Studying content and form of corporate presentations contributes to our understanding of organizations and their self-representations in institutional settings. The paper reports a study of how large organizations are portrayed and presented in their public statements, based on the analysis of press releases from thirteen largest corporations listed on Swedish stock exchange during 2002.
An analysis of five central narrative elements (Theme, Scene, Actor, Narrator and Narrative time) shows that the studied organizations tend to focus on four central themes in their press releases. Sales stories focus on new and successful businesses and orders, while Product stories emphasize development and presentation/introduction of new products. These two types of stories relate to corporate strength and growth. The two other salient themes identified in the material were Financial stories, i.e. statements on financial results, investment activities, etc., and Organizational stories, concerning structural and managerial changes. These stories create a sense of traditional self-representations of organizations, promoting t an image of an independent, unique and wealthy organization. At the same time, the results indicate similarities between press releases from companies acting in comparable environments (industry, technology, etc.), supporting the idea of viewing institutions as affecting content and form of corporate expressiveness.