Center for Advanced Management




Prof. Gerry McNamara (Michigan State University)


  • Datum: 06.07.2015
    Zeit: 17:00 - 19:00
    Ort: Kaulbachstr. 45, Raum E004
    Titel: "It’s Not Only What You Say, But How You Say It: The Effect of Cooperative Communication Patterns on Investors’ Response to Corporate Communications" 
An important role for top managers is to effectively communicate with stakeholders (e.g., Elsbach, 1994). In doing so, managers provide information regarding the performance of the firm, its strategic direction, and its strategic prospects. While some information is shared in informal communications with stakeholders, this information is often shared in corporate “communicative events” where firms make both voluntary and non-voluntary disclosures (Ocasio, Loewenstein, and Nigam, 2015). In these settings, stakeholders actively assess available information about the firm and its leadership to reduce information asymmetry problems. With the need to understand whether and, if so, how external stakeholders react to information contained in managers’ communication, scholars have examined how the explicit informational content of the communication influences stakeholders’ assessments of the firm. (e.g., Porac, Wade, and Pollock, 1999; Westphal and Zajac, 1998, 2001). While this research provides valuable insights regarding how the content of top managers’ communication may influence external audiences’ assessments, it misses a very important element: The differences in communication structure that could potentially affect audiences’ judgments and evaluations. This is an important limitation since the primary purposes of communication are achieved through not only what content is delivered but also how the content is structured (Loewenstein, Ocasio, and Jones, 2012). To systematically examine the structure of top managers’ communication, we draw on linguist and philosopher Paul Grice’s (1975) cooperative conversation principles. Our findings show that the degree to which top managers evidence these cooperative principles in their communications influences stakeholder reactions to the firm.