Impression Management in Letters to Shareholders: Evidence from Poland
Hadro, D., Klimczak, K. M., & Pauka, M. (2017). Impression Management in Letters to Shareholders: Evidence from Poland. Accounting in Europe, 1-26 [Online]
47 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2015 Last revised: 15 Nov 2017
Date Written: January 15, 2017
We study impression management in an emerging market setting with high ownership concentration. Using content analysis, we identify impression management techniques in a sample of letters to shareholders written in the Polish language by the 60 largest companies listed at the Warsaw Stock Exchange in 2008 and 2013. We find patterns in the occurrence of these techniques with the use of k-means clustering: the largest cluster includes letters that praise the management, while the rest include defensive arguments, discussions of negative outcomes and short, formal letters. The more concentrated ownership is, the shorter the letters are, which indicates that management invest less effort in communicating with investors. This is particularly visible in companies held by insiders, which tend to produce short, formal letters, devoid of impression management. In contrast, companies controlled by foreign shareholders prepare letters that are longer and which are more likely to present defensive arguments, while institutional non-controlling shareholders favour extensive disclosure. The results shed light upon communication practices in Central and Eastern Europe, and offer implications for regulators and managers that may help strengthen the information environment in regional stock markets.
Keywords: impression management, attribution, ownership, governance, content analysis
JEL Classification: G30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation