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Accountability and Rhetoric during a Crisis
Walt Disney's 1940 Letter to Stockholders
Joel H. Amernic and Russell J. Craig
[Article: pp.49-77; Walt Disney Productions Annual Report 1940: pp.78-86] Abstract: In 1940. Walt Disney was faced with crafting a message of corporate accountability under duress. His company, the product of his creative genius, had been forced to submit to public accountability. He had a pressing need to raise preferred equity finance for a major expansion during a period of market uncertainty, war, and reported losses. This paper conducts a “close reading” of the “Letter to Stockholders” in Walt Disney Productions‘ 1940 annual report, the first such letter signed by Walt Disney. The letter's rhetorical features, including metaphor and ideology, are examined in the context of the times. What is revealed is an accountability document skillfully crafted with the exigencies faced by Disney's company firmly in mind. The letter offers suggestive insight to the world as Disney made sense of it. The paper contributes to understanding the use of rhetoric by top management in activities related to aspects of financial accountability and reporting. It also helps to understand better a significant public persona of the 20th century. Walt Disney. […]



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The Accounting Historians Journal
Source type Magazine
Volume 27.2
Language en
Document type Feature
Media type text
Page count 38
Pages pp. 49-86


Id 2691
Availability Free
Inserted 2016-08-09