentially lead to a more systematic and global understanding of the process of construction of the concept of luxury in the digital environment. In the following chapter, the focus is on YouTube, a video sharing site where users can watch, like, share, comment on and upload their own videos. Considered as being part of Web 2.0, YouTube is often classified among social media sites although strictu sensu it is not (cf. Benson 2017). Dermot Heaney focuses on videos of inaugural press conferences by native speaker football managers posted on YouTube and available on football club websites. After identifying the characteristic communicative purpose and move structure of the genre, the study, which is essentially qualitative in approach, examines the main discursive strategies implemented by football managers in order to establish their credentials and suitability for the job, and their unswerving commitment to the team, to the club, and its traditions. The chapter also discusses how these media events posted on YouTube are exploited to interact with various other members of the participation framework, like journalists, but also other legitimated overhearing audiences, for example, fans, players, and sponsors. The results of the analysis indicate that in this Web-mediated media genre the language and moves associated with the notions of permanence and identification with the club brand are central to this professional role, even though the unpredictable nature of the game and a ruthless corporate logic have combined to create a dynamic of pervading job insecurity and impermanence.

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Further discursive investigations of new web-mediated discursive activities are presented in Chapter Five where Roxanne Barbara Doerr explores the organizational practices associated with the innovative work organization of “workshifting”, also referred to as “remote working”, or “telecommuting”, resulting from advances in communication and collaboration technology, and characterised by increased mobility and hybridity of the workplace, and looks at the linguistic and discursive practices characterizing the relevant online communities. Doerr’s attention focuses on the multimodal and linguistic choices that are adopted by these workers and their online communities of practice in order to present, promote and distinguish their professional and/or corporate identity and strategies. Qualitative critical discourse analysis is carried out on three interlinked but very different blogs (Citrix.com, Workshifting.com, and Misfits-inc.com), looking in particular at definitions, neologisms and discursive strategies. The findings indicate that the practice of workshifting has consolidated itself within all organizational levels, created new professional profiles and taken on different registers and agendas within the professional community. Doerr concludes that, on all of these linguistic and discursive levels, the language that is emerging to satisfy the communicative and empowerment needs related to workshifting and workshifters reflects the dynamicity that this trending work practice presents and advocates. In the next chapter, authored by William Bromwich, the centre of attention is the growing importance of consumer reviews on online platforms, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, but also consumers’ and vendors’ ratings of web-mediated and app-mediated transactions, e.g. on eBay, Uber, BlaBlaCar and Amazon. While consumer reviews contribute to creating added value for businesses, Bromwich points out that such value is totally intangible and dependent on the credibility of reviews, which is inherently problematic as most of the content is user-generated by means of crowd-sourcing. So, in spite of deception detection methods, some of which are explained and discussed in the chapter, it is difficult for companies to fend off misrepresentation practices. Bromwich discusses some interesting cases of fake reviews and other forms of malpractice that ended up in court both in Europe and in the US, and points out that both consumers and companies should always be on the guard and very careful. In the last study of this section, by Emanuela Tenca, attention shifts to one of the earliest web-genres to emerge, i.e. the homepage of a company’ website. The examination of thirty European companies’ homepages is carried out by means of Multimodal Discourse Analysis. The findings partly confirm and partly question the principles and strategies identified


Chapter One

in 2005 by Askehave and Ellerup Nielsen (2005), indicating that in time companies have updated their online communication, while maintaining some fundamental elements. In particular, among the lines of change under way at the present time there are the desire to compete with social networking sites and the need to adapt website content to the small screens of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, which arguably pose constraints on the ways in which information is presented. As many authors have pointed out since the early days of research on Hypermedia computer-mediated communication (cf. e.g. Garzone, Catenaccio and Poncini 2007), the inherent fluidity of the medium demands that in discourse analytical research generic categorizations are revised from time to time, in order to account for the latest evolutions. Part II of the volume focuses in particular on Corporate Reports and CSR, a theme that has attracted substantial scholarly attention in business communication studies in the last few years. Under a CSR perspective, the traditional view of the enterprise as a subject aimed exclusively (and sometimes ruthlessly) at profit regardless of its consequences in terms of labour relations, social impact, environmental effects, etc. is left behind. Rather, reference is made to a renewed view of the enterprise as a sociotechnical subject set within a social and political context, willing to take responsibility for the environmental and social impact of its activities well beyond what may be required by law or by environmental protection regulations (cf. among others Catenaccio 2012). A socially responsible business enterprise integrates ethical values and self-regulation into its business model and into its workplace culture. Today these issues are at the centre of a rich and interesting line of research in discourse analysis and in corporate communication studies. The first chapter in this section looks at Annual Company Reports and aims at a greater understanding of their transformations throughout an eight-year time frame (2000-2008). The three authors, Walter Giordano, Sergio Pizziconi and Laura Di Ferrante examine the case of WalMart whose annual reports have been identified as an ideal corpus, having proved to be suitable for a study on the phenomenon of hybridization, i.e. communication involving both financial and promotional discourse. For this purpose, three levels of analysis (textual, lexical and syntactic) have been particularly useful to undertake a comparative study aiming to identify the most outstanding differences between WalMart’s recent annual reports and the previous ones. Results indicate that annual reports included in the corpus seem to be more customer-oriented than before, notably thanks to the large use of images and of syntactic strategies such as hypotaxis, making the text usable for every kind of addressee. This

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tendency to hybridization characterizing the genre of annual reports seems to be part of a more general evolution leading corporations to develop a closer relationship with their customers. All the other chapters in this section explore various features of Corporate Social Responsibility reports. Marina Bondi and Danni Yu investigate an annotated corpus of 18 CSR reports in Italian, Chinese and English, collected from the banking and energy sectors, in order to provide an account on the similarities and variations in the generic structure of the CSR report, with a focus on the self-presentation section. Combining corpus tools and theories developed in genre analysis, the study highlights four discourse features of the CSR report genre: dynamicity, complexity, multimodality, and recursivity. The comparative analysis reveals several cross-cultural variations in discourse features, e.g. in multimodal aspects, text length, preference for a partgenre or for specific moves. At the same time, the study highlights great cross-cultural convergence, with the clear possibility of establishing a common rhetorical structure and exploring common business approaches in the increasing global context of disclosure documents. The patterns highlighted can be understood in relation to a view of companies as social and economic actors engaged in corporate image construction, corporate culture creation and reputation enhancement. Bondi and Yu’s chapter is followed by a study by Paola Catenaccio who investigates the discursive construction of the concept of value and related notions in a set of documents published by the International Integrated Reporting Council, an organization whose aim is to promote integrated reporting (i.e. combining financial and social reporting) in accounting practice, and in a corpus of recently issued integrated reports where this form of reporting is implemented. Her study aims to verify if and to what extent the purported “social” turn in reporting is reflected in the language used in the literature on and in the practice of corporate reporting. More specifically, in the face of emphatic claims as to the “different” – novel and better – nature of integrated reporting, the paper highlights discursive nodes which appear to be conceptually fuzzy and liable to multiple operationalizations, and this testifies to their nature as “floating” or “empty” signifiers. The chapter highlights the implications of a discourse-based approach to corporate social responsibility for a better understanding of this phenomenon, advocating the importance of a multidisciplinary approach comprehensive of a linguistic perspective. In the following chapter Donatella Malavasi reports on the results of a comparative study of two small corpora, including the CSR reports and webpages generated by a sample of European companies working in three


Chapter One

different sectors (Credit Suisse and BBVA for Banking; Nestlé and Unilever for Food and Beverages; BASF and Eni for Oil and Gas). In an attempt to analyse the process of the intralingual and intersemiotic translation of information from printed into digital materials, the two sets of documents are examined in a selection of multimodal configurations and language strategies used by firms to communicate their sustainability. The results suggest that highly informative portions of reports, mostly covering data, performance and achievements, are counterbalanced on the Web by more discursive and ‘diluted’ sections which focus on companies’ CSR goals, values, programs, and partnerships. Furthermore, in the migration of information from the written to the digital medium, the charts, tables, and diagrams that pervade the reports are replaced on the Web by photographs, drawings and other audio/video materials that are used by companies to showcase their CSR principles and initiatives. A further perspective on CSR reports emerges in Franca Poppi’s chapter, which discusses the issue of tension between global trends and cultural markedness, examining case studies from the airline industry. The study is based on the analysis of the English version of CSR reports published between 2011 and 2013 on the corporate websites of Delta, Etihad and JAL, and aims at verifying how global carriers are currently engaging in global communication, while at the same time trying to balance their cultural identity and global appeal. Through the analysis of the main semantic areas and key words in the corpora and their collocations, similarities and differences in terms of the values underpinning the different airlines’ commitment to CSR are identified and the interplay between globalization and local culture in their communication is explored. In Chapter Thirteen Elisa Turra compares the different CSR approaches found on the corporate websites of Moncler and Patagonia, two international apparel manufacturers using animal feathers in their products. The analysis of different forms of corporate communication (websites, ads, CEO letters in CSR and Financial Annual Reports) shows that CSR has become a powerful marketing tool, as well as a long-term corporate strategy. Corporate social responsibility is foregrounded in Patagonia’s corporate website, where among a range of different documents available, the CEO letter in the CSR report is noteworthy in that it aims at constructing the identity of a socially responsible company, while at the same time highlighting the company’s distinctive CSR approach. The other case study examined, Moncler, refers to an episode in which the company was accused of cruelty to animals (geese used for feathers) and its shares plummeted, but it managed to neutralize the

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potential source of distrust by promptly denying all the allegations in a press-release. It also increased the space devoted to CSR on its website, published the first CSR report and incorporated responsibility, sustainability and respect into its values and mission statement. Part Three of the volume, entitled “Representation and Discursive Construction in Corporate Communication”, collects studies that investigate a variety of aspects of corporate communication, both internal and external, focusing on a range of different activities, from accounting to human resources, from sales to promotion. The section is opened by a study focusing on Italian banks. Being authored by four experts in accounting, Alessandra Allini, Luca Ferri, Marco Maffei and Annamaria Zampella, the chapter meaningfully reflects the basic concept underlying DICOEN’s philosophy, which advocates a synergy between scholars in linguistics and discourse analysis on the one hand, and professionals and experts in specific disciplines in the area of economics and business administration on the other. Allini et al.’s study aims to verify whether the Italian banking sector is compliant with the information required under the IFRS 7. The banking sector seems to be particularly concerned with this issue, especially after the financial crisis. Since banks have taken on increasingly prominent roles in international business, their financial reporting is likely to be more opaque than that of industrial companies. Furthermore, the regulatory framework of bank financial risks is complex since it is formulated by a range of different bodies. In the literature, however, various scholars pinpoint the incompleteness of such frameworks, which is one of the premises for IFRS 7. Overall, results show a medium level of compliance with financial risk disclosure requirements under IFRS 7 in the Italian banking sector over the period 2007-2013. In Chapter Fifteen the focus shifts to corporate values as they are conveyed in texts aimed at employer branding. Jolanta àącka-Badura’s study aims to identify the values constituting the Employee Value Proposition that are communicated by companies through their existing employees, and to explore how those values are expressed linguistically. The analysis, based on a corpus of employee testimonials extracted from the corporate websites of selected organisations, shows that the emotional/psychological benefits and employer brand values are mentioned by existing employees far more frequently than the functional/rational benefits. While the majority of values and benefits are expressed explicitly, with positively charged lexical items denoting (or easily associated with) particular values, there are some interesting instances of less explicit expression of values. Most of the findings are consistent with the observations made by organisational


Chapter One

scholars and HR practitioners about the salience of the highest ranking values, although significant differences have been found for two rational/functional values: remuneration and job security. The communication dynamics explored in the next chapter by Anna Danielewicz-Betz pertain to internal communication, as the focus is on the managerial tool-related meta-discourse of top-down directives in the context of IT Sales and enterprise software, where employees are pressured to perform in an accurate and timely manner to drive corporate results. Danielewicz-Betz puts forth the findings of a research carried out on 240 anonymized emails originating from three global IT companies that is preliminary to a larger research project on internal business communication, with a corpus of over 4,000 emails. The results of the quantitative and qualitative analysis conducted suggest that imperative, declarative, conditional, and interrogative forms are frequently employed when anticipating and/or addressing issues connected with ‘tools’ and tool-mediated reporting, with requests being infrequent in such context. The prominent category of ‘urgency’, including priorities and deadlines, drew the author’s attention to yet another aspect of modern existence reflected in digital business discourse, i.e. ‘acceleration of time’, which further brought into focus technological and social forms of acceleration. In the following chapter Janet Bowker uses the data provided by a semiconductor industry located in the Abruzzo region of Italy as recounted by one of its major figures and current CEO. It analyses the use of storytelling as a tool for trust repair between the company and stakeholders through the construction of a shared discourse. In particular, it examines the multi-modal visual texts which accompany the CEO’s workshop presentations to a part of the Business Studies academic community. The CEO, through his own “personal signature story”, recounts the troubled history of the company in a series of embedded and interlinked narratives. The discursive construal of trust is analysed linguistically through semantico-grammatical choices, speech functions, argumentation, word-image relationships and semiotic ensembles. At the same time, the study sheds light on the broader dimensions of rapid, often crisis-driven, transformation, revealing the embedding of “small stories” inside the “big stories” of contemporary business. In Chapter Eighteen Oleksandr Kapranov presents a qualitative discourse analysis of Royal Dutch Shell’s corporate image building in the domain of climate change, which is investigated from the vantage point of cognitive linguistics and elucidated by means of a conceptual metaphor analysis of Shell’s 2014 Annual Report. The focus then shifts on how the image thus constructed is rendered in the Financial Times articles in

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discourses on Shell’s climate change-related activities. Findings reveal that the company’s climate change narratives involve conceptual metaphors that remained stable over a period of two years (2015-2016). Findings also indicate that the conceptual metaphors used by the Financial Times to frame Royal Dutch Shell’s climate change-related activities are in most cases qualitatively identical to those deployed by the company itself. Notably, they are: the ‘Challenge’, ‘Politics’, ‘Battle’, ‘Journey’, ‘Money’, ‘Transparency’, and ‘Low Carbon’ metaphors. Instead, specific to the Financial Times are the ‘Carbon Bubble’ and the ‘Threat’ metaphors. This provides evidence that the image of climate change construed by Royal Dutch Shell was partially mapped onto its representation by the Financial Times. The next chapter, authored by Emilia Di Martino, deals with communication by a cultural institution, the Vesuvian International Institute for Archaeology and the Humanities, whose members are the University of Maryland, the Campania region, and the Naples and Pompeii Archaeological Superintendence. The analysis aims at identifying the strategies the Institute enacts to put forward a common voice out of the diverse aspects and interests which define each of its individual members, also verifying if such strategies actually succeed in avoiding critical misalignments among its multiple identities and constructing a coherent and unitary image. These questions are approached via a mixed methodology integrating both qualitative and quantitative data at all stages of the research process. What seems to emerge from this preliminary analysis is a partially incoherent representation of the identity of the Vesuvian Institute, most probably as a result of the different voices making it up. An aspect to be considered is also the surprisingly poor quality of the documents produced up to the time when informationgathering for this study was carried out. A series of new documents recently made available on the Internet may soon disclose a different picture, possibly also following the attention brought to the issue by this study. The last two chapters of the book are based on the idea that, today in spite of an impressive uniformity across the board, discursive business practices are nonetheless to some extent influenced by the cultural values pertaining to each single country. The features of corporate discourse investigated in these two chapters are respectively peculiar to the companies and/or institutions of a single country or involve comparable strategies identified in companies and/or institutions in different countries. The country on which attention is centred in the first of such chapters, authored by Misa Fujio, is Japan. The turn-taking patterns of a business


Chapter One

focus group conducted in that country are analysed. One tendency typical of Japanese culture, subservience to seniority, is observed with a slightly different variation. Although in the focus group the floor was dominated by the two older participants, an equivalent correlation between age and floor-holding was not observed in the other participants’ behaviour, suggesting the influence of individual traits such as the speaker's involvement in the topic or degree of expertise. In addition, the discourse used in turns was also analysed, with a special focus on the way of disagreeing. The data reveal that, unlike in previous studies on Japanese business discourse, the participants clearly display their disagreement with others, even with senior participants, although they are careful to ensure their expressions were polite. This might partly be due to the nature of this focus group, whose participants were collected from different companies and were not influenced by the same clear power relations that exist in an in-house meeting. The influence of power relations on turn-taking will be an interesting topic that invites further empirical studies. The book is closed by a chapter, authored by Daniela Cesiri and Laura Antonella Colaci, that explores the different images projected on their websites respectively by English-speaking countries (the UK, the USA, Ireland) and German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) in communications regarding Expo 2015. A qualitative analysis is carried out of the visual and verbal strategies deployed by these countries to construct their image, ‘sell’ it to stakeholders and create specific expectations in the prospective visitors not only for the Expo pavilions, but also for the actual countries, corroborated by quantitative analysis of a corpus of texts. The findings reveal that that the main Expo theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ was developed differently by the various subjects involved. The group of German-speaking countries constructed their image remaining more faithful to the main Expo theme, especially in reinforcing the idea of countries’ consciousness of sustainable policies, land management in tourism promotion (Germany and Austria), and in the equal distribution of food (Switzerland). The group of English-speaking countries, instead, used the Expo theme as a starting point to develop an individual interpretation, focusing on the natural resources typical of each country: the orchard for the UK, North Atlantic life for Ireland and rural food and traditions for the USA. This is revealing of each country’s culture. In light of the analysis, Cesiri and Colaci conclude that the most effective strategies of country image construction were provided by Germany and the UK because they created dynamic, interactive pages through the combination of concise but

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effective verbal descriptions and visual elements, including thematicallyrelevant music, tunes and sounds. The picture that emerges from this diversified and rich collection of essays is one of a scholarly community engaged in the difficult task of keeping pace with an ever changing corporate communication landscape, characterised by remarkable dynamism. Evolutions are partly due to continuous technological advances, which make hitherto unimaginable activities possible, fostering innovation and requiring the adaptation of existing genres and the introduction of new ones. The effort to come to terms with these new developments emerges clearly in all the Chapters that either directly or indirectly deal with computer-mediated communication. But there are yet other evolutions that are triggered by shifts in ideological perspectives, as in the age of mature capitalism and globalisation a new conception of the business enterprise is taking shape, much more complex than the idea based on the prevalence of profit generation that predominated in earlier stages of capitalism. Hence intense research efforts focusing on the discursive realization of the new conceptualisations, which have become an indispensable part of a company’s communication effort. Today discourse studies have to work within these multiple perspectives, urged on as they are by various strands of diversified, unrelenting evolutions. This is a challenge that requires not only the continuous updating of descriptions, but also – more importantly – the fine-tuning of research methods and analytical tools: a very demanding task researchers are permanently engaged in.

References Askehave, Inger and Anne Ellerup Nielsen. 2005. “Digital Genres: A Challenge to Traditional Genre Theory”. Information Technology & People 18(2), 120–141. Benson, Phil. 2017. The Discourse of Youtube: Multimodal Text in a Global Context. New York, London: Routledge. boyd, danah M. and Nicole B. Ellison. 2007. “Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship”. Journal of Computer-mediated Communication 13 no. 1, doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x. Available at: . Catenaccio, Paola. 2012. Understanding CSR Discourse. Insights from Linguistics and Discourse Analysis. Milano: Arcipelago.


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Garzone, Giuliana. Forth. “Job Advertisements on LinkedIn: Generic Integrity and Evolution”. Accepted for publication in Lingue e linguaggi. Garzone, Giuliana, Paola Catenaccio and Gina Poncini (eds). 2007. Multimodality in Corporate Communication. Web Genres and Discursive Identity. Milano: FrancoAngeli. Garzone, Giuliana and Maurizio Gotti. 2011. Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise: Genres and Trends. Bern: Peter Lang. Georgakopoulou, Alexandra and Tereza Spilioti. 2016. The Routledge Handbook of Language and Digital Communication. London: Routledge.



1. Introduction Among the genres that in the last few decades have most massively migrated to the Web, a prominent position is held by job advertisements, which in the Western world are now mostly posted online and only rarely published in national newspapers or magazines, although printed job ads can still occasionally be found in local newspapers or giveaways, and, for high level managerial positions, in some of the quality papers, and in particular the Financial Times (cf. e.g. Del Castillo 2016). This is a sea change for a centuries-old genre that for most of its life has existed mainly in the daily/weekly press environment in the form of classified ads. Today employers often post their job announcements on specialised job search sites like monster (https://www.monster.co.uk)2, totaljobs (www.totaljobs. com) and indeed (www.indeed.com), or in the job sections of online newspapers, like Guardian Jobs (https://jobs.theguardian.com), Telegraph Jobs (https://jobs.telegraph.co.uk) or Independent Jobs (http://independent jobs.independent.co.uk). A further option has emerged from the rise of Social Networking Sites (SNSs), and in particular LinkedIn, which – being


The research presented in this chapter contributes to the national research programme (Programma di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale 2015) “Knowledge Dissemination across media in English: continuity and change in discourse strategies, ideologies, and epistemologies”, financed by the Italian Ministry for the University for 2017-2019 (nr.2015TJ8ZAS). 2 Unless otherwise indicated, all websites were last visited on 25 February 2018.

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


tailored to the workplace environment – is specialized in the offer of career content and has recruitment as one of its most important functions. This study has its starting point in the analysis of a corpus of job ads posted on LinkedIn, and discusses the use of evaluative language, a feature that – as will be seen – is especially salient in this genre today and has been interpreted as a way to realise employer branding strategies. After introducing the job advertisement as a genre and its structure briefly, with special regard for online and LinkedIn ads, this study focuses on positively charged lexis. Recurrent patterns in its use are identified and at the same time its quantitative distribution with regard to the main actors involved is determined, thus providing hard facts useful to verify the soundness of the idea that recourse to evaluative lexis in job ads is mainly aimed at employer branding.

2. Materials and method The corpus this study is based on comprises 172 job advertisements for Project Manager (PM) and other similar middle management positions originally posted on LinkedIn, with reference to four selected locations – London, Amsterdam, New York and Melbourne – to guarantee global representativeness and avoid geographical distortions. Fifty ads were downloaded from 15th to 28th February 2017 for each location, with the exception of Amsterdam, for which only twenty-two ads for the kind of position and the period chosen were found. The corpus consists of a total of 99,598 running words, STT (Standardized Type/Token Ratio) 48.94, with each single advertisement varying in length from 182 to 1,287 words, for an average length of 571 words 3 . After a first preliminary step involving the close reading of a representative sample of ads, this corpus will be analysed in quantitative terms by means of automated computer routines, using the Wordsmith Tools 6.0 software suite (Scott 2012), and in particular the Wordlist and Concordance tools. The research reported on here is set in a discourse-analytical framework, including genre analysis, and especially its ESP tradition 4 (Swales 1990, 2004; Bhatia 1993, 2004/2014) and its later developments aimed at adapting it to web-mediated communication (cf. Askehave and 3

Given the particular configuration of job ads posted on LinkedIn, the texts collected in the corpus include the job description proper, excluding all the additional sections typical of LinkedIn with the exception of the About Us section, which has been included. See § 3.2 below. 4 For an overview of the various traditions in genre analysis, cf. Garzone 2013.


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Swales 2001; Askehave and Ellerup Nielsen 2004; Garzone 2007; Georgakopoulou and Spilioti 2016). A notion generated in Discourse Analysis that is fundamental in this study is that of evaluation. This is a broad term which Hunston and Thompson (2000: 5) define as “a broad cover term for the expression of the speaker’s or writer’s attitude or stance towards, viewpoint on, or feelings about the entities or propositions he or she is talking about”. They also specify that “attitude may relate to certainty or obligation or desirability or any of a number of sets of values” (Thompson and Hunston 2000: 5). The advantage of this definition is that it is superordinate to the conceptualizations produced by various authors who have investigated evaluative language in discourse and explored it in different grammatical and textual dimensions (cf. e.g. Labov 1972; Stubbs 1996; Biber and Finegan 1989; Martin 2000), sometimes producing minute categorizations and terms that may be complex to handle and hardly compatible with each other. Therefore, here preference is given to reliance on a superordinate concept. Evaluation is used to encode the writer’s opinion more or less explicitly, in order to reflect his or her views, maintain a relationship between writer and addressee, e.g. for purposes of persuasion or of influence, and organize discourse, indicating its significance and highlighting the point being made (cf. Hunston and Thompson 2000: 6-7, 11-12). It is conveyed by various elements in discourse, lexis, grammar (cf. e.g. stance markers: Biber and Finegan 1989; modal grammar: Stubbs 1996; intensifiers, comparators, etc.: Labov 1972) and by textual constructs, where it is not confined to specific parts or sections, but rather appears throughout (Hunston and Thompson 2000: 19). Evaluation tends to be comparative, focusing on something that is referred to the norm; it is inherently subjective expressing the writer’s or the reader’s viewpoint, and is value-laden, being prevalently based on criteria of “what is good” and “what is bad” defined in terms of goalachievement, and/or parameters of certainty, expectedness, and importance (Hunston and Thompson 2000: 13-14, 22-25). In the analysis of evaluation, consideration need be given not only to the inherent semantic value of each word or expression, but also to the context-dependent pragmatic component usually attached to it, often deriving from its semantic prosody (Channel 2000: 38), because evaluative language is concerned with the expression of individual judgement and socially defined notions of good and bad (Channel 2000: 43). Thus, in certain contexts an apparently neutral word or expression may be used to convey evaluation, on the basis of socially

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


shared values (cf. e.g. the considerations on fat, regime, to roam, in Channel 2000: 41-52). In the job ad corpus all evaluative linguistic items are positively charged, with very few exceptions, all of which are neutralized by context: unsuccessful, 3 occurrences, all in the “successful and unsuccessful experience” pattern; difficult, 3 hits, all referring to the candidate’s ability to tackle difficult situations; uncomfortable, unresolved and bad, 1 hit each, all referring to problems and situations that the candidate should be able to face. Therefore, in this study the expression “evaluative language” is treated as synonymous with “positively charged language”. Given that evaluative language in job ads has been seen as completely at the service of boosting the recruiting company’s image, in the discussion reliance is also made on an important conceptual framework introduced in corporate communication studies, i.e. employer branding, a notion that brings together HR and brand management (Ambler and Barrow 1996; Barrow and Mosley 2005) and refers to “the process of building an identifiable and unique employer identity” (Backhaus and Tikoo 2004: 502) enacted by a company to promote its attractiveness as an employer. The underlying idea is that applying employer brand promotion to potential candidates and employees would bring a company benefits akin to those given by customer-centred brand management (Mosely 2014: 1). The focus is on “the full spectrum of thoughts and feelings that people associate with an employer… both clear and impressionistic, whether based on direct experience, intentional communication, unintentional communication or hearsay” (Mosley 2014: 4). And, of course, job ads are one of the instruments used in employer branding. Before going on to analyse the main features of the job ads included in the corpus, in the next section a brief review of the literature focusing specifically on the job ad genre will be presented.

3. Research on job announcements Job ads have been dealt with in scholarly studies in corporate communication and advertising research (e.g. Asprey 2005; Feldman et al. 2006). For the sake of this discussion, of special interest are studies that focus on the peculiarities of job announcements as a genre. Some of them are chapters in Human Resource Management handbooks (e.g. Bratton and Gold 2007: 211-243; Amstrong 2006: 409-438), which essentially present them as part of a stage in the People Resourcing Process that includes recruitment and selection. Some others are scholarly papers in organizational communication studies. Particularly relevant is a study by Rafaeli and Oliver (1998) that


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shows that “employment ads do not necessarily and not always represent rational action intended at attracting employees; they serve functions other than staffing or recruiting” (Rafaeli and Oliver 1998: 343), embodying “individuals, occupations, organizations, industries and sociateal cultures”, and are “a highly visible and accessible medium for observing an organizational social construction of reality” (Rafaeli and Oliver 1998: 345). According to the two authors, job ads feature a set of core elements, an invariant “skeleton”, realizing the basic function of announcing an employment opportunity, but at the same time in most cases ads are “richer”; being “embellished” with additional text which is not part of the recruiting message, but rather conveys an impression management message aimed not only at job seekers, but also at the general public (customers, shareholders, investors) and at internal or current employees. In this respect, evaluative language plays an important role since most additions are aimed at impressing the potential addressees. This idea of an impression management message conveyed by job ads in addition to their core proposition is in keeping with the results of one of the few linguistic studies taking job ads into consideration, Bhatia (2004/2014), where they are classified as members of the colony of promotional genres. In actual fact in linguistics and discourse analysis investigations focusing on job advertisements are few, and most of them are case studies presented in general works whose main focus is on other topics, like for instance Bhatia’s (2004/2014) essay mentioned above, centred on the “colony” of promotional genres and their classification, and Fairclough’s (1995/2010) study discussing advertisements for positions in the university as evidence of the marketization of the academic world (Fairclough 1995/2010: 142-148). Some other isolated studies focus on single aspects, e.g. Solly (2005) on identity construction in primary school job ads, or on specific countries and languages, e.g. Lago and Hewitt (2004), presenting a comparative analysis of English and Spanish ads, and van Meurs’ (2010) book-length study on the role and effects of the use of English in job ads in the Netherlands. More specifically relevant to the scope of this work is a monograph by Bruthiaux (1996) which first carried out a study of the job advertisement as a (sub-)genre among classified ads. In particular, in his study of classifieds based on a 1991-1992 corpus including 200 job ads, Bruthiaux sees job ads and other classifieds as instances of “linguistic simplicity” (Bruthiaux 1996: 90) on account of their proverbial brevity and extremely streamlined expression, often even relying on recurrent conventional abbreviations such as: xlnt = excellent, secy = secretary, exp =

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


experience, & = and, wtd = wanted, pls = please, etc. (Bruthiaux 1996: 123). These characteristics were essentially due to heavy space limitations, given that their publication was subject to a fee calculated per word or per character, advertising space in the press being very expensive. So their traditional style was concise and standardized, with more or less predictable sequences of “conventionalised prefabricated segments”, which also functioned as register markers; this standardization was made possible by their “narrow communicative function” (Bruthiaux 1996: 91). Of course, in this context job ads contained little that went beyond the mere announcement of a work opportunity and the requisites of potential candidates to fill it in. Indeed, according to Bruthiaux (1996: 125-126), in job adverts evaluative elements tended to be even less frequent than in auto and apartment ads and were often interwoven with informational elements. Considering the substantial length of job ads today, it appears obvious that migration to the Internet has freed them from the space constraints to which they were subject and has given employers the opportunity to formulate their message strategically, according to their desires and motivations, with no more limits in terms of text length. Obviously, this is a precondition for substantial recourse to evaluative language, as most of the time the text is “expanded” with elements that go beyond the core recruitment message to be conveyed by the ads. Bruthiaux’s essay was followed by Gillaerts’ short-term diachronic investigation on job announcements in Dutch published in Belgian newspapers from 1944 to 2010 (Gillaerts 2012), based on Swalesian genre analysis (Swales 1990; Bhatia 1993), and aimed at identifying evolutions in the structure of the job ad in terms of “moves,” and “steps” (or “strategies”) (cf. Bhatia 1993: 13). According to Gillaerts, until 1950, the moves making up the job ad were: 1. specifying the function; 2. outlining the profile; 3. specifying the offer; and 4. detailing contact information. In very broad terms these moves correspond to those previously identified by Bruthiaux (1996) and by Rafaeli and Oliver (1998) (cf. also Walters and Fage-Butler 2014). Quite remarkably, in this scheme information about the recruiting Company was missing, with its name mentioned only in the contact information, or not at all when the ad had been posted by a recruitment agency. In the subsequent decades information about the recruiting Company became a conventional part of every ad, and the “Introducing the Company” move was added to the structure detailed above, often being presented before all other moves. According to Gillaerts, this is the main structural change undergone by job ads in the course of the years, bringing with it the idea that, apart from the immediate purpose of finding potential candidates for a job, the employment ad could


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be used by companies for other useful purposes of their own, paving the way for the utilization of the job ad for employer branding purposes. In a more recent study àącka-Badura (2015) also proposes a model of the structure of the job ad, working on a corpus consisting entirely of announcements posted online (on telegaph.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, thetimes.co.uk, jobsite.co.uk and totaljobs.co.uk). Although she discusses the growing importance of e-recruitment and the usefulness of hyperlinks (àącka-Badura 2015: 15-16), she considers the online job advertisement as an ‘extant’ genre (Shepherd and Watters 1998: 98; see àącka-Badura 2015: 51), i.e. a genre that is unchanged in its electronic realization, and declaredly chooses to analyse texts exclusively in the “reading mode” (Askehave and Ellerup Nielsen 2004), with no interest in the new characteristics of online ads made possible by Internet affordances. The general model of the structure of job ads that àącka-Badura proposes and uses as a starting point for her minute analysis of the steps included in each move is very similar to Gillaerts’ (2012) (which incidentally does not appear in her references), with only few differences, as can be seen in the following list, where Gillaerts’ labels are given in italics and àącka-Badura’s in regular font: “Introducing the Company” > “Presenting the organisation / Building Credibility”; “Specifying the Function” > “Announcing Availability of the Position/Job Identification (Job Overview/Summary)”; “Outlining the Profile” > “Specifying Responsibilities and Requirements Involved”; “Specifying the Offer” > “Offering Benefits”; “Detailing Contact Information” > “Instructing Candidates How to Apply”5. What is interesting is that àącka-Badura (2015) interprets the job ad mainly in terms of employer branding, so she gives emphasis to the move that introduces the Company (“Presenting the Organisation – Building Credibility”) and sees most of the genre’s peculiarities as aimed at enhancing the recruiting organization’s image. To sum up, it can be stated that a comparison of printed and online job ads shows that some elements of continuity emerge which provide evidence of a degree of generic integrity characterizing the genre in its history on printed paper, even after migration to the Internet, in spite of the new features and options introduced by computer – and webmediation.


For a more detailed comparison between the two model structures, cf. Garzone forth.

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


3.1 The online job ad In spite of the high degree of generic integrity of the genre, job ads posted online exhibit distinctive features that differentiate them from those published in newspapers. First of all, they tend to be longer. This is because the first obvious effect of the migration of job ads to the Internet has been to put an end to severe text length restrictions, given that pixels are much less costly than newsprint, often being subject to a flat rate, or a two - or three- tier rate, so there is no reason to spare words. Therefore, recruiters are now in a position to provide all the information and “embellish” their announcement as they deem necessary or desirable. This is a dramatic change from a not too distant past when job ads could be considered instances of linguistic simplicity and concision (Bruthiaux 1996: 123). At a time when promotional messages play a crucial role in corporate communication, this has given ample scope for the components of job ads that go beyond the basic recruiting message which were already identified by Rafaeli and Oliver (1998) as far back as two decades ago. As regards the structure of job ads, both on independent sites (e.g. indeed, monster, careerbuilder, jobsonline) and on job platforms connected with online newspapers like the Times & Sunday Times and Guardianjobs, there is a standard template for employment advertisements, with the main text taking up the main content column, i.e. the centre column, and the logo of the company posting the advertisement – be it a potential employer or a recruitment firm – appearing in small size in the header together with the job title. Most of the time this logo is in actual fact a hyperlink leading to the company’s website. An addition to the traditional structure of the job ad is the Job Summary that appears in one of the side scan columns and provides a schematic synthesis of the job description with varying degrees of detail. Another variation is the reduced prominence of the “Detailing the offer” move, which in online ads is often missing or is realized very briefly (e.g. “Salary: £38,000 – £48,000 + health + pension + benefits”) or simply with the indication, in the Job Summary, of the exact pay (“Salary: £57,000”) or with a general statement about salary, or salary and benefits (“Attractive package”, “Attractive salary”). This avoidance of detailed reference to the economic conditions offered can be seen as part of a trend that has grown with the habit of posting jobs online where they can be accessed by anyone, so specifying salaries and benefits could cause competition between current and new employees, and also competition with other companies in the industry (see Vyvial-Larson 2013).


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Furthermore, it is important to point out that the analysis of online job ads cannot be limited to alphabetic text (cf. Garzone 2007: 15-16), but should consider the overall textuality of the page as a semiotic complex resulting from the integration between linguistic elements, their disposition on the page, visual elements (if any) and the superimposed level of hypertextuality (hyperlinks, toolbars, buttons, etc.), i.e. the “navigating mode” (Askehave and Swales 2001). For instance, there are certain functions in online ads that are not realized (only) verbally, but rather in the navigating mode, by means of a hyperlink. A case in point is the “Invitation to Apply” which in many cases is realized by means of an “Apply” button which leads to an online form to be filled in. In general terms, it can be concluded that online job advertisements are characterized by a degree of continuity with traditional printed job advertisements, although there are some important elements of change, which are essentially additional in kind. The moves are basically the same, but the order in which they are set out and their realization may vary considerably as a function of the peculiarities and affordances of the Internet medium, especially noteworthy being the addition of the Job Summary section, and the realization of some of the moves in the navigating mode. Of course, these are the main general trends although there is ample scope for variation, given the great variety of job boards, sites and job listings. Attention will now be turned to job advertisements posted on LinkedIn, introducing this SNS in general terms, before going on to investigate the job adverts included in the corpus.

3.2 Job ads posted on LinkedIn Founded in 2003 (see boyd and Ellison 2007, 212), LinkedIn is at present the most important professionally oriented social networking site. Its membership, which also includes corporate and institutional subjects, has grown exponentially in the last few years, reaching 467 million in the second quarter of 2016, up from 450 million members in the preceding quarter6. It is tailored specifically to the workplace environment and offers an opportunity to connect with professional people of one’s interest (colleagues, former schoolmates, etc.), publish posts and participate in discussions. LinkedIn is open to all, but some of its parts are subject to 6

Cf. [16/02/2017].

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


various levels of gated access and control that mimic those of the “real” professional world. According to CEO Jeff Weiner (2014), LinkedIn’s core value proposition is to “connect talent with opportunities at massive scale”. It enables customers to connect with the professional world, stay informed through professional news and knowledge, get hired and build their careers (Weiner 2014). Within this context, LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions division offers a whole set of tools to recruit candidates, source talent and build one’s brand (cf. < https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions>, 09/03/2017). Among these, the most important, readily available function is job posting. Companies can post their openings on LinkedIn, and this enables them to reach suitable candidates. One of its great advantages is that it automatically advertises job postings to LinkedIn members with profiles that match them, putting the relevant job ads directly on their desktop, even if they are not active job seekers. The recruiting Company will also receive a list of members who could be a good fit for their hiring needs. On LinkedIn job advertisements are set in a complex environment and are thus fully contextualized. The use of LinkedIn offers a further opportunity for companies, i.e. the possibility to maintain a Career Page (part of Talent Solutions), accessible from all job ads by means of a hyperlink, where they can promote their Employer Brand, giving candidates an authentic view into the corporate culture and letting them explore company life. Another valuable support to job posting in terms of Employer Branding is the Showcase page, an extension of the Company Page that deals with specific aspects, promotes specific business units or initiatives, addresses specific target groups or audience segments, uses different languages, etc. Job advertisements on LinkedIn are subject to a standard template that is similar in appearance to the basic format of the job ads posted on other recruitment sites as discussed above, but they feature various graphically separated extra sections (or “tabs”), mainly located below the main text and mostly accessible through scrolling: “Highlights”, the “Premium Careers” feature, “Meet the Team”, “About Us”. As in other online ads, on LinkedIn the Job Description is in the main content column and the Job Summary in the right scan column, but a peculiarity is that above the Job Summary, in many cases there appears the name of the person who posted the job (“Job posted by…”) with his/her position, and a photograph. Another minor variation is the frequent (but not systematic) presence at the beginning of the job description of a ‘teaser text’, which realizes an optional “eliciting the jobseeker’s interest” move,


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usually in the form of questions aimed at verifying if the jobseeker is the ideal candidate for the position offered, with an overwhelming presence of interactional metadiscourse (Hyland 2000: 48-50) in the form of direct questions and replies, e.g. “Are you an experienced PM? If so, keep reading”; “Do you have a strong experience in …? Then we’ve got a position for you”. Another common feature is that LinkedIn ads often lack the “Detailing the offer” move, or if they have, it is worded very vaguely, with no specification of the actual salary offered (in 132 ads out of 172) (e.g. “compensation… commensurate with experience”, “very attractive remuneration package”, or “competitive pay and a wide range of benefits”, etc.) or only a list of benefits offered. Although, as stated above, this trend is quite common in online job ads, in the case of LinkedIn this has also to do with the fact that access to pay and conditions is one of the services offered to Premium subscribers (see below). Below this main section hosting the Job Description, there is the sequence of separate tabs listed above, with various features. The first one is the Premium tab showing the number of candidates who have already applied, and introducing the Premium Career Feature (premium.linkedin .com), subject to a fee for applicants, which gives them a chance to learn more about the company’s hiring trends, enables them to see how they “stack up” to other candidates, and learn who has viewed their profiles so far. It also offers jobseekers the opportunity to be placed at the top of the applicant list when they apply for a job on LinkedIn, thus standing out among other candidates. Quite importantly, in many cases the Premium account offers the only possibility of getting access to salary details that otherwise are accessible only when one actually applies or sends in a query, two actions which, incidentally, also involve the disclosure of one’s personal details. After the Premium tab, in some cases there is a Highlights tab informing the applicants if there is anyone working in the recruiting company who attended the same educational institutions or worked for the same organization they worked for. This feature is part of LinkedIn customizing functions which match the information of the advertisement and the recruiting company with the user’s general search criteria and previous positions, thus providing personalized information. This section is sometimes followed by an optional tab called “Meet the team”, which offers the applicant the possibility of “meeting” some of the recruiting company’s employees working in the corporate sector for which the job is advertised, with pictures, names, functions and occasionally

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


background details (e.g. education, previous positions) of some employees, usually two or three but sometimes a dozen or more. The final tab is the “About us”, which introduces the recruiting company by means of a text of variable length, from a few to several hundred words, often (but not always) collected from the recruiter’s Career Page, as is the case with the picture or the video that mostly accompanies the verbal description. All these peculiar features of the LinkedIn job ad are additional, while the core part of the ad shows a high degree of generic integrity and continuity with previously proposed generic models (Bruthiaux 1996; Rafaeli and Oliver 1998; Gillaerts 2012; àącka-Badura 2015). This emerges clearly in Figure 2.1, where the moves realized within the job ad proper (as a whole labelled “Job Description” here) are in normal-font style and highlighted in grey, while the additional moves realized in separate tabs are in italics: Company Logo

Job Title Name of Company Date when ad posted “Apply” button

Job description

Job summary Specifying who has posted the job Eliciting the jobseeker’s interest (teaser) Introducing the Company Specifying responsibilities (the function) Specifying desired qualifications, skills and experience / ideal candidate’s personality (the profile) Detailing the offer Equal Employment Opportunity Statement (U.S.A.) Inviting applications / detailing application procedure and contacts Stating number of candidates so far/ Offering the Premium Careers feature Providing information about people in your network working for the company Providing information about Company’s employees / potential future colleagues About Us

Figure 2.1 Structure of the LinkedIn job advertisement (the solid lines represent the demarcation between separate tabs, and the dashed lines delimit a separate area within the same tab) (cf. Garzone forth.)

Thus, in spite of the uniformity in the structure of the job ad proper (i.e. the Job Description), the complex overall structure of the LinkedIn job ad


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sets it apart from announcements posted on any other online job boards, not only because of the complexity of the features (and services) offered, but above all because the various extra features contribute to setting it within the context of the LinkedIn virtual community. The job advert is no more only a decontextualized piece of text offering a working opportunity, but is presented as the result of the action of a real person who has materially posted the job putting the potential candidate in touch with an organization consisting of real people, and as an opportunity for him/her to set in motion a process that will potentially lead him/her to work within the context of a professional community. In other words, a LinkedIn job advert is clearly set within a SNS with all the social implications of this fact: it is moved from the social vacuum of the newspaper page or the online job board to an online community context, where potential applicants can clearly perceive the presence of competing candidates and that of the recruiter as a functioning organization made up of people that may potentially become their colleagues. It is to be specified that the texts collected in the corpus do not include the added sections typical of the LinkedIn environment (“Job Summary”, “Specification of Who Posted the Ad”, “Information about Company Employees”, etc.), which contain little organised text. The only exception is the “About Us” which, consisting of structured text, has been deemed to be of interest and an integral part of the recruitment message and therefore has been included in the corpus.

4. Evaluative lexis in job ads In the last few years, the extensive recourse to positively-charged lexicon has become an ever more conspicuous peculiarity of job ads. This is already pointed out by àącka-Badura (2015), who sees job ads as instances of promotional/persuasive discourse where the employer branding component is absolutely predominant. To support this view, she states that data from her corpus shows that in only 16 of the 236 ads included (accounting for a mere 7% of the whole sample) positively charged lexicon is used to refer “to subjects other than the employing organisation or the position advertised”. She concludes that “a vast majority of job ads make some use of positively charged structures referring to employers thus contributing to the creation of employer brands” (àącka-Badura 2015: 111, emphasis in the original). In general terms this conclusion, which is not accompanied by the detailed presentation of analytic data which are only hinted at, seems to some extent farfetched, as it appears to be based on an excessive

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


minimization of the core recruiting message of the job ad, which by definition regards the position offered, the actual responsibilities involved in the role, or the requisites required of potential candidates, so it seems unlikely that this component should be mostly free of evaluative language. Therefore, these findings need some kind of clarification and corroboration. This paper looks at recourse to evaluative lexis in job ads, providing first a general qualitative analysis of its use in the different sections and moves of the genre, identifying recurrent strategies and associated linguistic patterns. It then determines in which moves the focus is respectively on the employer and on the potential candidate (or the position). The next step involves computer-based analysis to support the findings by means of quantitative data. For practical reasons, this part of the analysis focuses in particular on adjectives and other attributive premodifiers which are considered representative of evaluative language and at the same time are unproblematic to track through automated computer routines. Positively charged adjectives were extracted from a frequency list generated by means of Wordsmith Tools 6.0 (Scott 2012), and for each of the twenty items at the top of the list concordance lines were obtained and examined manually, expanding them wherever necessary to look at a broader context, in order to decide if they contribute to emphasising the excellence of the employer or to highlighting the high-level requirements to be met by the ideal candidate and the responsibilities involved in the position.

4.1 Use and distribution of evaluative lexis in job ads A general overview of the job ads included in the corpus shows that, as is to be expected, positively charged lexicon is extensively used in sections that are explicitly declared to be aimed at presenting the potential employer, and in particular the “Introducing the Company” move, which is not obligatory, but often opens the ad, and the “About Us” section, which virtually always closes it. The following excerpt provides an example of how the “Introducing the Company” move is realized: (1) We are GreyX, the digital specialists within Grey London, one of London’s most progressive, innovative and successful agencies. We are a creative company on a mission to make a different shape of work, partnering with the world’s most ambitious brands to play a meaningful role in culture.


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We work with some of the largest, most influential and most ambitious companies in the world, including P&G, GSK, HSBC, Bose, Duracell […]7 (Grey, PM, London). Quite predictably, here the main focus is on the recruiting company, reference to it being consistently thematised by means of self-reference (we). The opening sentence features a high density of evaluative language (highlighted in italics), with the noun specialist reinforced by three objectively positive adjectives (progressive, innovative, successful) which, incidentally, are in a comparative form, which reinforces their evaluativeness. The synergy between nouns and adjectives continues in the second sentence where the company’s activity is depicted in absolutely favourable terms by means of the noun mission and the adjectives, creative and different, the latter not necessarily positive in itself but certainly so in a context where innovation is presented as a plus. Similarly, the verb form partnering, opening the subordinate clause, takes on a definitely positive meaning as it refers to a collaboration with some of the most important companies in the world, which are defined as largest, most influential, most ambitious – again making recourse to comparative forms – and the highly qualified names of such companies are listed in support of this idea. As stated above, in most adverts the recruiting Company (or recruiting agency), whether introduced or not in the opening paragraph, is presented again at the end of the text in a section entitled “About Us”. In the case of Grey, rather than doubling the initial introduction, the “About Us” paragraph is devoted to explicit employer branding: (2) About Us Life at Grey: We have an open door friendly culture and a buzzing creative vibe. Our open plan office is based in the heart of Farringdon and is shared with our WPP. Our strategy for success has been our culture – we call it Open. Open is about fostering an environment that is creatively stimulating and personally rewarding – and the best way to ensure fantastic creative solutions, happy clients and happy staff. In fact, our most recent employee survey showed that 94% of our employees say they enjoy their job here at Grey. […] The whole excerpt is based on the highly positive “open door” metaphor, presented as embodying the corporate culture, and is characterised by a surprising density of positively charged evaluative lexis including 7

In all examples emphasis is added.

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


adjectives, nouns, verbs, referred to the Company’s culture, to the working environment, to strategies and solution, to clients and staff, with all these positive aspects presented as resulting from the excellence of the Company itself. In other cases, and especially when at the beginning of the advert the “Introducing the Company” move is missing, the “About Us” provides general information (in the style of the boiler plate in a press release), mostly in highly positive terms: (3) ARCADIS is the leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm working in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes through the application of design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services. ARCADIS differentiates through its talented and passionate people and its unique combination of capabilities covering the whole asset life cycle, its deep market sector insights and its ability to integrate health & safety and sustainability into the design and delivery of solutions across the globe. (PM, Arcadis, London) Thus, it can be stated that, as is to be expected, in the two sections formally dedicated to describing the potential employer (the “Introducing the Company” move and the “About Us” section) all positively charged lexis goes to the benefit of the image of the potential employer. Another move that is exploited for image-building purposes is “Detailing the Offer”, which – as pointed out above – with the migration to the web has lost part of its clout, being often rather vague, thus leaving space for a discursive approach serving purposes of employer branding. This emerges clearly in the following excerpt: (4) An attractive and rewarding salary, including additional benefits such as birthday leave and celebrations, wellbeing programs and participation in a profit share scheme is available to attract the highest calibre of person. (PM, Amicus Construction, Melbourne) In this sentence the positive adjectives accompanying the rather vague reference to the salary offered extol the generosity of the potential employer, and this effect is reinforced by a list of benefits whose denominations are not in themselves evaluative, but take on a clearly positive value in the context. In many cases, vagueness in the specification of the pecuniary conditions associated with the job is combined with considerations that


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would naturally be part of the “Specifying Responsibilities (the Function)” move, as they describe the high quality of the opportunities for personal experience and career development involved in the position. This is the case in the following example, where each point is enriched with a variety of positively charged adjectives (highlighted in italics in the text): (5) Rewards: * A very attractive remuneration package for suitably experienced candidates. * Excellent career development opportunities. * Fantastic opportunity to work alongside a supportive and highly skilled team. This is a fantastic opportunity to join us as a Project Manager with room to grow and further develop your own skills and career aspirations. (PM, Corplex Pty Ltd, Melbourne) Here in the description of the conditions offered, evaluative language, including a rich range of adjectives occasionally premodified by reinforcing adverbs, has mainly the effect of positively depicting the entity that is offering such excellent conditions. Something similar happens also in the following example where the basic message consists of the announcement of the availability of a position and the offer of healthcare benefits (“Detailing the Offer” move), while all the rest, formulated in terms of opportunity, experience and career growth (re-iterated as “upward mobility & advancement”), serves to boost the image of the recruiting company: (6) This is the perfect opportunity for a mid-level account/project manager who is looking to gain essential experience for continued career growth & advancement. […] My client provides healthcare benefits, 401k, Paid Vacation, excellent room for upward mobility and career growth. (PM, Toll Brothers, Inc., New York) In addition to the stretches of text focusing explicitly on the recruiting company (“Introducing the Company”, “About Us”, and partially “Detailing the Offer”), also parts of the Job Description are thus partially ‘colonised’ by employer branding discourse. In the following excerpt a sentence directly addressed to the potential candidate in the second person serves purposes of employer brand construction, by praising the “team” and their “people first culture”:

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


(7) You will be joining a team who are all pulling in the same direction to achieve both their personal goals as well as those of the business. They have a people first culture, and genuinely care about their staff. (Civil PM, SMEC, Melbourne) Although the subject / Theme of the main clause in the first sentence is you, referring to the potential candidate, the actual content of the text and the positively charged lexis in it is in praise of the employer, who is depicted as offering the jobseeker the option to join an excellent team and promoting the “people first culture”. Incidentally “team” is one of those words that are not in themselves evaluative, but as used in the job ad become positively charged, in a context where collaboration and team work are presented as fundamental values: “you will be joining a growing team”, “our team is entrepreneurial”, “joining our team requires skills, daring, leadership”, “a common set of values rooted in integrity, excellence and strong team ethic”, etc. But, as is obvious, in general in the Job Description and in the moves it contains (“Specifying Responsibilities”, “Specifying desired qualifications, skills and experience”), most of the evaluative language deployed refers to the job function and to the requisites of the ideal candidate. In the “Specifying Responsibilities” move, positively charged language is used to describe the tasks to be performed by the ideal candidate and the way in which s/he should carry them out. In particular, recourse is made to evaluative adjectives and adverbs to highlight the quality of the performance expected from the new employee. This emerges clearly in the following example: (8) Working across multiple projects on the go, your role and responsibilities will include but are not limited to: - Effective management of multiple site works and general electrical works - Timely and efficient delivery of services with strong emphasis on Safety and Zero Harm policy - Assist with Tender submissions and facilitate growth of business in the region - Ensure effective management of contractors and overall growth of team by leading, guiding and developing staff (PM, Programmed Professionals, Melbourne)


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Some of the functions listed are described with inherently positive lexis (e.g. effective management, timely and efficient delivery…), as in the first three points and in the last one, while in fourth point (“Assist with…”) no openly positive lexical item is used, but rather phrases that, in spite of not being evaluative in themselves, do strike a positive note (facilitate growth of business, quality of services). The following example maintains a complex style rather than proceeding by means of bullet point lists: (9) Position – Roles and Responsibilities We are currently seeking an experienced Project Manager/Senior Project Manager to help us grow our team. As part of your role you will take responsibility for delivering successful bids for medium to large projects. You will also take responsibility for successfully project -manage and/or project-direct projects for the Environment Agency and other clients across England and Wales. (PM, Planet Forward, London). In this excerpt, quite interestingly, there is a shift from a first sentence where the recruiting company, referred to as “we”, is encoded as subject and actor, to the following two sentences which are addressed directly to the job seeker. The presence of some positively charged lexical items (grow, the reiteration successful/successfully) contributes to representing the position offered as highly demanding, as does the use of the expression “take responsibility”, not semantically positive in itself, but taking on a positive value here, to highlight the importance of the job being advertised. Because of the linguistic forms customarily utilised in this section of the adverts, i.e. bullet point lists consisting of verbs in the present indicative third person singular, the infinitive or the –ing form, evaluation is also often conveyed by means of adverbs: (19) * Proactively manage changes in project scope, identify potential crises, and devise contingency plans. […]. * Set and continually manage project expectations with project team members and other stakeholders. (PM, Morgan Consulting, Melbourne)

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


As regards the Profile section (“Specifying desired qualifications, skills and experience”), it tends to be even more evaluative in tone: (20) The Person A successful track record in delivering complex and challenging software projects on time and to budget Understanding of agile delivery methodologies and their pragmatic application within a fast-moving and/or agency environment Ability to operate under pressure and in demanding situations whilst still having relentless drive to deliver with enthusiasm Strong influencer, with a wide range of styles, having ability to build good working relationships with delivery partners and senior levels within the organisation. (PM, RMA Consulting, London) Here recourse to evaluative language conveys the recruiting company’s desire to employ the best possible candidates, to the point of exaggeration. Adjectives are not spared, neither in the description of the person’s qualities, nor in the specification of his/her background and his/her expected behaviour on the job. In the following example the use of positively charged lexis is even more prominent: (21) We are looking for someone with a minimum of 5 years relevant project management experience, preferably working in the Travel and GDS sector. You will have a solid technical background with understanding and/or hands-on experience in software development and web technologies. To succeed in this role you will pride yourself on having strong commercial acumen and negotiation skills with superior communication skills. The ideal candidate will be proficient in risk identification, tracking, and mitigation in technical environments. […] (PM, Travelport Locomote, Melbourne) This Profile, constructed discursively rather than as a list of requirements, changes from “we – the candidate” to “we – you”, and back to “we – the ideal candidate”, with the weak implication that the jobseeker referred to as you is the ideal candidate. Not only are the requirements for the position set very high, but they are reinforced by the deployment of positively charged adjectives (solid technical background, hands-on experience, strong commercial acumen, superior communication skills) and by recourse to strongly evaluative verbs and nouns (pride yourself, acumen). Thus, it comes as no surprise that job ads have a reputation for being absolutely unrealistic, with the list of requirements and the workloads to


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be shouldered by the potential candidates that looks more like a wish list than a realistic specification (cf. e.g. Collamer 2014). As a result, job ads are very often excessive in their demands. One of the reasons for this incoherent behaviour of employers posting job ads may be that today, also on account of the cheapness and convenience of applying online, employers do suffer from a flood of applications, and making the posting intimidating is one way to filter out inadequate candidates, even at the risk of discouraging potentially good ones. Another factor to be considered is that in most cases companies do not necessarily exclude people who do not meet integrally the requirements specified in job ads, and intend the list of characteristics more as a set of guidelines meant to give the jobseeker a sense of the profile of the person who would be right for the job than as an absolute cut-off. In light of the analysis conducted, it can be tentatively stated that the use of evaluative lexis in job ads for employer branding purposes is mainly found in specific moves, “Introducing the Company” (as realized both in the initial presentation of the recruiting company and the “About Us” section) and “Detailing the Offer”, while in the “Specifying the Function” and “Outlining the Profile” moves evaluative lexis is also used extensively and tends to refer to the position offered, and the ideal candidates’ qualification and personality traits, although companies often take advantage of the description of the opportunities offered and the description of the working environment for their own advantage. In the next section, these considerations will be the guiding principles in the work of data interpretation and categorization that will be performed on quantitative data obtained by means of computer interrogation routines. Occurrences of positively-laden premodifiers will be assigned to the discursive space of the recruiting company and employer branding on the one hand, and to that of the potential candidate and the job offered on the other, in order to provide a quantitative evaluation of the degree of colonization of job ad discourse by employer branding discourse.

4.2 Quantitative analysis: Evaluative adjectives and other attributive premodifiers In order to evaluate the distribution of positively charged lexicon, recourse will be made to corpus linguistics tools in order to go beyond first impressions and find a quantitative confirmation based on the whole corpus.

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


Given that, as pointed out above, many parts of speech can take on an evaluative value thus making it difficult to estimate the phenomenon of evaluation across the board if not analysing texts manually, here the attention will be limited to one category, i.e. adjectives and other premodifiers with an attributive value, which can be considered a meaningful and representative sample of positively charged lexicon. In this way the analysis of their use and distribution in job ads may provide quantitative indications as to the extent to which evaluative language in general is employed in this genre, and shed light on which of the two main actors positively charged lexis is more often referred to. A frequency list for the whole corpus was obtained with the Wordsmith Wordlist Tool, and a list of the most frequent adjectives and other attributive premodifiers was extracted from it (see Appendix 1 below). In the extraction operation, the list was also “cleaned up”: all lexical items that are not inherently evaluative (e.g. financial, technical, internal, commercial, relevant, etc.) and are never used evaluatively in the job ads included in the corpus (as confirmed by an examination of the relevant concordance lines) were eliminated. For those linguistic items at the top of the list that are not evaluative in themselves in semantic terms – global, professional (106 hits) – but are used evaluatively in the context of predominant socially accepted values, only the actually evaluative occurrences are included, thus reducing the frequency of global from 202 to 183 and that of professional from 106 to 66. For the items that inherently convey a component of positive evaluation – strong, key, leading, best, successful, effective, creative, appropriate, strategic, large, proven, experienced, great, etc. – only minor corrections were necessary, mainly to eliminate the occurrences where they are used in proper names, a case in point being “New York” for the adjective new. Table 2.1 shows the top 20 items on the list: Word STRONG GLOBAL NEW KEY LEADING SUCCESSFUL BEST EFFECTIVE CREATIVE APPROPRIATE

Freq. 214 183 149 138 133 110 109 81 72 71


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Freq. 67 66 66 66 62 58 55 53 52 44

Table 2.1 List of the 20 most frequent evaluative/evaluatively used adjectives/premodifiers. The adjective global provides an interesting example of a word that in itself is not evaluative, but is used evaluatively with reference to certain values that are assumed to be shared. An examination of its concordance lines shows that it appears in 89 out of 172 ads, and is used as a “pure” Classifier only in 19 out of its total 202 occurrences, as in Global Project manager, Global design, Global Programme Management, global and local clients, and sometimes in a Company’s name Global Business Services (GBS) ANZ, NES Global Talent, etc. But in general, it tends to be used with a positive shade of meaning, obviously based on the axiological assumption that “global is good” as referred to a company and its activities and perspectives, or to the working environment for a potential candidate, thus confirming the value laden, socially dependent character of evaluative language. Of 183 occurrences where global is used evaluatively, with a definitely positive meaning, in 84 cases it refers to the recruiting company itself, either directly (cf. Ex. 22 below) or indirectly (e.g. in the words of the recruiting agency in charge of posting the ad, cf. Ex. 23), in 70 cases it refers to the company’s activities (Ex. 24), in 30 cases to the position being offered (Ex. 25 and 26), and only 9 occurrences refer to the experience required of the potential candidate (Ex. 27 and 28). The following examples illustrate the different cases: (22) Pacific Hydro is a global clean energy solutions provider (PM, Randstad, Melbourne)

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


(23) Our client is a global leader and is uniquely positioned […] (PM, Silver Search, New York) (24) We integrate services across our global offices and brands to deliver on our clients’ needs. (PM, Heartbeat Ideas, New York) (25) We offer this position in a fast paced, truly global environment with an endless supply of challenges and development opportunities. (PM, Ikea of Sweden, Amsterdam) (26) The Senior PM is responsible for managing the global implementation of multiple Temenos product projects […] (PM, Temenos Computer Software, London) (27) - Experience in managing projects on a global level. (PM; Adidas Group, Amsterdam) (28) - Proven work experience in project management capacity at global level, and working in cross cultural environments. (PM, Porticus, Amsterdam) To sum up, it can be concluded that, when used evaluatively, the adjective global is referred to the recruiting company, its activities and associated working environment in 154 cases, and to the potential candidate and the position offered in only 39 cases. A similar analysis can be carried out for the adjective professional (106 entries) which is used evaluatively in 66 (60%) of its 106 occurrences. In these cases, within the general meaning of the adjective as defined in the OED 8 , “Of, belonging to, or proper to a profession”, a positive component is activated which is defined as follows “That has or displays the skill, knowledge, experience, standards, or expertise of a professional; competent, efficient”, as in young, ambitious and professional, professional and friendly staff, trusted highly professional partners, etc. In 16 cases professional refers to the recruiting company itself (as in Ex. 29) and in another 18 to the activities, working environment and prospects it offers (as in Ex. 30):

8 “professional, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2017. Web. 1 January 2018, meanings 4 and 4d.


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(29) This drives Dovetail’s reputation as highly professional, long term partners for global and local clients (Client PM, New York) (30) Article 10 Integrated Marketing offers a professional, friendly and supportive environment within an open plan office. (PM, Article 10, London) The other 32 occurrences refer to the requisites for the position or to the potential candidate, as in the following examples: (31) A professional manner is essential. (PM, Nitro Digital, London) (32) You will at all times provide a professional, efficient, timely and cost effective service to end-users and the company for which he/she has responsibility. (PM, Skillfinder International, London) (33) We are seeking a polished, proactive, and professional Project Manager for Lighting Support to continue to provide world class service. In this role, you will assist the lighting department and customers through each project. (PM, Crestron Electronics, New York) Therefore, in the case of professional the prevalence of the use of evaluative language to talk about the recruiting company is much less marked, with a number of occurrences that is only slightly higher than that referring to the candidate/position (34 vs. 32). A similar, and sometimes more marked, quantitative variation in the reference to actors can be found also for some of the inherently evaluative adjectives/premodifiers, with sometimes a substantial prevalence of reference to the candidate and the position (e.g. key with 17 adjectives referred to the company against 121 referred to the position and candidate; successful 17 against 93; appropriate 1 against 70). Elsewhere there is a prevalence of references to the company, its activities and the opportunities it offers (e.g. large refers to the company in 88 against 45 cases where it is referred to the candidate/position, great in 44 cases against 14, large in 17 cases against 49). This emerges clearly from Table 2.3, which shows the distribution according to their reference of the 20 most frequent positively charged adjectives/attributive premodifiers. The data were obtained by perusing the concordances for all of them, expanding the lines wherever necessary to verify their actual meaning in a broader context, for the purpose of categorizing them as aimed at enhancing the employer’s or the potential candidate’s image. The results are shown in Table 2.2.

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn






214 163 149 138 133 110 109 81 72 71 67 66 66 66 62 58 55 53 52 44 1,829

73 138 72 17 88 17 67 11 27 1 24 34 17 6 9 44 10 41 19 31 746

Candidate – position 141 25 77 121 45 93 42 70 45 70 43 32 49 60 53 14 45 12 33 13 1,083

Table 2.2 Distribution of the 20 most frequent evaluative/evaluatively used adjectives/premodifiers. An examination of Table 2.2 indicates that some evaluative items tend to be used more frequently in the description of the company, its activities and the opportunities it offers, while some other items are preferred when the focus is on the ideal candidate or the tasks involved in the job advertised. Within this general picture, however, the aggregate data show that overall positively charged lexicon generally appears more frequently in discourse focusing on candidate/position (1,083 occurrences, amounting to 59.21%) than in that focusing on the recruiting company (746, or 40.79%), even if the difference is not really substantial. Therefore, it can be concluded that, although positively charged lexicon is extensively used in job ads for employer branding purposes, this use is not prevalent, as quite predictably evaluative language is also used


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extensively in order to reinforce the message concerning recruiting, which is the ultimate aim of this genre.

5. Conclusions In light of the analysis carried out, it can be confirmed that evaluative lexis is extensively used in job ads posted on LinkedIn, as it is in online ads in general. Its use has gradually increased over time, as online posting has freed the genre from the traditional length restrictions, companies being no more limited by their budgets. The other important trend that has contributed to increasing recourse to evaluative lexis, is the addition to the genre of a component aimed at introducing the recruiting company and illustrating its activities, an evolution that started in the 1950s in printed job announcements and has grown in time, being reinforced by the increasing awareness of the positive effects of employer branding. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of the corpus, carried out respectively by close reading and by automated computer routines, shows that in job ads positively charged lexis is used not only for employer branding purposes, i.e. with reference to the recruiting company, its activities and the opportunities it offers, but also with regard to the ideal candidate and the position advertised, the latter case being if only slightly prevalent (59.21%), a prevalence that seems quite reasonable in a context where the basic message is aimed at personnel recruitment. Although in textual terms employer branding discourse does encroach on the recruitment message, colonizing the Moves in ads that focus on the ideal candidate and the position offered, employers also have other resources available for branding, e.g. on LinkedIn the Career page that every company may maintain and use for employer banding purposes. It can also be observed that intensive recourse to positively charged lexicon in the Job Description, contributing to setting very high – sometimes even seemingly unrealistic – requirements for the potential candidate, can be interpreted as an indirect form of employer branding, the implication being that a company that can impose such high standards and hire exceptional candidates must by necessity be exceptional as an employer. The analysis presented in this chapter is merely preliminary. Further research is needed for a more detailed discussion of recourse to evaluative language in job ads, extending the quantitative analysis to various parts of speech and grammatical and textual structures. It is hoped that this study may not only contribute to the description of a so far relatively unexplored sub-genre, but also be of interest for HR

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn


managers considering the use of LinkedIn for posting their employment ads, providing clues as to the implications of the discursive approach taken in drawing up the text to be posted.

References Ambler, Tim and Simon Barrow. 1996. “The Employer Brand”. Journal of Brand Management, 4 (3): 185–206. Amstrong, Michael. 2006. Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. 10th ed. London: Kogan Page. Askehave, Inger and Anne Ellerup Nielsen. 2004. Webmediated Genres – a Challenge to Traditional Genre Theory, Working Paper nr. 6, Aarhus, Center for Virksomhedskommunication. Askehave, Inger and John M. Swales. 2001. “Genre Identification and Communicative Purpose: a Problem and a Possible Solution.” In Applied Linguistics 23 (2): 195-212. Asprey, Sarah. 2005. “Recruitment Advertising”. In The Practice of Advertising. Fifth Edition, edited by Adam Mackay, 268-280. Oxford: Elsevier. Backhaus, Kristin and Surinder Tikoo. 2004. “Conceptualizing and researching employer branding”. In Career Development International 9 (5): 501–517. Barrow, Simon and Richard Mosley. 2005. The Employer Brand: Bringing the Best of Brand Management to People at Work. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1993. Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings, London: Longman. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2004/2014. Worlds of Written Discourse. A Genre-based View. London, New York: Bloomsbury. Biber, Douglas and Edward Finegan. 1989. “Styles of Stance in English: Lexical and Grammatical Marking of Evidentiality and Affect”. Text 9: 93-124. boyd, danah m. and Ellison, Nicole B. 2007. “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship”. In Journal of Computermediated Communication 13 (1). Available at: . Bratton, John and Jeffrey Gold. 2007. Human Resources Management: Theory and Practice. 4 ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Bruthiaux, Paul. 1996. The Discourse of Classified Advertising. Exploring the Nature of Linguistic Simplicity. New York: Oxford University Press.


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Channel, Joanna. 2000. “Corpus-Based Analysis of Evaluative Lexis”. In Evaluation in Text. Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse, edited by Susan Hunston and Geoff Thompson, 38-55. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Collamer, Nancy. 2014. Why So Many Job Postings Are So Ridiculous, Forbes, 22/9/2014. Online ad . Del Castillo, Christine. 2016. “Does anyone advertise jobs in newspapers anymore?” [16/02/2017] Fairclough, Norman. 1995/2010. Critical Discourse Analysis. The Critical Study of Language. Harlow: Longman. Feldman, Daniel, William O. Bearden and David M. Hardesty. 2006. “Varying the Content of Job Advertisements: The Effects of Message Specificity.” Journal of Advertising 35 (1): 123-141. Garzone, Giuliana. 2007. “Genres, Multimodality and the World-Wide Web: Theoretical Issues”. In Multimodality in Corporate Communication. Web Genres and Discursive Identity edited by Giuliana Garzone, Paola Catenaccio and Gina Poncini, 15-30. Milano: FrancoAngeli. Garzone, Giuliana. 2013. “Genre Analysis”. In International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction, edited by Karen Tracy, Cornelia Ilie, Todd Sandel, 1-17. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Garzone, Giuliana. forth. “Job Advertisements on LinkedIn: Generic Integrity and Evolution”. Accepted for publication in Lingue e Linguaggi. Georgakopoulou, Alexandra and Tereza Spilioti (eds) 2016. The Routledge Handbook of Language and Digital Communication. London/New York: Routledge. Gillaerts, Paul. 2012. “From Job Announcements to Recruitment Advertising: The Evolution of Recruitment Ads in a Flemish Newspaper (1946-2010)”. In Genre Change in the Contemporary World. Short-term Diachronic Perspectives, edited by Giuliana Garzone, Paola Catenaccio and Chiara Degano, 263-276. Bern: Peter Lang. Hunston, Susan and Geoff Thompson. 2000. “Evaluation: An Introduction”. In Evaluation in Text. Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse, edited by Susan Hunston and Geoff Thompson, 1-27. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hyland, Ken 2000. Metadiscourse. Exploring Interaction. London: Continuum.

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Labov, William. 1972. Language in the Inner City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. àącka-Badura, Jolanta. 2015. Recruitment Advertising as an Instrument of Employer Branding. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Lago, Angél Felice and Elaine Hewitt. 2004. “Personal Qualities of Applicants in Job Advertisements: Axiological and Lexical Analysis of Samples in English from the Spanish Press”. LSP and Professional Communication 4 (2): 8-26. Martin, J.R. 2000. “Beyond Exchange APPRAISAL System in English. In Evaluation in Text. Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse, edited by Susan Hunston and Geoff Thompson, 142-175. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mosley, Richard. 2014. Employer Brand Management. Chichester: Wiley. Rafaeli, Anat and Amalya Oliver. 1998. “Employment Ads: A Configurational Research Agenda”. In Journal of Management Inquiry 7 (4): 342-358. Scott, Mike. 2012. WordSmith Tools, version 6. Liverpool: Lexical Analysis Software. Shepherd, Michael and Carolyn Watters. 1998. “The Evolution of Cybergenres”. In Proceedings of the 31st Annual Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science, Vol. II: 97-109. Solly, Martin. 2005. “Job Ads and the Construction of Identity in Contemporary English Primary Education”. In Investigating English with Corpora, edited by Aurelia Martelli and Virginia Pulcini, 99-118. Milano: Polimetrica. Stubbs, Michael. 1996. Text and Corpus Analysis: Computer-Assisted Studies of Language and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell. Swales, John. 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John. 2004. Research Genres: Explorations and Applications. New York: Cambridge University Press. Van Meurs, Frank. 2010. English in Job Advertisements in the Netherlands: Reasons, Use and Effects. Utrecht: LOT. Vyvial-Larson, Jess. 2013. “Why Isn’t Salary Always Listed on a Job Posting?” [03/03/2017]. Walters, Nina L. and Antoinette Fage-Butler. 2014. “Danish job advertisements: Increasing in complexity”. Communication & Language at Work 3, 15 February: 38-52


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Weiner, Jeff. 2014. LinkedIn Company Presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, California. Monday, March 3, 2014. [05/03/2017].

Job Advertisements on LinkedIn



Freq. 214 183 149 138 133 110 109 81 72 71 67 66 66 66 62 58 55 53 52 44 38 38 36 36 35 35 30 29 28 28 25 24 23 21 21 17


Freq. 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 5



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Freq. 17 16 16 16 15 14 13 13 13 12 12 12 12 12 11 11 10 10


Freq. 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Table 2.3 Evaluative adjectives/attributive premodifiers up to frequency 5.


1. Introduction The 21st century has been shaped by the advent of new technologies that gave the kick-start to the ongoing “digital transformation” in all aspects of human society. However, this transformation is only visible to those individuals and organizations that have been shifting from offline, to a mixed method, to totally online, unlike the digital natives, as known as ‘GEN Y’, ‘millennials’, and ‘netizens’ in Kozinets’ (2010) terms that were born in the high-tech world. Today’s society indeed has entered a path with no way back from the digital transformation and inevitably even the most reluctant had to create a Facebook profile, a Twitter account, and share pictures on Instagram to declare their existence as individuals or corporate entities, because in the “instant world” actions in society are legitimized by digital practice (Gitomer 2011: 135). The aim of this chapter is to examine how luxury fashion firms, hesitant in transferring to cyberspace, coped with the digital transformation and created a corporate Facebook page to establish their presence online. The study presents an interdisciplinary approach that combines the strategies provided by luxury fashion brand management and a corpus-assisted discourse analysis to scrutinize and interpret the linguistic resources used to construct brand identity through Facebook posts. Semantic fields established as linguistic realizations of specific marketing strategies were investigated along with personal pronouns and possessive adjectives as instances of ‘self-mention’ and ‘engagement markers’ (Hyland 2005) used to create an interpersonal relationship between brands and readers. The findings provide helpful insights into corporate communication in the mediascape.


Chapter Three

2. Research background and rationale Luxury fashion brands first colonized cyberspace in 2001 when they stopped frowning upon the World Wide Web with “suspicion, confusion and apprehension” (Okonkwo 2010: 4). This negative attitude was due to the fact that the internet is a medium for one-to-many communication in contrast to luxury products that are crafted to be characterized by “limit in access” (Okonkwo 2010: 14). The features attributed to luxury can be summarized in the word ‘exclusivity’ that does not match with the main characteristic of the internet that is a ‘mass’ medium of communication where the functional paradigm is ‘one formula fits all’. The “channel conflict” (Okonkwo 2010: xviii) between luxury and the internet is identified in the dichotomies: ‘niche clientele’ versus ‘mass availability’ and ‘exclusivity’ versus ‘mass accessibility’ to emphasize how luxury is characterized by an aura of ‘scarcity’ that makes goods desirable (Kapferer and Bastien 2009, 2012): ‘made-to-measure’ luxury versus the ‘oneformula-fits-all approach’ and ‘mass appeal’ of the Internet (Okonkwo 2010). However, paradoxically, luxury implies limit in access, but at the same it requires global brand awareness (Kapferer 2015). This chapter investigates the “unsinkable” luxury industry (Okonkwo 2010: 11) as a product of a discursive process that manufactures distinctive intangible features that make its goods desirable (Duchêne and Heller 2012). Fashion has been chosen as specific market because of its challenging combination with the term ‘luxury’. Luxury fashion seeks for innovation and adaption to the target market (fashion) while keeping the universal characteristics associated with luxury such as exclusivity and timelessness (luxury) (Okonkwo 2007). This research focuses on the discourse shared by luxury fashion brands as instances of brand identity construction. Brand identity contributes to the creation of brand equity (electronic equity) when it coincides with the brand image perceived by the audience and materialized into the user-generated content (UGC). Brand equity represents the brand value accounted for in the financial performances of the firms (Keller 1998). This chapter only explores branding discourse, leaving out the UGC for future research.

3. Methodology 3.1 Data collection The data for this study were retrieved from the official corporate Facebook pages of the luxury fashion brands ranked in the top 10 fashion list

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters


released in December 2012 by the World Luxury Association in Beijing. The ranking shows the hegemony of the European brands (Kapferer and Bastien 2009, 2012), 5 Made in France (Chanel, Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint-Laurent) and 5 Made in Italy (Armani, Gucci, Fendi, Ferragamo, Prada). The corpus compiled with the textual resources of the corporate Facebook posts shared by the brands in the time frame includes posts shared from the date of creation of their Facebook page that ranges from 2008 to 2012, until February 2013. The timeframe considered for the collection of the data represents the ‘pioneer’ (2009-2011) and ‘creative’ (2012-2013) stages according to the degree of digitalization of the marketing strategies performed by the brands (Li 2015). The corpus counts a total of 88,532 word tokens divided into 495 different text files grouped into folders categorized as: brands, years, months and source of collection such as the ‘about page’, the ‘founded’ information session, and the timeline. The dataset also presents the use of various languages other than English because the Facebook algorithm randomly shows global and local posts according to the current location of user (myself based in Italy at that time). The use of different languages is given by the fact that brands post in English, but also in the language of their country of origin to benefit from the prestige attributed to certain languages such as French and Italian in this case (Duchêne and Heller 2012) and the languages of the target market such as Chinese and Korean. The corpus compiled for this study relying on the classification of corpora by Tognini-Bonelli (2011: 54) can be considered as a “specialized corpus” representative of the specific context of luxury fashion brand communication on Facebook.

3.2 Theoretical and analytical framework The data have been scrutinized through a corpus-assisted discourse analysis that focuses on the linguistic realizations of the concepts introduced by the literature on luxury fashion brand management (Corbellini and Saviolo 2009; Kapferer and Bastien 2012). The three strategies highlighted in the literature are: storytelling, heritage marketing, and ‘glocalization’ of brand identity and are expected to be the leitmotif of the discourse examined. Storytelling gives life to brands by enhancing the process of personification (Fontana 2010; Handley and Chapman 2011). One of the characteristics of luxury brands is, indeed, that they are usually named after their founder (Kapferer and Bastien 2009, 2012). The stories told by and about brands must involve the consumers and make them the first


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brand ambassadors and creators of buzz (Fontana 2010; Handley and Chapman 2011). Heritage marketing draws attention to the brand heritage, treating it as a treasure (Corbellini and Saviolo 2009). This includes iconic products, objects related to the founder’s life, collections and everything that contributes to the history of the brands and to forging their luxury aura. Hence, brands have opened corporate museums with the purpose of telling their history by displaying the elements that made them legendary (Montemaggi and Severino 2007; Bertoli et al. 2016). Gucci and Ferragamo museums are two examples among others, and temporary exhibitions travelling around the world like Pradasphere mark the advent of a new way of penetrating the emerging economies. Glocalization combines the provenance of the brand with the culture of the target market (de Mooij 2014). Even though communication is conveyed by a mass medium that aims to simultaneously connect users from different places (Kozinets 2010), a global message is conceived as universally decodable (Hall 2006) or implicitly constructed for a specific audience. Furthermore, luxury fashion brands rely on their ‘made in’ identity that generates the country of origin effect (Aiello et al. 2008). The country of origin effect in fashion is often transformed into city of origin (Capone and Lazzeretti 2016) relying on the image of a specific city (e.g. Milan for Prada, Florence for Gucci and Ferragamo, Paris for Dior, London for Burberry). The importance of the country of origin is found to be a constant feature in the linguistic realizations of the marketing strategies as later reported in the results. The marketing strategies for luxury brands can be therefore summarized in the realization of the key concept of ‘heritage’ (Corbellini and Saviolo 2007) that is composed of the following elements: people, like the founder whose name coincides with the brand name and the place of origin due to the fact that the label ‘made in’ is still of importance for luxury brands even if nowadays the production might be offshore (Okonkwo 2007; Kapferer and Bastien 2012). The legend consists of the anecdotes related to the founder and the brand itself that usually is the source of inspiration for the creation of the iconic product (Corbellini and Saviolo 2009). All these features are inevitably constructed through discourse, and therefore linguistically realized through a process of curatorship of language. Hence, this linguistic analysis focuses on the identification of the semantic fields that crystallize the meanings related to the storytelling and put emphasis on the fundamental pillars of luxury industry, and the analysis of the categories provided by the interactional metadiscourse by Hyland (2005) that guides and involves the reader in the text. For this

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters


study the categories of metadiscourse considered are the ‘self-mentions’ including personal pronouns and possessive adjectives that explicitly refer to the actors of certain actions and the ‘engagement markers’ that have the purpose of building a relationship with the reader and comprise any linguistic resource that addresses the reader (Hyland, 2005). The semantic fields have been identified through the use of Wmatrix 3.0 while the selfmention elements and engagement markers in addition to the search of words related to the concept of ‘exclusivity’ have been retrieved with the support of WordSmith 5.0.

3.3 Corpus tools The analysis has been conducted with the support of two corpus tools: Wmatrix 3.0 (Rayson, 2003) and WordSmith 5.0 (Scott, 2008). Wmatrix is a linguistic software devised by Paul Edward Rayson (Rayson, 2003) able to generate statistical results concerning the use of specific key semantic domains that work as indicators of the main themes of the discourse under focus. Drawing on the major semantic fields identified, it is possible to unveil the linguistic features that frame the institutional discourse of the brand and the core values. In this study Wmatrix is used to compare the dataset to the sub-corpus BNC Sampler CG (Spoken) Business. The reference corpus chosen includes instances of specialized business discourse and it consists of 141.143 tokens collected from the BNC Sampler Context Governed Business. The analysis of the semantic fields generated by Wmatrix follows the USAS (UCREL Semantic Analysis System) based on a semantic classification developed by Tom McArthur for the Longman Lexicon of Contemporary English in 1981. The semantic classification includes 21 categories, for example: ‘arts and crafts’, ‘substances, materials, objects and equipment’, ‘numbers and measurement’, and ‘time’. The main categories are further divided into different sub-categories, for instance ‘time’ is unfolded as follows: T1 T1.1 T1.1.1 T1.1.2 T1.1.3 T1.2 T1.3 T2 T3 T4

Time Time: General Time: General: Past Time: General: Present; simultaneous Time: General: Future Time: Momentary Time: Period Time: Beginning and ending Time: Old, new and young; age Time: Early/late


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The accurate process of identification of the semantic domains makes it possible to explore the dataset and map out the branding discourse in its different linguistic features based on the co-text and context of specific words (POS – Part-Of-Speech tagging) (Rayson 2003). The different semantic fields are generated through the log-likelihood calculator which shows how significant the difference is (Rayson 2003). In the simple interface of the software, the larger the font in the tag cloud visualization, the more significant is the difference between the corpus and the reference corpus in the use of words that are grouped under the semantic domain. WordSmith in its version 5.0 (Scott, 2008) is used in this study to scrutinize the concordances of the personal pronouns and possessive adjectives identified as realizations of self-mentions and engagement markers, starting from the frequency list that provides a first overview of the use of these linguistic resources1.

4. Preliminary findings and discussion The dataset offers a fertile terrain for research from different perspectives. Compiling the corpus immediately shows how the presence of luxury fashion brands online can be described along a timeline of content design maturity where each stage represents the attempt to produce promotional materials exclusively crafted to be made available on the web instead of replicating texts construed to be spread offline. Drawing on the idea of the “extant” and “novel” cybergenres suggested by Shepherd and Watters (1998: 99), it is possible to argue that brands have been shifting towards a process of resemiotization (Iedema 2001) of their brand identity and core values by moving from an offline to an online communication, and subsequently to omnichannel communication (Okonkwo 2010). The information retrieved from the analytics of the corporate Facebook pages provide an overview of the audience engaging with those pages. For example, brands can track the reception of the posts, understand the potentiality of the message in terms of distribution and test of new markets without investment for physical presence. Table 3.1 displays data about the most popular weeks in terms of visibility of the page on Facebook, the ‘current city’ of the fans who liked the page, and some demographic information related to their age. 1

The results will be discussed taking into consideration the frequency of occurrences of the pronouns and possessive adjectives approximated per thousand words according the proportion O:V = x:1.000 in which O stands for the number of occurrences and V suggests the number of the tokens in the corpus.

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters BRAND Armani

Most Popular Week 26 February 2012

Most Popular City


18 November 2012

Taipei, Taipei

18-24 years old

Dior Fendi Ferragamo

17 July 2011 11 December 2011 2 December 2012

Taipei, Taipei Rome, Lazio Mexico City, Distrito Federal

25-34 years old 18-34 years old 18-34 years old


26 February 2012

18-24 years old

Hermès LV Prada

10 February 2013 4 March 2012 4 March 2012


26 February 2012

Mexico City, Distrito Federal Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Taipei, Taipei Mexico City, Distrito Federal Paris, Ile-de-France

Mexico City, Distrito Federal


Most Popular Age Group 18-24 years old

18-34 years old 18-24 years old 18-24 years old 18-24 years old

Table 3.1 Page insights. Facebook pages of the brands (Feb. 2013) While the most popular week and age information were expected due to the coincidence with fashion weeks in Italy and the age of the GEN Y, the data about the current cities of the fans were not predictable. Besides Asian cities well established as profitable markets for luxury goods, and Italy and France as domestic markets supporters of their own brands like Rome for Fendi and Paris for YSL, Mexico City represents an interesting result that suggests an increasing interest in luxury. Indeed, once crosschecked in the news this has been classified as an aspirational sign of the forthcoming “Mexico’s moment” leveraged by the demographic bonus (average age 26), the tourism boost, and the overall* development of the country (Jackson, T. 4 August 2014). The demographic data available on Facebook do not represent the actual sources of revenues of the brand, but they offer an overview of the desires of GEN Y in those countries that might be transformed into sales. Indeed, liking a Facebook page is more symptomatic of aspiration than actual purchasing power to buy the good. The virtual avatar is often the product of construction of the ideal self to be consumed by others (Malar et al. 2011). The semantic fields characterizing the discourse disseminated by the luxury fashion firms through Facebook posts are mapped out in the key domain cloud generated by Wmatrix and visualized in Figure 3.1.


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Figure 3.1. Key domain cloud The results provide unexpected semantic fields belonging to the specialized context such as ‘clothing and personal belongings’, ‘colours and patterns’ but the attention is for those semantic fields that actually reconstrue the heritage of the brands and are found to be linguistic realizations of the marketing strategies. The table below (Table 3.2) reports a summary of the semantic fields and draws the relations between semantic realizations and communication purpose dictated by the luxury marketing strategies identified in the literature.

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters

Semantic field Arts and Crafts Clothes and personal belongings Colours and patterns Judgement of Appearance: Beautiful Geographical Names Money generally Numbers Open; Finding; Showing; Other Proper Names Personal names People: Female Religion and the Supernatural Seem Substances and Materials The Media: TV, Radio, and Cinema Time: New and Young


Communication purpose Emphasize tradition and art Present the products Describe the products Art and Aestheticism Put evidence of country of origin, and target markets Create the idea of expensiveness Describe quantities Report on brand and product display (events) Identify people and places (brand founders, designers, celebrities, models, locations, monuments) Identify people related to the brand (brand founders, designers, celebrities, models) Focus on female models and consumers Construct storytelling Emphasize associations to upgrade products (appearance) Focus on fabrics and raw material of the products Boost media integration to build up global visibility Focus on innovation and mark of fashion seasons

Table 3.2. Semantic fields and communication purposes The semantic field of ‘arts and crafts’ among others describes the fundamental pillar of tradition in terms of the process of production. The following examples (1, 2 and 3) show how the brands frame the discourse about the crafting process of their products in order to justify their high price (Kapferer 2015).


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(1) The hands of expert craftsmen shaped the sunglasses in leather utilizing one of the most representative colours of the brand; yellow. (2) Jewellery belts sculpted in metal sparkles at the waistline, together with decorative elements on bags and pochettes. (3) Boldly luxe and masterfully crafted (it takes artisans two days to make it), the Stirrup is pure elegance with a modern edge. The use of the words ‘craftsmen’, ‘sculpted’, ‘masterfully crafted’, ‘artisans’ highlighted, put emphasis on the artisan’s work as the result of an art tradition that takes the reader back to Renaissance workshops in which the master would handcraft each piece as it was an artwork (Corbellini and Saviolo 2009). Interestingly, among the ongoing art projects realized across the world, the process of production of the products is at the centre of the exhibitions, and artisans from the maisons travel to different destinations to show the meticulous work required for the details of the iconic creations of the brands. Furthermore, fashion shows too have been celebrating the armies of tailors who work behind the scenes of the glamorous gowns walking the catwalks. In the same sentences ‘sunglasses’, ‘bags’, and ‘pochettes’ are the ‘personal belongings’ described as made of ‘leather’ and ‘metal sparkles’ referred to under the semantic category of ‘substances and materials’, and in addition an instance of ‘colours and pattern’ is realized in the word ‘yellow’. The ‘Stirrup’ here was classified as ‘other proper names’ because it is iconized by the brand as a unique product and upgraded to such by the use of uppercase. The sentences above also include a reference to ‘time’ in showing that artisans spend ‘two days’ to craft one Stirrup only. The semantic category of ‘time’ often occurs in its sub-category of ‘new and young’ (occurrence percentage 8.15/1,000) and reflects the innovative nature of fashion. Examples 4, 5, and 6 provide instances of ‘time’ with the words ‘new’, ‘modern’, and ‘innovation’. (4) A new edition of the classic, round optical frames that are strongly inspired by the 20s. (5) Founded in Florence in 1921, Gucci represents world class luxury, Italian heritage and modern style.

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters


(6) Prada’s inspiring concept of uncompromised quality and constant innovation has endured from 1913, when Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada’s grandfather, opened a shop of luxury goods in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. This incredible fragmentation in terms of time is part of the discussion that leads to the paradoxical combination of luxury and fashion in which luxury struggles to be timeless and fashion needs to reinvent itself to survive (Okonkwo 2007). The examples above emphasize how the ‘new’ collections are still inspired by the heritage of the brand and preserve the authenticity of the original design ‘strongly inspired by the 20s’ and bridge past, present and future. Besides the occurrence of ‘time’ in its subcategory of ‘new and young’ the presence of references to the past precisely recalled over the years (i.e. the 20s, 1921, from 1913) is strong. Also other semantic fields detected in the sentences reported above are ‘personal names’ like ‘Mario Prada’ identified as ‘Miuccia Prada’s grandfather’, and also the use of ‘other proper names’, this time referring to locations like ‘Galleria Vittorio Emanuele’, along with ‘geographical terms’ such as ‘Florence’ and ‘Milan’, but also ‘Italian’ to disclose the country of origin of the brands. The dataset also present instances of ‘geographical terms’ referring to target markets, China in particular, that occurs when new flagship stores are opened in cities mainly covering tier 1, such as Beijing and Shanghai. The other semantic fields identified as predominant in the branding discourse gather terms used to construct ‘Judgement of Appearance: Beautiful’, evaluative language is one of the features of advertising discourse, ‘money generally’ because in this context the products are described as expensive, ‘open; finding; showing’ because Facebook is used to report on events such as the fashion shows, ‘people: female’ because the brands examined happen to be the major players in womenswear, so both celebrity endorsement and reference to the audience are embedded with the female gender, ‘religion and supernatural’ realized through the addressing of the firm as the ‘temple’ of fashion, ‘seem’ because often products reproduce and resemble other items, ‘media’ in all their sub-categories because Facebook boosts the practice of ‘omnichannel’ communication through the integration of different platforms like the sharing of editorial content previously published on printed media and hypertextual references to other virtual places like websites and other social media. This creates transmedia storytelling (Jenkins 2006) that constructs meanings through different media trying to exploit the different affordances provided by each of them (Kress 2010).


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The analysis of the semantic field has also been conducted compiling two sub-corpora by dividing the brands into the labels ‘made in France’ and ‘made in Italy’. The two sub-corpora have been compared with each other in order to verify whether the metabrand ‘made in’ influences the communication performances of the different brands. The results have confirmed that all the brands rely on the same linguistic choices to construct their brand identity. This is given by the fact that European brands share the same values and apply the same strategies despite the metabrand. The differences between countries of origin in terms of values are not significant, in particular because in this case Italy and France share the same hegemonic position in luxury goods market. The analogies are also the result of the overarching luxury conglomerates that own most of the luxury brands and make them similar in terms of general marketing directions. In addition, family brands end up following the path of big luxury groups in terms of marketing strategies even if they do not belong to them because in the phase of experimenting with digital strategies, brands inevitably monitor their competitors2. Once given an overall picture of the meanings constructed by the brands examined, the identification of self-mention and engagement markers (Table 3.3) maps out the actors involved in the communication process taking place on Facebook.


Information collected during an internship in the department of Advertising & Communication in a fashion firm.

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters

Pronouns and possessive adjectives You

Frequency of occurrence






Belonging to the user



Brand (exclusive function), web community (inclusive function)



Brand, product



Belonging to the brand, product





Celebrity, designers, people around the brand Brand (exclusive function), web community (inclusive function)



Brand (exclusive function), web community (inclusive function)









Celebrity, designers, people around the brand Celebrity, designers, people around the brand Celebrity, designers, people around the brand Pseudoquotation (designer, celebrity)











Celebrity, designers, people around the brand Celebrity, designers, people around the brand Pseudoquotation (designer, celebrity) Celebrity, designers, people around the brand Pseudoquotation (designer, celebrity)

Table 3.3 Self-mentions and engagement markers



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The higher percentage of the presence of ‘you’ and ‘your’ suggests that the use of the platform is particularly devoted to engaging the user and creating interaction. The lines shown below, taken from the concordances of ‘you*’, illustrate the continuous invitation of the brands to users to cocreate UGC which is actually the innovative feature of social networks. We will offer you an interactive experience. Stay we are ready and you? 5 minutes…are you ready for as red as…and your love, as red as Salvatore Ferragamo to thank you for your comments, your feedback, your enthusiasm liveshow.ferragamo.com for your front row seat and above and let your friends know how are you feeling Share them with your friends today! The 2020/11 Tell us your fashion tale to do it add your own handwritten love note Use CHANEL emoticons to share your mood. Les Jeans de Tell a story with your look! Midsummer days are perfect Decorate your own Baguette with the Create-your-own kit. The use of a constant call for action to engage the reader enhances the construction of a customized message designed to address the single individual that while being solicited to like, share, or comment feels part of the brand world. In order of frequency, after ‘you’ and ‘your’, the list (Table 3.3) includes other pronouns and possessive adjectives that refer to the brand, the founder, and other people related to the brand such as celebrities, bloggers, and designers. The use of pronouns such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ and possessive adjectives like ‘our’ for instance, accentuates social networks regarded as a community but at the same time in contrast with the exclusivity of luxury. These linguistic resources are used for both inclusive and exclusive meanings, respectively engaging the user and stating the inaccessibility of the world. Inclusive when the reference is to the online community and therefore includes all the participants in the co-creation of brand identity and exclusive when the subject of the message is the brand family and the user is a spectator.

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters


The concept of exclusivity that in the physical world is given by the opportunity to experience the brand, in the digital world is translated into words. The following lines provide examples of the use of ‘exclusively’ in the form of an adverb emphasizing the exclusive distribution of the editorial content. We’ll be revealing it exclusively here on Facebook at 5:00 pm CHANEL Fine Jewelry… now online exclusively at more.mad Discover exclusively some pictures. Raf Simons exclusively shares with us the secrets of the ideas from Fendi exclusively for you http://baguette.fendi.com/shop/ Salvatore Ferragamo exclusively invites you to the Womens’Fall he exclusively shares with Facebook and Twitter fans this sneak secret of Milanese women… exclusively here. shares this sketch exclusively with Ferragamo’s digital fans The I-Gucci GRAMMY widget can be downloaded exclusively distinctive “Plus” finish is exclusively realized for Gucci.com. Director’s Cut of the campaign here, exclusively, on Facebook Lively, exclusively on Facebook. The findings draw attention to the actions performed by the brands to invite the reader to consume information. Brands seem to devote their social networking activities to ‘exclusively’ ‘reveal, ‘unveil’, ‘share’, ‘invite’, and the users are called to ‘exclusively’ ‘discover’. The actions create a dialogical relationship between the brands and the users that works thanks to an implicit agreement between the two parts. As in narrative genres the reader accepts the text as truth relying on the relationship with the author based on trust. In the same way even if shared with millions of fans the user reads the Facebook post shared by the brand as being exclusively designed to reach him/her based on the idea of the discursively manufactured one-to-one communication. To conclude, the findings provide an overview of the use of social media in the luxury industry that can be summarized in the three following words: engagement, entertainment and integration. Engagement as being the fundamental pillar of social media activity, entertainment recreated through the deployment of storytelling based on specific semantic fields that gather linguistic choices, and integration realized through the use of hyperlinks redirecting the users from Facebook to Twitter and to the website to mention virtual places among others, and digitalization of editorial content previously shared on printed media, and invitation to visit physical spaces like flagship stores and exhibitions.


Chapter Three

5. Conclusion The study showed how luxury fashion brands shape their brand identity through discourse. To sum up the concept, brand heritage (Figure 3.1) is linguistically realized as follows: ‘people’ and ‘product’ are realized through semantic fields ranging from ‘personal names’ to ‘clothing and personal belongings’; ‘place of origin’ is brought into the conversation through the use of specific semantic fields (i.e. geographical names) that not only put emphasis on the land of origin of the products but also spatially localize the events that create the ‘legend’; this latter is described through other semantic fields (i.e. arts and crafts and religion and supernatural). Furthermore, personal pronouns and possessive adjectives, used as metadiscursive elements of ‘self-mentions’ and ‘engagement markers’, create the dialogue between the brand and the users called to cocreate the branding discourse. A further development of the study will respond to both managerial and pedagogical implications offering a picture of luxury fashion branding discourse in the social mediascape as instance of luxury semiotization, and corpora for the study of ESP in its dissemination in cyberspace. Social networks provide a wide territory to be explored and while surfing cyberspace we might discover other lands, making the journey more difficult but even more exciting. Further research will focus on the analysis of data collected from the most recent stages of production of content for social media, but in particular will examine the discourse as the product of the interplay of different semiotic resources. This will lead to a more systematic and global understanding of the process of construction of the concept of luxury in the digital environment and will open a path towards the investigation of multimodal corpora aimed at adapting or developing models for the analysis of texts construed for the web. In addition, future research will focus on the alignment between brand identity as the product of branding discourse, and brand image given by the UGC.

Acknowledgements I am grateful to Prof. Franca Poppi for her comments and suggestions.

Funding Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme 2014-2015 (PF13-11559).

Luxury Fashion Brands Online: When Language Matters


References Capone, Francesco and Luciana Lazzeretti. 2016. “Fashion and city branding: An analysis of the perception of Florence as a fashion city”. Journal of Global Fashion and Marketing, Vol. 7, No. 3, (2016): 166180. Bertoli, Giuseppe, Bruno Busacca, Maria Cristina Ostillio and Silvia Di Vito, S. 2016. “Corporate museums and brand authenticity: Explorative research of the Gucci Museo”. Journal of Global Fashion and Marketing, 7(3): 181-195. BNC, http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/corpus/index.xml. Business Dictionary, http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/GenerationY.html#ixzz3iTN0IwVG. Corbellini, Erica and Stefania Saviolo. 2009. Managing fashion and luxury companies. Firenze: ETAS. De Moij, Marieke. 2014. Global Marketing and Advertising. Understanding Cultural Paradoxes. London: Sage Publications. Docherty, Michael. “Fundraising through digital”, TORCH, http://torch.ox.ac.uk/digital-fundraising Duchêne, Alexandre and Monica Heller (eds). 2012. Language in late Capitalism: Pride and profit. New York: Routledge. Fontana, Andrea. 2010. Storyselling. Strategie del racconto per vendere se stessi, i propri prodotti, la propria azienda. Milano: ETAS. Gitomer, Jeffrey. 2011. Social Boom. How to master business social media to brand yourself, sell yourself, sell your product, dominate your industry, market, save your butt, rake in the cash, and grind your competition into the dirt-by the global authority on sales, attitude, trust, and loyalty. New Jersey: Financial Times Press. Hall, Stuart. 2006. “Encoding/decoding”. In Media cultural studies: keyworks edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 163-173. Handley, Ann and C.C. Chapman. 2011. Content marketing. Fare business con i contenuti per il web. Video, Blog, Podcast, Ebook e Webinar di successo. Milano: Editore Ulrico Hoepli. Hyland, Ken. 2005. Metadiscourse. Exploring interaction in writing. London, New York: Continuum. Iedema, Rick. 2001. “Resemiotization”. Semiotica, 137, 1(4): 23-39. Jackson Tim and David Shaw. 2009. Mastering fashion marketing. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


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Jenkins, Henry. 2006. Convergence culture. Where old and new media collide. New York, London: New York University Press. Kapferer, Jean-Noël and Bastien Vincent. 2009, 2012. The Luxury Strategy. Break the rules of marketing to build luxury brands. London, Philadelphia: Kogan Page Limited. Kapferer, Jean-Noël. 2015. Kapferer on Luxury: How luxury brands can grow yet remain rare. London, Philadelphia: Kogan Page Limited. Keller, Kevin Lane. 1998. Strategic brand management. Building, measuring, and managing brand equity. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. Kozinets, Robert V. 2010. Netnography. Doing ethnographic research online. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore: Sage Publications. Kress, Gunther. 2010. Multimodality: a social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. New York: Routledge. Li, Candy. 2015. “The digital spaces of luxury brands”. Final conference: The spaces of luxury: Places, spaces and geographies from the Renaissance to the present. Leverhulme-funded International Network ‘Luxury & The Manipulation of Desire’ University of Warwick, London (UK), 4-7 February 2015. Malär, Lucia, Harley Krohmer, Wayne D. Hoyer and Bettina Nyffenegger. 2011. “Emotional brand attachment and brand personality: The relative importance of the actual and the ideal self”. Journal of Marketing, vol.75, (2011): 35-52. Montemaggi, Marco and Fabio Severino. 2007. Heritage marketing. La storia del’impresa italiana come vantaggio competitivo. Milano: FrancoAngeli. Okonkwo, Uche. 2007. Luxury fashion branding: trends, tactics, techniques. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Okonkwo, Uche. 2010. Luxury online: styles, systems, strategies. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. PR Newswire, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/world-luxuryassociation-official-release-worlds-top-100-most-valuable-luxurybrands-137655508.html. Rayson, Paul. 2003. Matrix: A statistical method and software tool for linguistic analysis through corpus comparison. Ph.D. thesis, Lancaster University. Scott, Mike. 2008. WordSmith Tools Version 5.0. Liverpool: Lexical Analysis Software. Shepherd, Michael and Carolyn Watters. 1998. “The evolution of cybergenres”. In Proceedings of the Thirty-First Annual Hawaii

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International Conference on System Sciences, vol. II, edited by RJ Sprague, 97-109. Hawaii: IEEE. Tognini-Bonelli, Elena. 2001. Corpus Linguistics at Work. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins. UCREL, http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/wmatrix3.html.


1. Introduction The immediate business of this chapter is to establish whether what, for convenience’s sake, I will call the New Club Manager Press Conference (NCMPC), embedded in videos on official football club sites and also available on video sharing websites like YouTube, can be considered a genre in its own right. As the analysis will be carried out broadly in line with the functional account of genre (Swales 1990; Bhatia 1993), it is hoped that this will provide insights into the underlying purposes of this web-mediated event. This will entail two further endeavours: 1. to contribute to the ongoing identification and study of genres that are taking root, springing up and flourishing in the Web environment; 2. to establish the credentials of football as a fully-fledged business and corporate reality warranting serious research into the role played by language in its professional practices, particularly in its official communications with its various stakeholders: sponsors, press, fans, players, backroom staff and merchandising companies, to name the most obvious. A related aim is to add to the rather scanty linguistic literature on football (see Lavric 2008; Bergh and Olander 2012: 19) a profession not overly associated with language use, but one which, precisely because of its highly mediated nature, continues to generate media discourse, quite frequently for self-promotional reasons. The paucity of studies on the discourse of football is no less evident in the case of a specific speech event like the press conference. While its occurrence in the political and corporate domains has received considerable attention (see, among others, Partington 2003, Bhatia 2006, Degano 2014, Bhatia 2017), there is to date

New Club Manager Press Conferences


a dearth of literature on a speech event that, nonetheless, generates considerable interest, as will be seen in section 2.1, where the viewing figures for corporate and football club press conferences are compared. Sandrelli’s (2012) study of the football manager press conference is possibly the only one of note, though it mainly considers it from the interpreting perspective and the development of strategies for rendering the subject matter. A further difference from the present study is that it presents the viewpoint and data of a legitimated participant in the speech event, namely the interpreter, who is privy to the conference in its entirety, including questions from the press. Therefore, although Sandrelli (2012: 78) defines press conferences as “an example of dialogic communication characterised by high interactivity”, this chapter is concerned with NCMPCs as a widely consumed and distinct audio-visual, Web-mediated product in which the dialogic, interactive element is far less evident, because questions from the press have often been edited out or are merely unclear. Thus, the concern is to define the generic features of a Web product not as it is mediated by the print press, but in a form where the journalist’s contribution is either downplayed or muted.

2. Football as business The case for football as enterprise can be made conveniently by comparing the economic performance of the Premier League with results achieved by other British companies and groups in the same time period. Suffice it to note that that the utility British Gas achieved operating profits of £574m in 2016 (Johnston 2016), the media group TMG (Telegraph Media Group) posted an operating profit of £51.7m (Telegraph 2016), and the insurer RSA reported an operating profit of £655m (RTE 2017). These performances can be compared with the £0.5bn operating profits achieved by the Premier League (Parrett 2016). If there were any lingering doubts about the business credentials of football, these may be dispelled by Deloitte analyst Dan Jones, who in an interview with the BBC (Wilson 2016) claimed that “when the enhanced new broadcast deals commence in the 2016-17 season, operating profits could rise as high as £1bn”.

2.1 Football and communication As a business that stands at the intersection between entertainment, media, politics, identity and even religion, football is very much in the public eye (and ear). It is much talked about, and ever-increasingly, talks about itself. Some of the professionals involved in this process are media experts;


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others are still inside the game, none more so than the team manager, who is obliged contractually to participate in a number of distinct media events (Beard 1998). An insight into football managers’ importance as communicators can be gleaned by a comparison of YouTube views for new company CEO press conferences and NCMPCs. The unveiling of the new CEOs of Nokia, Microsoft and Peugeot attracted 12,819, 1,123, and 8,326 views respectively. These figures can be compared with the number of views for the NCMPCs of Brendan Rogers of Liverpool FC (108,177 views), Tim Sherwood of Aston Villa FC (8,958 views), and Steve Bruce of Hull City FC (8,863 views), all eliciting comparable, if not considerably more interest than the heads of global companies working in sectors like IT, telecommunications or the automotive industry. From this cursory survey, it would appear football not only withstands comparison with other established businesses in financial terms, but its practices, for example the hiring and firing of new managers, are followed by a significant audience within the particular kind of participation framework (Goffman 1981) afforded by the Web.

3. The data Genre analysis does not necessarily require large data sets (see Swales 1990: 110). Recent studies work from rather contained corpora (see Poncini 2007), which is only to be expected when analysing new or emerging Web genres. This study is no different, working from transcripts of 16 NCMPCs. The restricted amount of data is due to selection criteria and to issues of availability. As the Premier League now features a large number of NNS managers, all with varying levels of linguistic competence in ELF, for this preliminary study it was decided to concentrate on newly appointed NS managers from the UK. A further reason for the contained data set is that outgoing managers are not necessarily replaced by appointees of the same language and culture. What is more, once a manager has been dismissed from a club, his NCMPC in the club archive often disappears with him. In some cases, it was possible to recover the official press conference that had been wiped from the club archive on YouTube. Sometimes both the official and the shared version were available, though in slightly different edited versions. In such cases, the most complete version was selected for transcription, unless one or other of the versions contained moves not present in the longer one. In addition, questions from the press are frequently inaudible, either because they have been edited out or simply because they are off microphone and cannot be heard by anyone outside the pressroom. The manager is on microphone

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and his statements and answers are all audible, though different parts of the conference may be available on different platforms (e.g. club websites and YouTube). Indeed, the very selection of material and the construction of the data set for this Web-mediated event was an object lesson in the challenges entailed in researching web mediated discourse, particularly the need for the researcher to cope with the “immateriality” of web texts, which “are subject to change, replacement or withdrawal within hours or days” (Garzone 2007: 20). The following observations are, therefore, made in the knowledge that they are of necessity somewhat provisional.

4. The genre analysis model Any choice of analytical model also needs to take into account and assess the relevance of the refinements and extensions to classic functionoriented approaches, as now envisaged by some theorists in the wake of the World Wide Web. Garzone, for example, (2007) has reviewed and described in some detail the new elements that should be factored in when attempting to define and classify a web genre, though her survey largely concerns print genres, presumably reflecting the prevailing situation before embedded audio-visual modalities became so commonplace in websites of all kinds. Hypertextuality, for instance, is judged to have radically altered the reception of web-mediated text and the modalities involved in reading it (see Askehave and Swales 2001, Garzone 2007). Spoken words do not as yet activate links to other spoken discourse. For this technological reason my genre analysis model does not include hypertextuality/hypermediality and the related properties of multiple reading modes. The basic communicative event under analysis is the closed-shop encounter of a new football manager with the traditionally ratified participants (Goffman 1981) of the press and club officials, and it can be assumed that the question and answer format has changed little in the migration from press room to Webpage; indeed, many basic elements are remarkably consistent with the procedures for unveiling managers in the pre-web era. As Garzone (2007: 26) reminds us, “after migration to the Web, a given genre does retain its original purpose (as defined in social terms)”. Nevertheless, by the time of its arrival on the Web, this kind of press event has greatly increased its accessibility. As Garzone (2007: 20) points out, “drafters of documents to be posted on the Web are aware of these potential users, who thus acquire the status of ratified participants rather than simple bystanders… this has contributed to […] adding a promotional component to most genres that have migrated to the Web”.


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Indeed, the contemporary NCMPC now reaches out beyond the privileged closed shop scenario that would traditionally mediate the news for public consumption, to much wider ratified overhearing (Goffman 1981) and ‘overviewing’ audiences that respond to the communication according to their own varying priorities and criteria, a factor that presumably “repurposes” the genre and moulds its moves and its range of promotion in ways that are intimately connected with the technology of the medium. Now, the potential receivers of the new managers’ message are multiple (journalists, players, fans, sponsors, club officials and board members), which strongly suggests that communicative purpose(s) and persuasive intent have become quite complex, extending beyond the confines of the press room, which may in turn account for some of the tactical aspects (Bhatia 1996: 39) of conventional language found in these events. Therefore, taking into account this tension between traditional procedures and the new dynamics of this Web-mediated communication, it has been decided to retain purpose and move analysis (Swales 1990, Bhatia 1993) as the main struts of my analytical model, but to view them in the light of the participation framework afforded by the Web.

5. The analysis: communicative purpose(s) The concept of communicative purpose (Swales 1990: 58) is associated with the notion of specialist discourse communities. In this case the specialist discourse community is involved in running and writing about football management. The main communicative purpose of this genre is that of presenting a new manager to the press. It is the club that presents the new manager to the journalists in the club’s pressroom, the latter asking questions about the management side of football and the manager answering them. However, Askehave and Swales (2001: 197) remind us that “experts in a professional community may not always agree about the purpose of a genre”, probably because they have slightly different agendas, even as they pursue a common purpose. Indeed, to adapt Martin’s (1985: 250) famous definition, a genre may be how different (albeit related things) get done by different people when they use language to achieve a common purpose. For instance, in the NCMPC it is possible to discern a number of communicative purposes informing the event simultaneously. From the club’s point of view, the unveiling and parading of the new manager communicates the board’s commitment to acting in the interests of the club by appointing the new man, whose expertise is expected to secure success or avoid relegation. The manager, on the other hand, will be motivated to display his own expertise, authority and optimism, but

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also to communicate strong identification with the club and with the ‘vision’ of the board. The journalists for their part will also be on the lookout for any fresh newsworthy nuggets they can glean from the main story of the appointment, often resulting in questions about possible transfer deals or the transfer window. As such, the NCMPC corresponds to Askehave and Swales’ (2001: 189-98) definition of a genre as “a recognisable communicative event characterized by a set of communicative purpose(s) identified and understood by the members of the professional … community in which it regularly occurs”. What is more, each of the participants is working within what Askehave and Swales (2001: 199) call “constraints on allowable contributions”; “these constraints, however, are often exploited by the expert members of the discourse community to achieve private intentions within the framework of socially recognised purposes”. As will emerge in the following analysis of moves and their instantiations, managers are very resourceful when facing questions from the press and using language tactically to pursue their own repertoire of communicative purposes while, allowing the press to pursue theirs, up to a certain point.

5.1 Move repertoire Askenhave and Ellerup Nielsen (2005: 122) confirm that “the major linguistic reflection of communicative purpose is the staging structure by which a text of a particular genre unfolds (referred to as the schematic structure or move structure)”. Although “the move structure of a genre typically consists of several functionally distinct stages or steps”, the authors (2005: 122-123) caution against an excessively rigid adherence to the notion of move structure in arriving at a definition of genre: “Today most researchers agree that instances of genres do not necessarily contain a fixed set of moves. Instead the genre-texts select their structural elements from a common move repertoire”. Therefore, the term “structure” is certainly to be used advisedly in the context of a web-mediated event like the one under analysis here, particularly as editing and montage may manipulate the order of moves, foregrounding certain of them or entirely removing others. Consequently, the following move analysis is concerned not so much with demonstrating that moves occur in a predictable order as that certain identifying moves from a common repertoire are predictable and available for this genre.


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5.1.1 Obligatory and optional moves The first column of Table 4.1 below shows moves regarded as core or obligatory to the repertoire available for this genre. They have been defined so because they occur in ten or more of the texts in the set. They are ranked in terms of frequency, expressed in the percentage of managers who perform them, as indicated in the second column. The third and fifth columns indicate more or less related optional moves, defined as such because, though recurrent, they occur somewhat less frequently. The fourth and sixth columns indicate the percentage of the NCMPCs these optional moves occur in. As will be seen, not all the moves are verbal. Sandrelli (2012: 85) draws attention to the rituality of football press conferences, hence the likelihood of a significant visual component. Goffman (1959: 32) refers to both setting and stage props as intrinsic parts of a “performance”, namely “the activity of an individual which occurs during a period marked by his continuous presence before a set of observers”. If visual elements are present in what Goffman describes as “everyday life”, they are all the more salient in professional encounters. The first move, for example, which is also the most universally shared, is visual and is central to this communicative event. It is, of course, quite possible that there are even greater consistencies in the live original event. For instance, although only two in this set actually show the new manager entering the pressroom and taking his place on the dais, it is a ritualistic aspect that must be common to them all. The same is probably true for the formal introduction of the new manager by a member of the board or high-ranking club official. The fact that in some cases these are evidently edited out acknowledges the likely priorities of the legitimated Web audiences, who are conceivably more interested in what the new manager has to say than in certain formalities of the event.

Statement of objectives: explicit outline of task he is charged with accomplishing, e.g., improving league position or avoiding relegation Reference to credentials: saving previous clubs from relegation or achieving promotion. Praise for the squad Analysis of the club’s current problem

Manager seated on a dais with backdrop of club’s symbols and sponsor logos

Obligatory move

78% 62.5%



% of data set 93.75%

Reference to transfer deals

Rebuttal of criticism of tactics by showing how new appointment vindicates manager’s approach

Formal presentation by chairman officially welcoming new manager Expression of enthusiasm for the challenge Hedging

Entrance into press room

Optional move






% of data set 12.5%

New Club Manager Press Conferences

Refusal to name or discuss players currently under contract to other clubs.

Reference to vision of the club

Montage showing visual identification with club: holding jersey and or wearing scarf Thanks for the honour and opportunity

Optional move



% of data set 31.25%


Tribute to the club’s size, importance, tradition and prestige. Strong identification with club: a special bond or feeling for the club 62.5%



Mention of good relations with new chairman and board Reference to stadium as formidable bastion

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Table 4.1 Repertoire of obligatory and optional moves in the NCMPC





Call for unity of club, players, fans in pursuit of aims Reference to fans’ expectations 43.75%


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The above outline of the principal repertoire of moves available to managers (and to some of the other participants) indicates considerable consistency at the level of the moves in primary and secondary positions. What is more, this repertoire can be seen in terms of move clusters relating to specific communicative purposes. Some of these clusters are principally visual and concern the club, allowing it to welcome the manager and to perform his ritual investiture as the new team coach; others revolve around the manager’s need to communicate strong identification with the new club at all levels: board, squad, fans and the club as the embodiment of an identity and heritage; another constellation serves to foreground the manager’s professional expertise in terms of credentials and qualifications and his readiness for the challenge in terms of enthusiasm, belief and commitment. Further alternative moves allow him to convey his professional ethic and, as in the case of humour, to establish a good working rapport with the press and also with his new employers. Further, the clear intention of some moves is to convince the legitimated Web audiences, particularly the fans, of the manager’s strong identification with the new club; on the other hand, other moves indicate the manager is a seasoned professional whose expertise has been forged at clubs previously the adversaries of his new club. This tension will be analysed and commented on in section 6.

5.2 Overview of rhetorical strategies In line with the traditional approach to genre identification, the next step of this analysis is to explore the “level of form – more specifically the rhetorical strategies (verbal as well as visual) used to realize a particular communicative intention” (Askenhave and Ellerup Nielsen 2005: 123). As Askenhave and Ellerup Nielsen (2005: 123) point out, “the aim of the rhetorical analysis is to look for such regularities or standard practices in the actual formulation of genres”. This entails description of the lexicogrammatical patterns of each of the obligatory moves, with the exception of the first visually realized move, which will be analysed from another perspective in section 6, and which is replaced here by the formal welcome of the manager. The analysis is carried out in two stages. Firstly, the main linguistic structures are defined with reference to transitivity accounts initially proposed by Halliday (1985) and subsequently glossed and extended by scholars like Bloor and Bloor (1995) and Eggins (2004). This functionalist perspective is adopted because of its relevance to the more critical orientation of the analysis of the underlying agenda of this genre undertaken in section 6. Secondly, these structures are seen as fulfilling a variety of rhetorical functions meant to secure the communicative


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intentions outlined above. These are defined via Trosborg’s (2000) reprise of Jakobson’s (1960) theory of language functions and of Austin’s (1962) and Searle’s (1976) classification of speech acts, which between them identify a relevant repertoire of rhetorical functions. The next subsections define the realisational patterns (Eggins 2004: 65) of the obligatory moves and their corresponding rhetorical functions. 5.2.1 The welcome This move is performed by the club chairman or by a board member. It is initially characterised by formal language and speech acts associated with ritual activities: ‘I would like to formally present’, ‘I take great pleasure to formally present’, ‘I take great pleasure to introduce to you’. Additionally, there is extensive use of third-person descriptions of the new manager. These feature relational processes to describe his qualities: ‘he’s a man with two promotions to the Premier League’, ‘he is a forward-thinking coach’, ‘he’s an excellent motivator, technician’; but there are also instances of material processes to refer to his achievements: ‘his track record has showed that he has used his knowledge to great effect’, ‘he will bring to Liverpool a style of attacking, relentless football’, ‘who’s done it year after year in the Premier League’. Besides the obvious communicative purpose of introducing the new man to the press (and other onlooking audiences), it is also clear that the official exploits the move to convey the club’s perspicuity in making the appointment through mental processes expressing certainty and the conviction that the club has appointed the right man: ‘we believe this appointment today will put us on the path for achieving the goals we all want’, ‘we know we’ve got a man with a proven track record’, ‘I think our players will immediately respect and I believe our supporters will also embrace Brendan’s brand of football’. 5.2.2 Objectives This move identifies the objectives the manager has been appointed to reach: staying or going up; fighting for silverware or a place in one of the European competitions. Deontic modality is prominent: ‘must’, ‘got to’, ‘gotta’, ‘have to’, ‘needs to be done’, as is the certainty end of the epistemic spectrum: ‘gotta be something wrong’. Commissives are also prominent: ‘we will work on’, ‘we will work toward’, ‘the process begins today’. Mental processes related to the goal are much in evidence as well: ‘I think’, ‘I hope’, ‘I know’. Gerunds (with a strong material component) are also present: ‘moving forward’, ‘improving’, ‘moving … as a club

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forward’, ‘mounting a challenge’. Material processes are also in evidence: ‘to try and get enough wins’, ‘to find a way of winning’, ‘push on’, ‘improve’, ‘challenge’, ‘target getting into that top’, ‘drive ourselves on through’. 5.2.3 Credentials This is the move in which the manager stresses his credentials and expertise and backs up his claim to being the right man for the job. Reference to highpoints and successes of the manager’s career involve material processes in the past or present perfect tenses: ‘my expertise as a manager I’ve gained particularly in the Premier League over the last ten years’, ‘I took those jobs on when they were in a bit of difficulty’, ‘I did a super job’. Even the formally relational phrases have a material slant, as the verb ‘to have’ can be easily substituted by ‘work’ or ‘manage’: ‘I had four and a half fantastic years at Chelsea football club’, ‘I’ve had something like 200 and odd 217 games at Premier League level’, ‘I’ve got a decent record of going to places and helping places turn round’. During this stage the manager also draws attention to the fact he has worked for the competition; to a certain extent this is counterbalanced by other moves that stress his commitment to and identification with his new club. 5.2.4 Analysis In terms of communicative purpose, this move appears to be closely related to the previous one because it is concerned with conveying the manager’s expertise and understanding of the game. A prominent realization is the mental process: ‘I’ll assess’, ‘I think’, ‘I thought’, ‘I’ll look at (with the accent on the meaning of perceive). The verb ‘think’ can occur with the qualifier ‘just’ which suggests that the expert has easily identified the problem, and also conveys an optimistic view that little is needed to turn things around. An adverbial like ‘obviously’ indicates that, as an expert, he easily sees the problem. There is also a predictable use of deontic modality to discuss either tactical adjustments or squad changes that will have to be made in the light of the analysis: ‘have to’, ‘need’, ‘should’, ‘you’ve got to’. In terms of rhetorical function, the verdictive function is prominent and consolidates the impression of expertise and understanding of the game. The commissive function is predictable (‘we will look at the squad’, ‘we will look and analyse’, ‘we will try to make some adjustments’, ‘they’ll get notice to come back in some sort of shape’, ‘We’re going to assess them’) and presumably it consolidates the


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impression of the manager as a professional who can act resolutely on the basis of his analysis of the situation. 5.2.5 Praise for the squad In this move the manager expresses appreciation for the players he has inherited. Understandably, it is characterised by an extensive presence of existential and relational processes: ‘it’s a cracking squad’, ‘there’s a good bunch of players there’, ‘we’ve got the nucleus of a very good young squad here’, ‘they’re all good players’, ‘they’re a very very decent group’, ‘they’re really really good lads’. This is complemented with a use of mental processes that imply a more objective, albeit positive assessment: ‘I thought they handled themselves exceptionally well yesterday’, ‘I think there’s some still good players at the football club’, ‘I can see now I’ve met them only one day you know, why they did so well last year’. There is possibly a triple purpose to this move: the most obvious is positive face work with the squad, with whom the manager will have to work. This is expressed in the use of the more intimate informal ‘lads’, which expresses both affection but also conveys authority and asymmetry – hence adding to the manager’s professional profile. The squad is also closely bound up with the identity of the club, and hence the manager needs to be positive about this in order to demonstrate his new allegiance. Reference to the academy players appears to fulfil this purpose by referring to some untarnished nucleus of club identity. But there is also the verdictive function through which the manager expresses his professional authority and detachment, indicating that he judges and will make changes as required. 5.2.6 Praise for the club’s prestige Relational processes are prominent in this move, particularly with the club as subject: ‘it’s a huge football club’, ‘it’s a fantastic football club’, ‘it’s a wonderful ground, wonderful stadium’, it’s got a great history’. Mental processes are principally used to convey the manager’s strong emotional response to the club: ‘honoured to be manager of the football club’, ‘I feel very blessed with the opportunity’, ‘I always hoped, you know… I might be a consideration’. There is also a wide use of superlatives and hyperbole to describe the size of the club, e.g., ‘it’s an absolute wonderful honour’. ‘Tradition’ is a word that recurs regularly, while symbols of the club’s heritage are referred to and include great players of the past, famous managerial predecessors, trophies, a distinctive style of play, all of which

New Club Manager Press Conferences


are endowed with a talismanic aura. There is also recognition of the club as a special site: the ‘ground’, the ‘place’, the ‘stadium’, a particularly potent symbol for the fan base, is evoked regularly in this move. The predominance of the expressive function in this move stands in stark contrast to the previous ones, in which stress is laid on the professional acumen and competence, suggesting that the communicative purpose may be to counterbalance the professional, even mercenary impression made in other moves. 5.2.7 Special bond with club This move is clearly related to the previous one, the principal difference residing in the intensity of the relationship with the club expressed here. Two mangers actually refer to a bond going back to childhood: ‘…was my favourite team as a boy’, ‘thinking one day it would be great to play for those clubs’, ‘I thought it was a great club’. The use of the past emphasises the enduring nature of the bond. An additional strategy is to evoke the names of great players, the prosody not that of a manager, but that of a fan enthusing over club greats. Elsewhere managers refer to forging close links with the club as former players or even during previous stints as managers (which presumably ended with either resignation or dismissal!): ‘When I look back on my career I had a special time here’, while others merely confess a strong subjective bond: ‘I love the stadium and I love the fans and I love the noise they make whether they win or lose’. As in the previous move, the predominant rhetorical function is expressive and serves as a counterbalance to those moves which foreground the more professional aspects of the job. Despite the fluidity of the move sequence (determined both by the order of questions and editing priorities), the underlying rhetorical coherence of this mediated event appears to be further confirmed by the fact that these moves (and the other optional ones not analysed here) and their related functions can also be grouped under the broader Aristotelian headings of ethos, pathos, and logos (see Jørgensen and Isaksson: 2010): Ethos: conveying a professional identity, introduction, credentials, code of good behaviour and good relations with previous employers, respect for predecessors and players; Pathos: emotional response to club and opportunity, admiration for players, also humour; Logos: diagnosis, assessment, which conveys an impression of expertise and professional competence.


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What is more, these broad rhetorical functions seem to be implicated in the “cultural work” the genre is used to achieve, which will be analysed in the following section.

6. Interpretation of “the cultural work” done by the genre Having adumbrated “regularities of organisation” (Bhatia 1993: 32), in this section I undertake a more critical interpretation of the rationale for the genre, or to use Eggins’s (2004: 82) words, I endeavour to account for “what cultural work is being done and whose interests are being served”. In other words, I consider why this genre is useful for the culture (or subculture) that uses it (see Eggins 2004: 83), above and beyond the ostensible communicative purpose of presenting a club’s new manager to the press.

6.1 The discourse of impermanence and permanence Key to my analysis in this section are the contrast and tension between what I refer to as the discourse of permanence and impermanence. The analysis in the previous section indicates that some obligatory moves draw attention to the impermanence of the manager, while others convey a sense of permanence in various ways. On the one hand, three moves feature logos-heavy terms with which the manager portrays himself as a detached, even mercenary professional; on the other, in an equal number of moves, he stresses how strongly he identifies with the club in pathos-loaded language that relies heavily on the expressive function. The notion of impermanence can be associated with the top three moves concerned with objectives, credentials and analysis – especially of the transfer market. Objectives by their very nature establish a condition for the manager’s remaining at his post and also imply the consequences of failure - dismissal. Past achievements (and failures) remind us of the harsh economic reality of football management, as do references to players who will soon be departing. The language of permanence is expressed through professions of identification or loyalty, which can either be achieved visually or verbally. The majority of the NCMPCs begin with the new manager already seated on a dais, alone, or beside members of the board – a clear sign of endorsement and inclusion. Additional visual identification is achieved by the use of insignia and symbols: the club jersey, the ground or stadium, the stand, a club scarf draped over the manager’s shoulders; a particularly powerful image of identification that aligns the manager with the fans, the

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participants who identify most fiercely with the club and who are the core of its identity. Verbal identification is achieved over three moves. The most obvious way is by expressing admiration, even awe for the prestige and tradition of the club, in other words, its identity. Alternatively, the manager may claim a special bond with the club. An additional strategy is to declare respect and ‘awe’ for the ground itself. This respect for the totemic place, the ground, guarded by the club’s fan base, is likely to be very useful in winning over the fan element within the legitimated participants. This claim of identification is consolidated by references to how impressed the manager has been with the support at the ground and his delight to be working with the support of such fans. A related move is praise for the players and the squad, particularly young players from the academy, who are, therefore, the club’s ‘own’ players. Another allpervasive form of verbal identification is the wide use, across all of the six main verbal moves, of the inclusive ‘we’ from the very start of the press conference.

7. Concluding remarks In the light of this analysis, it would appear that, despite its innate fluidity as a highly mediated communication, the NCMPC is a distinct subgenre among the various media events that take place before, during and after matches (see Heaney 2011), each of them affording further opportunities for advertising and for increasing sponsorship exposure, but also for allowing football to affirm its importance by talking about itself in various distinct ways. The analysis has shown that the NCMPC is characterised by discernible communicative purposes, achieved through a clear repertoire of obligatory and optional moves featuring recurrent lexico-grammatical realisations that are indicative of underlying rhetorical functions. Additionally, it is quite likely that the genre allows managers to exploit the extended participation framework afforded by the medium. For example, the moves concerning objectives, analysis, and credentials are not only directed at the press, but send a message out that will be interpreted by players, staff, fans and possibly sponsors in their different ways; the moves concerning admiration for the club, a close bond with it, and admiration for the squad, presumably resonate beyond the four walls of the pressroom with addressees in the club’s dressing room, at the training ground and on the terraces. This brings us to the “cultural work” this genre performs. Football clubs need to create and sustain a strong sense of identity; without that


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football would have no intensity, no interest, no relevance to its public or, if we prefer, consumers. New managers, accordingly, need to espouse the club’s identity, its traditions and character. However, it is difficult to forget that divorce is a very real likelihood: it is a proven fact managerial changes are often decisive in achieving a club’s short-term objectives. Club boards and managers themselves know this. Indeed, two of the managers in this sample repeat the same moves in NCMPCs for different and competing clubs! Nevertheless, the illusion of identifying with and belonging to the club needs to be maintained. This possibly explains the tension between what I call the discourse of impermanence and permanence, which is almost symmetrically distributed across the central verbal moves in this genre. As such, this genre appears to encapsulate the tensions underlying the modern game itself, which has to embody and affirm local, even tribal identities, while increasingly serving the business interests of a growing number of foreign owners and consortiums and responding to business practices that ensure that football management remains one of the most precarious of modern day professions. In addressing the issue of the commodification of sports, Real (1998: 14) notes how the committed fan “searches out supplemental sources of information” about his or her preferred sport. As Mahan and McDaniel (2006: 412) note, “one of the unique aspects of online sport […] is that it allows a sporting brand […] to maintain a constant global media presence” and “promotional platform for its corporate sponsors […]”. This process is achieved through a cluster of media genres that have steadily evolved around the game of football. The NCMPC is one such genre, and there is no sign that the process is slowing down. Other discrete genres can be expected, all warranting analysis in order to develop understanding of the part played by communication in furthering the corporate agendas of mediated sports.

References Askehave, Inger and John M. Swales. 2001. “Genre Identification and Communicative Purpose: A Problem and a Possible Solution”. Applied Linguistics. 22/2: 195-212. Askehave, Inger and Anne Ellerup Nielsen. 2005. “Digital Genres: A challenge to traditional genre theory”. Information, Technology and People. 18(2): 120-141. Austin, John, L. 1962. How to do Things with Words. New York: Oxford University Press. Beard, Adrian. 1998. The Language of Sport. London: Routledge.

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Bergh, Gunnar and Sölve Ohlander. 2012. “Free kicks, dribbles and WAGS. Exploring the language of the people’s game”. Moderna Sprak, 106 81 s: 11-46. Bhatia, Aditi. 2006. “Critical discourse analysis of political press conferences”. Discourse & Society 17: 173-202. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2017. Critical Genre Analysis: Investigating interdiscursive performance in professional practice. London, New York: Routledge. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1996. “Methodological Issues in Genre Analysis”. Hermes, Journal of Linguistics,16: 39-59. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1993. Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Bloor, Thomas and Merriel Bloor. 1995. The Functional Analysis of English: A Hallidayan Approach. London: Arnold. Degano, Chiara. 2014. “Presidential Press Conferences: An Analysis of a Dialogic Genre”. In Genres and Genre Theory in Transition. Specialized Discourses Across Media and Modes, edited by Giuliana Garzone and Cornelia Ilie, 106-130. Boca Raton (FL): Brown Walker Press. Eggins, Suzanne. 2004. An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics. New York/ London: Continuum. Garzone, Giuliana. 2007. “Genres, Multimodality and the World Wide Web: Theoretical Issues”. In Multimodality in Corporate Communication, edited by Giuliana Garzone, Gina Poncini and Paola Catenaccio, 1530. Milano: Franco Angeli. Goffman, Erving. 1981. Forms of Talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Goffman, Erving. 1959 [1990]. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. St Ives: Penguin Books. Halliday, Michael A.K. 1985. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold. Heaney, Dermot. 2011. “‘Steve you must feel pig sick!’ Streamed Video Interactions between Premier League Managers and Sports Journalists as Semi-scripted Performances”. Hermes, Journal of Language and Communication in Business, 47: 97-114. Jakobson, Roman. 1960. “Linguistics and Poetics”. In Style in Language, edited by Thomas A. Sebeok, 350-377. Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press. Johnston, Chris. 2016. “British Gas profits jump by 31%”. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35601674), last accessed May 2, 2017.


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Jørgensen, Poul Erik Flyvholm and Maria Isaksson. 2010. “Credibility in corporate discourse”. In Pragmatics across Languages and Cultures, edited by Anna Trosborg, 513-541. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. Lavric, Eva. 2008. “Introduction”. In The Linguistics of Football, edited by Eva Lavric, Gerhard Pisek, Andrew Skinner and Wolfgang Stadler, 5-8. Tübingen: Gunter Narr. Mahan, Joseph and Stephen McDaniel. 2006. “The New Online Arena: Sport, Marketing and Media Converge in Cyberspace”. In Handbook of Sports Media, edited by Arthur Raney and Bryant Jennings, 409431. New Jersey: LEA. Martin, James Robert. 1985. “Process and Text”. In Systemic Perspectives on Discourse Volume 1, edited by James Benson and William S. Greaves, 248-274. Norwood: Ablex Publishing. Parrett, George. 2016. “Deloitte”. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/recordrevenues-sustain-impressive-profits.html. Last accessed May 2, 2017. Partington, Alan. 2003. The Linguistics of Political Argument: The SpinDoctor and the Wolf-Pack at the White House. London, New York: Routledge. Poncini, Gina. 2007. “Corporate Podcasts and blogs: exploring the voices of emerging genres”. In Multimodality in Corporate Communication, edited by Giuliana Garzone, Gina Poncini and Paola Catenaccio, 147166. Milano: Franco Angeli. Real, Michael. 1998. “MediaSport: Technology and the Commodification of Postmodern Sport”. In Mediasport, edited by Lawrence Wenner, 1426. New York: Routledge, RTE. 2017. “RSA's 2016 operating profits beat expectations”. Available at: (https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2017/0223/854818-rsa-results/. Last Accessed May 2, 2017 Sandrelli, Annalisa. 2012. “Interpreting Football Press Conferences: The FOOTIE Corpus”. In Interpreting across Genres: Multiple Research Perspectives, edted by Cynthia Kellett Bidoli, 78-101. Trieste: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste. Searle, John R. 1976. “The classification of illocutionary acts”. Language in Society 5: 1-24. Swales, John M. 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Telegraph.co.uk. 2016. Available at

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/02/telegraph-mediagroup-delivers-operating-profits-of-517m/. Last Accessed May 2, 2017. Trosborg, Anna. 2000. “The inaugural address”. In Analyzing Professional Genres, edited by Anna Trosborg, 121-144. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Wilson, Bill. 2016. “Premier League finances enter new era, says Deloitte”. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36412394. Last accessed May 2, 2017.


1. Introduction: definitions and developments of and in “workshifting” The aim of the present study focuses on the way in which the dynamicity and development of workshifting practices are reflected in online language. Globalization, advances in communication and collaboration technology and consolidated multinational corporate relationships have led to the increased mobility and hybridity of the workplace, its subjects and its online and offline discourses. This new work order has entailed a shift towards high technology manufacture and new forms of organization and institutional interaction. One of the most interesting results of this trend consists of the emergence and development of the organizational practice most commonly known as “workshifting”, “remote working”, or “telecommuting” (Olson 1983). While commuting used to be an occasional part of an individual’s work life, in these contexts traveling – or the lack thereof, as in the case of work from home – becomes its very foundation. The practice and name of workshifting has evolved in time. Accordingly, the following terms and definitions are present in the literature: x Telecommuting: “working away from the office, usually in the home, but sometimes from a satellite center, using information and communication technology to perform tasks and to talk with colleagues and supervisors” (McInerney 1999: 69); or “the

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x x




substitution of communications capabilities for travel to a central work location” (Olson 1983: 182). Remote work(ing)/Telework: “organizational work performed outside of the normal organizational confines of space and time” (Olson 1983: 182) divided into “satellite work centers”, “neighbourhood work centers”, “flexible work arrangements” and “work at home” (Olson 1983). Mobile working: “the worker has no fixed base, but rather works out of a car/their home” (Graham and Mavin 1996 in Hardill and Green 2003: 218). eWorking: “any activity that involves the processing of information and its delivery via a telecommunications link that is carried out away from the main premises of an organization” (Hardill and Green 2003: 217) Distributed work: an umbrella term to indicate “arrangements that allow employees and their tasks to be shared across settings away from a central place of business or physical organization location” (Bélanger and Collins 1998 in Gajedran and Harrison 2007: 1524). Workshifting: still hasn’t officially been defined in the literature if not as “work shift” or along with one of the previous terms.

In the present study, “workshifting” will be used, as it is a general term and the one most used in the blogs. This innovative work philosophy entails new conceptualizations of workspace and performance that are made possible and reinforced by today’s increased mobility and consequent use of technology and transportation (Hardill and Green 2003). As regards the former, “[I]nstead of thinking of ‘work places,” many now consider themselves working in ‘work spaces’, which may very well exist on a computer network, within the confines of a laptop computer, on the Internet, through a combination of cable modems, fax machines and cell phones” (Hakken 1997 in McInerney 1999: 69). This change in terms encompasses an array of places which range from being extremely intimate (in the case of those who work at home) to being extremely unfamiliar (for instance, in coffee houses and rented shared workspaces). Time now includes breaks and very short but intense periods of time and is used as productively as possible; however, it has also extended past the traditional “9 to 5” limit and encompasses night hours, weekends and holidays. There is also a steadily growing and varied community of workers connected with workshifting: employees or freelancers working from their homes, company employees who work while traveling and/or travel as


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part of their job, and “selftreupreneurs”, who base their startup activities on flexible service, tailored products and targeted collaboration. Many of these are what McInerney (1999: 70) termed “knowledge workers”, who integrate updated data and information with their knowledge and experience of emerging business and organization management to solve problems and make decisions. As Hardill and Green point out, “global economies require new kinds of working” that are not linear and manual, but rather “erratic, inconsistent and highly personal” (2003: 215). The spread of workshifting has thus led to reforms in business management, organization and communication both within and outside of the company. Among the emerging forms of new communication, online communities have become sites in which the emergence of new words may be introduced to and employed by a large discourse community. After having inquired into definitions, the study is divided into two parts: the following section deals with neologisms related to workshifting and their word creation and methods and categories. The third section analyses the linguistic and discursive approaches in terms of identification and interaction that these online discourse communities adopt in their attempt to enhance the reputation of their innovative professional status and encourage others to join and contribute.

2. The neologisms of workshifting The diffusion of workshifting has brought about inevitable changes in the forms and functions of communication that reflect workshifting’s fast and intense pace, as well as its blurring and extension of workspace and timelines (Olson 1983; Hardill and Green 2003). The present inquiry focuses on the linguistic and discursive choices that are adopted by these subjects and their online communities of practice in order to present, promote and distinguish themselves as an emerging category of professionals. The introduction of the study highlighted the change in the name of the practice, but other words have emerged as well, leading to the first research question: Research question 1: What kind of neologisms and lexical enrichment has the practice of workshifting brought? When observing the semantic field of workshifting, the amount of new and/or specific words it has created through a variety of word formation methods emerges. Such creation is especially important when recalling the

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role of innovative language in creating and communicating new notions and practices: By examining the changing role of texts we uncover the central tensions of contemporary change: new literacy practices offer exciting possibilities in terms of access to knowledge, creativity and personal power; at the same time the textually mediated social world provides a technology of power and control, and of surveillance. (Barton 2009: 39)

The following categories and examples of word formation may be singled out in the websites under analysis: x Prefixes: telecommuting, telework, eworking x Word class conversion: to work a shift (verbal phrase) – work shift (noun) – to workshift (verb) – workshifting (verb) – workshifting (verbal noun referred to process that is in course) – workshifter (noun referred to person with -er suffix). The extensive use of the verbal noun also indicates the dynamicity of the word. x Compounds: closed/solid (e.g. workspace, workplace, workshift), hyphenated (IT-as-a-service, open-source virtualization) and open/spaced composed of two or even three words that are almost always nouns or nominalization (e.g. cloud computing, mobile application security). These concepts and expressions are new and still in search of officialization through use, hence the significant amount of noun forms even in cases where they already present an -ing form. x Abbreviations: many abbreviated expressions regarding workshifting are still pronounced letter by letter or word by word even if some of them could already be pronounced as an acronym because they are still not widespread enough to be pronounced and understood as a single word. Moreover, many of them are associated to the fields of IT and programming, which are characterized by an extremely precise and specialized technolect (e.g. Daad, MAM, NFV, EMM). x Blending (through clipping): staycation, flexwork. The semantic field of workshifting is still developing and reflects this workplace category’s sense of pride and desire for recognition, hence its dynamicity. The reason this happens online lies in the internet’s ability to allow users to become directly involved (Garzone and Catenaccio 2009: 13). This concurs with the language and use of social media, a particularly efficient and far-reaching form of communication that allows people with


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shared interests in distant places to convey information and share content quickly and in an asynchronous manner (David and Carmen 2013). Citrix.com, the first workshifting community to be considered in the second part of the study, created a “glossary” of words related not only to the company’s activity but also mobile workplace solutions and functioning. These neologisms (81 total) could be divided into separate semantic groups. The words in bold are related to the workshifting practice and professional community:









Processes/ methods



Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) Streaming, Application Compatibility, Application Delivery Controller (ADC), Application Firewall, Application Security, Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD), Business-Ready Desktop, Caching, Cloud Architecture, Cloud Computing, Cloud Network, Cloud Scalability, Cloud Service Broker, Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS), Endpoint Security, Enterprise App Store, Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB), High Availability, Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Load Balancing, Mobile Application Security, Mobile Device Security, Mobile Web Application, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Remote Access, Remote Desktop, Secure Access Gateway, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), SSL VPN, Virtual Appliance, Virtual Desktop, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Virtual Laptop, Virtual Machine (VM), Virtual Network Architecture, Xen Access Control Management, Application Acceleration, Application Management, Application Migration, Application Virtualization, Business Continuity Plan, Client Virtualization, Cloud Management, Cloud Orchestration, Cloud Provisioning, Cloud Service Automation, Consumerization of IT, Datacenter Automation, Desktop Management, Desktop Virtualization, Disaster Recovery, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), Flexwork, IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS), Mobile Application Management (MAM), Mobile Device Management (MDM), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Network Virtualization, Online Collaboration, Open-Source Virtualization, PCI-DSS Compliance, Server Virtualization, Session Virtualization, Software Defined Networking (SDN), Telework, Virtualization, WAN Optimization, Windows XP Migration, Workshifting Branch Office Networking, Enterprise Mobility, Flexible Workplace, Hosted Workspace, Mobile Workspace, Virtual Data Room Hosted Services Provider, Virtual Workforce, White label hosting reseller



Table 5.1 Division of neologisms regarding workshifting from the citrix.com glossary. Source of words: citrix.com glossary; Author’s elaboration and division. The percentages have been rounded to the second decimal place



Semantic field Technology

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Observing these words enables both a confirmation of the word formation methods mentioned before, and a view on the implicit priority of workshifting, i.e. developing processes and technology to sustain and enhance it. These new words consist in abstract conceptual fields that are both a result and a trigger for the workplace’s current virtualization and immaterialization, as may be gleaned by the significant use of ‘visualization’, ‘cloud’ and ‘mobile’. On the contrary, the places and people that are impacted by it or responsible for its implementation are at the base of very few words (6 for places and 3 for people), indicating the need for time and the consolidation of workshifting concepts before more material components like place and professionals can become more prominent in this particular lexis.

3. Case study: analysis of blogs on workshifting and by/for workshifters The focus of this second part of the study is on blogs in online workshifting communities, which are as flexible and dynamic as the practice itself. In particular, its use of social media has proven to be especially adept at underlining the professional and personal features that an individual worker would like to be identified by (Garzone and Catenaccio 2009). The desire to collaborate and interact with peers has therefore prompted websites and blogs to create a lively and productive online discourse community capable of exploring workshifters’ potential while negotiating their position with other subjects such as colleagues, clients, employers and companies, for work-based relational talk (and in this case, texts). This may be connected with sense of group identity and individual identity negotiation (Koester 2010: 101). Myers in fact observed that “If we want to find what is specific to these genres, we are going to have to look not only at the style but also at the technology and what people do with it” (2010: 19). This is in line with the definition of genre as “a class of communicative events, the members of which are recognized by the expert members of the parent discourse communities” (Swales 1990: 58). The linguistic and discourse strategies that are employed by a growing online discourse community depend on its attitude and target audience (Barton and Lee 2013) as emerges from a qualitative discourse analysis and comparison of blogs that deal with businesses (citrix.com), businesses and employees (workshifting.com) and independent professionals (misfits-inc.com). Proof of this may be found in the creation of a specific lexicon and a growing repertoire of shared knowledge (e.g. guidelines, how-to, self-help and do’s-and-don’ts articles,

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recommendations, invitations), aimed at introducing and forming new members and at sharing information and advice among peers. In the midst of this repertoire, blogs (Bruns and Jacobs 2007) stand out as a hybrid (Giltrow and Stein 2009) and idiosyncratic solution within a “self-directed discourse environment” (Puschmann 2010: 35). Moreover, the blog genre is characterized by easily recognizable features such as reverse chronology, frequent updating and the combination of links with personal commentary (Crystal 2002, Miller and Shepherd 2004, Puschmann 2010), as well as “simultaneity of action and reaction, widespread access, an emphasis on feeling over analysis, and a weakening of centralized authority” (Miller and Shepherd 2009: 282). Interestingly, the last feature underlines that blogs are a “democratic” genre (Granieri 2005) and a space for alternative perspectives that enable these particular workers to accept and celebrate the undeniable weight of their new roles and foster a sense of community with mobile workers who work in different sectors and countries. The online community’s self-presentation is especially important in a context where identity is negotiated and constructed in discourse and in time (Garzone and Catenaccio 2009: 10; Barton and Lee 2013). This leads to the following second research question: Research question 2: How do different categories of workshifters identify and refer to themselves and their work within an online discourse community? Workshifters tend to view themselves as focal points of a complex and far reaching network, leading to a subtle shift of power (or least perception thereof) from the supervisor to the independent employee (McInerney 1999: 71) who is linked to the company by flexible, telematic connections. Workshifters present and consider themselves as dynamic, creative, resourceful and efficient employees who are more self-motivated, selfdisciplined and in control of their decisions and actions compared to their office-bound counterparts (Olson 1983, 185). Such a shift has also lead to questions on how businesses could and should regulate fundamental working rights such as insurance, salary, strikes and safety for distant employees. For the moment, they cannot avail themselves of necessary benefit plans or data sharing in relation to the company (McInerney 1999). These alternative, interconnected and flexible online communities of professionals therefore create a new, open form of “intellectual capital” and knowledge communication/management among

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users with similar problems rather than fostering these workers’ attachment to the company and its seemingly more constrained values. The blogs, i.e. citrix.com, workshifting.com and misfits-inc.com, involve and target a different subcategory of workshifters (respectively businesses that deal with mobile work, workshifters in general and creative workshifters/selftrepreneurs involved in social and cultural campaigns). The hybridity of these workshifting sites is reinforced by the fact that the first may be considered a corporate blog, the second a mix between corporate and non-corporate, while the third is clearly a noncorporate blog. It will therefore be possible to observe the “contrast between the necessary goal-orientedness of organizational blogs and the lack of fixed, clearly articulated and external goals in personal blogs” (Puschmann 2010: 37). The study applies the methods and tools of discourse analysis from a qualitative perspective focusing on the most prominent linguistic and discursive communicative choices employed by bloggers and users. In the former case, it is important to consider the most “promotional parts” of the blog posts, i.e. presentations, titles and opening statements, because they inform and aim to attract. As regards the latter, the study considers users’ comments, which are typical of popular and collaborating international communities (Seargeant and Tagg 2014). The dataset consists in the blog posts and related comments (when present) that were written in the three blogs between January 2014 and May 2015 and may be divided as follows: Community Citrix.com Workshifting.com Misfits-inc.com

Number of posts 60 26 36

Table 5.2 Names and numbers of posts Source: Author’s elaboration By analysing linguistic and discursive choices reflecting the identity, knowledge dissemination skills and reputation building of these diverse yet interconnected communities, the study seeks to highlight the communicative dynamicity of this new and trending online discourse community.

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3.1. Citrix.com: workshifting’s technology and technorati Of the three groups citrix.com is the most productive in terms of blogging activity and has the biggest team. Its purpose is to power businesses’ mobility (and workshifting) by providing “mobile workspace solutions” (http://www.citrix.com/about.html) and therefore it employs the most specific language. The website’s layout is also the most complex, with various types of highly specialized blogs divided by topic and user category (e.g. developers, open-source specialists, user groups, blogs, support, startups, solutions and technological professional programs) and its wording and colouring is the most ‘institutional’, compared to the vintage look of workshifting.com and the ‘alternative’ one of misfitsinc.com. The titles of the blog posts come in different forms and recall different forms of texts, starting with very complex technological and academic sounding ones with subdivided titles and specific abbreviations, such as “Navigating the sea of technology options: Top trends from EDUCAUSE 2014”, “Overhauling Your Virtual Desktop Environment By Tapping Into the Possibilities of Software-Defined Software”, and “Webinar: Desktopsas-a-Service Global Market: A Service Provider Perspective”. Many other titles present questions with which they seek to introduce a new or developed form of mobile workspace solution, as in “What’s New With Citrix CloudBridge?”, or to raise doubts on something the reader may take for granted, like in “How Well Do You Know Your End-Users?” Another recognizable sort of title consists in self-help posts, which are usually indicated as lists, as in “6 Tips for Successfully Working From Anywhere”; “7 Reasons Freelancers Love GoToMeeting”; “5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with GoToWebinar”; “Best Practices for Promoting Your Webinar through Social Media”. These posts are almost always introduced by statistics (ex.1) a general statement (ex.2), or exclusive knowledge that is shared within the community (ex.3), thus signalling a deduction from general facts to the current specific situation: (1) “This year, the mobile workforce is predicted to grow to 1.2 billion people, reports VDC Research Group. And that makes sense ….”1 (2) “As the landscape of work continues to change and become even more dispersed, more than ever it is becoming commonplace to freelance and telecommute, but with freelancing comes a whole new set of professional responsibilities…”


In all examples emphasis is added by the author unless otherwise indicated.


Chapter Five (3) “It’s pretty safe to say that we here at Citrix know a thing or two about webinars. We gave facilitated thousands of webinars worldwide and learned how to promote our events effectively – but not before we messed it up a few times…”

Two common manners of opening the posts, consist of the success story, especially of members’ projects, and ‘advice from experts’ regarding workshifting health and lifestyle. In these introductory parts, identity is fundamental, along with the extensive use of verbs related to process, development and transformation, and time and place deixis. Time deixis indicate beginning and development in success stories (ex. 4-5) and moment of reference in advice posts (ex. 6-7), while place deixis contextualize the subject/blogger’s position and promote their studies or activities, as may be observed in examples 4-7: (4) “Family owned since and operated since 1980, T*** Service Center is an automotive shop offering a variety of services from repairs to regular maintenance in Albany, Minnesota…” (5) “Before bringing her extraordinary powers of organization and guidance to R*** clients, W*** began her career in corporate finance at M*** L*** and then transitioned….” (6) “Today we have a guest post by Dr Sandra B*** C*** PH.D. Founder and Chief Director of […]. D** W**, Distinguished University Chair and author of […] is committed to maximizing cognitive potential across the entire lifespan….” (7) “Today we have a guest post from P*** S***, an award-winning author, business coach and speaker. She spent the first 10 years of her business as a consultant to large companies such as […]. She is also the bestselling author of…”

These introductory sections include other styles and devices, like markers of personal enthusiasm, first person pronominal references and informal language, as may be seen in examples 8 and 9: (8) “Another great year at EDUCAUSE! I love having the opportunity to connect with education leaders […] and this year I noticed a change…” (9) “I’m excited to tell you about one of the new programs at Citrix Synergy 2015…”

Another strategy is to directly address the reader with the pronoun “you”, sometimes with conversational particles (like the questions and invitation in ex. 12), which is used in blogs to create virtual interaction and express solidarity with the blogger’s stance (Myers 2010):

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(10) “Regardless of your role in the workspace virtualization efforts of your organization, you can most likely appreciate the challenges of the following scenario….” (11) “Citrix partners, re-engage with your XenApp customers with the beta release of the XenApp migration web service….” (12) “Are you planning on taking a vacation? How much time do you have off during the summer? Do you work on your vacations? Tell us in our summer vacation survey. Your responses will help us craft an infographic….”

There are, however, some interesting contradictions: although the citrix.com community’s focus is on mobility and virtualization, and therefore “placelessness” (Myers 2010: 9, 48), this blog contains the most deixis. For each event, project or guest post in fact there are clear references to time (today, yesterday, now) and place (cities, here). Moreover, the posts’ time stamps indicate the amount of time that has passed since posting (e.g. published 1 hour ago, 2 days ago, 6 months ago) – thus stressing the degree of “newness” of the post rather than the precise time and date of posting – which is significant in a context where innovation is rapid and constant. As concerns newcomers’ participation, there is a difference between sections (usually in posts on technology) where questions and comments are encouraged like in the following example: (13) “Can CloudBridge accelerate and optimize the newer HDX graphic protocols present in XD/XA 7.x? H.264-enchanced SuperCodec? DCR? H.264-based Compatibility Mode? Legacy Graphics Mode? “For ICA (Thinwire, JPEG-based codec), the graphic protocol’s built-in compression is automatically disabled to allow CloudBridge to handle that operation for optimizing and shared caching purposes. I’m curious how the product works with the latest HDX graphic stack.”

and ones, like the more general posts, where users are not allowed to comment, probably to avoid ‘useless’ or ‘distracting’ comments. In other cases, the users’ questions are pooled and answered in specific entries, like in examples 14-16: (14) “Thanks to all who attended our GoToMeeting: Audio &Webcam Best Practices webinar on February 4, 2014. […] Here are the main takeaways from the webinar...” (15) “Today we’re answering a few more questions from...” (16) “We are going to answer some of the most important popular questions we received during the webinar here today…”


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Comments are therefore good but only in very specific and/or circumscribed contexts, reflecting citrix.com’s internal divergence between being a business and being an open online community as well as its desire to control and filter input to provide the most productive and innovative feedback.

3.2 Workshifting.com: safeguarding the workshifter Workshifting.com is powered by citrix.com but is also the result of collaboration between the citrix.com and misfit-inc.com groups. Because the two communities and their audiences are at the two extremities of the workshifting world (corporate versus independent), the workshifting.com community is managed by and addressed to a middle ground audience. The “about” section provides its own definition of workshifting and identification of the professional category on a page simply entitled “What is workshifting”: (17) “If you work out of coffee shops, hotels, airports and your home every bit as much as the office, workshifting.com is for you. We share resources on remote working, telecommuting, travel, technology, business and virtual offices to help you shift when, where and how you work! “We coined the term “workshifting” in March 2009 as an updated definition for “telecommuting” and “remote working” that refers to the ability of being part of a distributed workforce, working from outside of the office and shifting one’s work habits to achieve a better work-life balance.”

The bloggers thus claim to have updated two commonly known terms, i.e. “telecommuting” and “remote working” in accordance with the practice’s development. This definition considers the user an individual professional who must come to terms with this emerging – and at times difficult – position and its working conditions. This subject is associated with the bloggers by means of the inclusive use of ‘we’ and ‘you’ pronouns. This desire to share is also expressed through a series of friendly questions at the bottom of the page: “Have something to say? Want to work for Workshifting? We want to hear from you. Drop us a line on our contact page [hyperlinked]”. There are also numerous references to previous studies to support the bloggers’ argument, thus creating the effect of “evidentiality” (Myers 2010: 11), or to known and shared situations and knowledge to gain the reader’s approval and trust before proposing anything new: (18) “According to survey after survey…”

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(19) “We’re experiencing a sea-change in the way we work….” (20) “In research conducted for Cubefree....”

The workshifting.com community gives the most information about its members with a picture and brief description of the blogger at the end of every post. The introductions are varied, recalling the concept of online “identities”. These profiles often contain links to twitter profiles or company websites, and therefore to even more “identities”. These members may be divided into the following categories (with some overlapping) which all allude to dynamicity and flexibility: x Pioneer: bloggers who have been workshifting for a very long time (ex. “She’s been a full time worker since 2007…”; “Workshifting became a regular part of D***’s 10 year history in technology marketing long before he knew there was a term for it…”; “He is one of the first licensed commercial real estate agents to speak on the subject of on-demand workspace”.) x Convert: bloggers who used to work in traditional professional settings and now enjoy mobility (ex. “After seven years as a digital project manager/digital ninja, she made the switch to content strategy at C*** and hasn’t looked back…”; “Prior to joining [link to company], C spent 12 years in the hospitality industry and nearly seven years in serviced office space…”) x Individual: indication of hobbies, personality traits, extra activity that would not have been accepted in a corporate website: (ex. “Loves sunshine, dorky randomness and folks who tell good stories…”; “Also an avid world traveler and backpacker, […] she spends her time doing community theatre”; “…spends most of her time working from coffee shops and random cafes in NYC with good food, great wifi and plenty of outlets”) x Professional: indication of roles and workplaces (ex. “Spends most of his time workshifting from a multitude of various locations. J is able to successfully run multiple companies from these locations…”; “is a marketer, an entrepreneur and graduate of S*** G***’s unique MBA program…”; “Her experience and expertise comes from working with dozens of brands and startups over the last 5 years…”) The various names with which they refer to their work (telecommuting, remote working, workshifting) demonstrate that the terms referring to workshifting are still largely interchangeable and the lines between their


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different use of space and time are blurred. The bloggers often have more than one job but focus on situations in which work and personal life blend the most. Many of the posts are formulated as guides and self-help lists divided into clear sections with large titles and or sections that are numbered and easy to read. The titles are often phrased as a list or reference to solutions to emphasize their efficiency, or as rhetorical questions about something people take for granted in order to pique their interest (e.g. “Does Coffee Really Lead to More Productive Work?”) like in example 21: (21) “What is it, then, that is now being seen as an effective tool to motivate today’s employees? What does this mean for you and your workplace? And how are employers now recruiting the talent they need and posting the results they desire?”

Questions are commonly used in blogs to engage audiences, for “however uninterested one might be, it is hard not to project oneself in the role of responding” (Myers 2010: 82). In explanations on devices and procedures, large photographs show the process step-by-step; other multimodal input may include videos or infographics. The language is clear, with many sequential discourse markers to separate the sections below the pictures and simplify fellow workshifters’ lives. The blog entries extensively use the inclusive ‘we/us’ pronominal perspective to welcome the reader among members that have experienced or are experiencing a certain situation, as in example 22: (22) “[…] more of us are working from home. Whether part time or full time, most of us need a functional space at home where we can get some work done. Of course, we don’t all have the space to dedicate completely to a home office, which means that we often end up with a mish-mash of office and home furniture and piles of paper cluttering up our lives.”

Like in the citrix.com blog, the “you” pronominal reference used in examples 23 and 24 directly addresses the reader to convey empathy or encourage: (23) “As a modern worker, you are more often than not working from somewhere other than your desk. Whether you work from home or travel a lot for your job […] chances are….”. (24) “When you walk into work on a Monday morning and see a screen full of emails waiting and a couple dozen items on your to-do list, you’re probably not going to sit down and work through each of these tasks at

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maximum efficiency. Instead, you’re going to sigh, silently curse the world for creating Mondays, then move to the break room and grab a cup of coffee. You’re going to count on that jolt of caffeine to give you the push needed to work through your list quickly.”

Experience is also underlined when this ‘you’ is alternated with the blogger’s ‘I’, describing his/her situation to prove that he/she has ‘been there’: (25) When you are workshifting, you may not always be close to home. In fact, a lot of workshifters spend tons of time on the road. I’ve done my share of travel over the years, and when I’m on the move, I need to make sure my productivity levels are as high as if I were sitting at home in my office.”

or in detailed narrations like examples 26 and 27, written entirely in the first person, where the blogger’s experience justifies his/her statements: (26) “I’ve been in software development for 17 years. And for 7 of those years, I’ve been a mother. Finding my place in a predominantly male field while balancing the demands of parenthood has not been easy.” (27) “I’ve been a part-time workshifter for six years. […] many of my colleagues work from home full time.”

Stance markers are extensively used in their epistemic (when referring to a proposition or new theory) and affective (especially when narrating experience) forms, along with cognitive verbs, stance adverbs or expressions like ‘of course’. These, as Barton and Lee (2013: 87) point out, express the blogger’s opinion but also constitute an interactive and intersubjective act aiming at further involving the user. It is possible to find such markers in the comments, which are most numerous in workshifting.com because they encourage users to reflect on their experience, share knowledge and convey solidarity and enthusiasm regarding topics they relate to: (28) “Thanks for sharing C***...and for the honesty! Being a girl in tech I completely related to that initial intimidation factor. This is truly inspirational in demonstrating how as women we can have balance in our career + family!” (29) “I love hearing stories from the trenches and more examples of how technology can enable us to reach that elusive work/life balance. I can relate to your experience 100%!”


Chapter Five (30) “Great post. I too struggled finding my place and voice in the male dominated tech industry (especially in the beginning of my career). I am entirely optimistic about the future of workplace equality.”

On the contrary, instances of politeness and hedging are found before and after any critique or disagreement. This, as demonstrated in examples 3133, usually consists of a compliment, followed by the correction, or the contrary. In both cases, the hedging expression is accompanied by a discourse marker of opposition: (31) “Not sure how I got here - (surfing nouns) but this is a good Site! However - a small point about coffee […] (Extracted from Kilneth's “The Just 10% LESS Project”)” (32) “A bit pricy. But I really dig the design!” (33) “All of these are great tips -- and need to be utilized... I do have one question, though...”

The dynamicity of the community may therefore be found in the portrayed identity of its members and the engaging manner which it includes users who are willing to share and interact.

3.3 Misfits-inc.com: the rebellious side (and language) of workshifting The final and most informal online community to be considered is misfitsinc.com, presented as a “boutique digital agency, which specializes in designing handcrafted web and mobile experiences and campaigns that actually matter.” (http://misfit-inc.com/#intro). In terms of identity, the emphasized words and expressions indicate uniqueness and quality rather than a numerous group. The “Misfits”, though linked to the citrix.com and workhifting.com communities, present themselves as a separate category, who are mobile ‘workshifters’ and ‘nomadic’. This blog takes on a diaristic form and tone, with more personal success stories, individual names and places and UGC pictures than anywhere else. The misfits’ sense of pride and exclusivity, as well as members’ experience, knowledge and use of the internet is expressed in their selfpresentation entitled “workshifting like a boss”, using a combination of the name of the practice and an informal netspeak expression. The entry is interspersed with self-made pictures of laptops in different places around the world and accompanied by the following explanation:

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(34) “At Misfit Inc, we are proud to call ourselves Workshifters. The Misfits have workshifted from all over the world, from England to the Philippines: [two pictures here], from Canada to Thailand, [two pictures here] and many places in between. We have worked from airport lounges, trains, parks, coffee shops, RV’s and even elephants. Sometimes we even Workshift whilst drinking a bloody mary [one picture here]. The point is that wherever and whenever we need to work we can. But what is workshifting exactly? Workshifting is a movement - a mindset - as well as a way of working. It is the practice of working remotely, of fitting your work around your life rather than the other way around (i.e not making a trek of up to 2 hours to clock in at an office for a specific time, only to clock out 8 hours later to trek back home again.) If you live around the corner from your office, think that you are more productive in an office environment and feel like you have a pretty great your work-life balance then workshifting may not be for you. However, if you think the opposite of these things then it might be worth having a little chat with your boss.”

Workshifting here is not only a way of working but a “mindset” that values individuality, flexibility and self-expression as compared to working in an office or at home. In fact, both “Workshifter” and “Misfits” are written with capital letters as if they were a title and the places that are mentioned (“airport lounges, trains, parks, coffee shops, RV’s and even elephants”) range from the most common to the strangest. There are very few bloggers, but as opposed to the other online communities, there is little information on them except in occasional entries such as “Misfit: Behind the Curtain”, a “public act” (Barton and Lee 2013: 87) that starts with the statement that “Misfit is generally shrouded in mystery. We walk a very balanced line between transparency and intense secrecy”. In the same post, there is more self-identification (“we’ve got an eclectic team”), revelation of official “Misfit titles” (such as “Princess of Organizing Chaos”, “Chief Troubadour”, “Wordsmith-inResidence”) which are creative nicknames (Barton 2009: 69) and references to the benefits of workshifting (“he does his best when he’s on the move”). Interestingly, there is also mention of one of the member’s ongoing endeavour to “write from a Misfit-voiced third person”, a linguistic shift that attempts to turn the “Misfit” into an abstract personification of their ideals. Although the register of the blog is very colloquial and informal, the bloggers insist that their goals are very serious in their signature: “Misfit is a nomadic creative agency hell bent on doing work that truly matters and making a dent in the universe” and in a post description “a philanthropic


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creative agency, media company and publishing house that specializes in changing the world” (“Announcing a Very Special Partnership”). Worshifters have little free time and any travelling and fun must lead to relevant and visible results, as emerges in the success story genre that dominates this blog’s worldwide experiences and projects. Such an attitude, or “philosophy” as mentioned in example 35, is confirmed in the following statements: (35) “By its very nature, being a misfit means different things to all the fabulously unique misfits across the globe, every person who identifies with nonconformity does so for different reasons. […] “I’m a misfit at heart. The whole philosophy of Misfit resonates with me. I am part of that family,” he shared with me from Oregon Story Board” (36) “This recent display of urban expression is a part of our misfitty agenda to infuse delight and wonder where people have been conditioned to expect advertisements and marketing.”

All posts on ongoing projects employ a combination of the ‘if clause’ and friendly imperative forms, recommendations and requests to invite the audience to participate: (37) “If you’re an Oregonian (or even if you’re not), please go and check out the site and – if it jives with what you’re working on – maybe even become a member.” (38) “If you have an artistic rendering of how Fargo truly is a town for Misfits, then consider submitting your ideas here.” (39) “If you missed the live broadcast from Malawi, we encourage you to watch...” (40) “P.S If any of you are curious as to where the roots of Misfits’ deep love for Shakespeare lie, this post by AJ should clear things up for you. If you want to wish the Bard a happy 450th this week, head over to happybirthdayshakespeare.com and get involved.”

It is important to point out however that only workshifters possessing specific qualities or interest can participate in the exclusive Misfits activities. Despite their sociable tone, the specificity of their roles and work in alternative fields makes their seemingly inclusive ‘we’ and invitations more ‘selective’ and ‘closed’ than the more officialised online communities, as may be inferred from the following two disclaimers: (41) “We deliberately have very few partners. This is because when we work with an organisation, we go very deep, and we throw the full power of Misfit behind it. When we meet someone who is trying to change the

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world, who has an arsenal of talented people standing with them and we feel that synergy with the project, we jump in with both feet.” (42) “We are not hired guns and only work with a small number of partners that align directly with our ethos as an organization. The industries that we focus in are travel and tourism, sustainability, innovation technology and the third sector.”

Such exclusiveness is reflected in the significantly low number of comments on the blog. When present, they are very short and supportive of the Misfits’ work. In fact, these users often mirror the informal language used in the blog posts including internet symbols, thus indicating empathy and complete adherence to the movement: (43) “YES! thank you