Assessing social responsibility: A quantitative analysis of Appraisal in BP’s and IKEA’s social reports

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


A growing public awareness of the potential negative impacts of corporate activities on the natural environment and society compels large companies to invest increasing resources in the communication of their responsible conduct. This paper employs Appraisal theory in a comparative analysis of BP’s and IKEA’s 2009 social reports, each company’s record of their non- financial performance. The main objective is to explore how, through Appraisal resources, BP and IKEA construct their corporate identity and relationship with their stakeholders. The analysis reveals two markedly different approaches to the construction of a responsible corporate identity. While BP deploys interpersonal resources to portray itself as a trustworthy and authoritative expert, IKEA discloses itself as a sensitive and caring corporation, engaged in a continual effort to improve. These differences are interpreted in light of the legitimisation challenges the two companies face.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-81
JournalDiscourse and Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • discourse analysis, Appraisal, evaluation, stance, corpus-based approaches to evaluation, corporate social reports, corporate identity, legitimacy theory, Corporate Social Responsibility