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ERIC Number: ED370138
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar-19
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Rhetoric Hewn by Audience and History: The Evolution of the Annual Report as a Business Document.
Myers, Marshall
Various genres of writing, such as corporate annual reports, do not evolve fully adapted to the purpose for which they were created. A historical review of use to professionals and students shows that annual reports have gradually developed from modest beginnings to become elaborate, slick, and purposeful documents, bending in time to economic conditions, adapting to a changing and complex audience and responding to new rules and government regulations. The first annual report issued in the United States was in 1837 by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Ownership of corporations moved more into the public's hands in the late 19th century, and out of the hands of one person or a handful of owners. Annual reports into the 1920s were more an attempt to withhold information rather than to inform stockholders. A trend began toward companies revealing more and more information, after passage of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Paul Runyan's annual reports for Litton Industries, particularly one in 1962, transformed the annual report into a "sales machine with vision and creative energy." The Securities and Exchange Commission in 1978 responded to increasing public pressure and asked for more information in annual reports. Since 1980, the federal government has moved toward even more standardization of reports. The 1990s began with a few companies shying away from long annual reports and publishing summary reports that met minimum requirements. (Contains 10 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A