A Multimodal Perspective to the Functions of Moral Discourse in Corporate Storytelling

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Title: A Multimodal Perspective to the Functions of Moral Discourse in Corporate Storytelling
Alternative title: Yritystarinoiden moraalinen diskurssi multimodaalisesta näkökulmasta
Author: Pensola, Annika
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2022
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202206152601
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Englannin kielen ja kirjallisuuden maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in English Studies
Magisterprogrammet i engelska språket och litteraturen
Specialisation: ei opintosuuntaa
no specialization
ingen studieinriktning
Abstract: This qualitative study examines multimodal storytelling in online corporate stories. Corporate stories are realized in a particular genre, the About page, and moral discourse is conveyed through references to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To examine how CSR has been incorporated into corporate storytelling and how it functions within the About page, the study begins with an examination of the About page as a genre. The research data consists of stories from five Finnish companies working in the textile and apparel industry: Aarre, Vimma, Kaiko, Uhana, and Pure Waste. The companies were chosen as they share similarities regarding multiple aspects (e.g., company size, product range, and target audience). The stories were firstly analyzed for their schematic components and expressive resources (Bateman 2008, 2014), and then further subjected to critical multimodal discourse analysis (Machin and Mayr 2012) to critically examine the expressive forms used in the components. Although the layout structure varied among the stories of the data, the presence of several schematic components was constant in all stories. Based on the current analysis, the components which were present in most of the stories constitute the core components of the genre of About page: mission, essence, founder(s), foundation, products, production, and social responsibility. The analysis revealed that not only is CSR present on the pages as its own schematic component, but direct and indirect references to CSR themes were used as justification and motivation within other schematic components as well, thus framing CSR as an essential component of the corporate identity. These corporate stories cater to the consumer narrative in which social responsibility plays a central role by establishing an environment in which one can keep on purchasing new clothes while adhering to those values. The products are laden with socially responsible attributes, framing social responsibility as a fashion statement.
Subject: critical multimodal discourse analysis
corporate storytelling
corporate social responsibility

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