Formulations in Delicate Actions: A Study of Analyst Questions in Earnings Conference Calls

Maria do Carmo Leite de Oliveira, Silvia Maura Rodrigues Pereira
  • International Journal of Business Communication, June 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/2329488417712012

What is it about?

This case study examines how sell-side analysts ask questions in earnings conference calls and how they manage information needs without compromising the relationship with the company. Findings showed that analysts make more than one formulation for the same question, that these formulations gain strength when a speaker goes back to a question, and that variations in the degree of generality/specificity of each version of a question play a major role in managing the analyst’s interactive goal.

Why is it important?

It is important because earnings conference calls are viewed as a mechanism to reduce information assymetry, but analysts might have to be careful with the way they ask questions. In doing so, they themselves may be agents of providing the escape route given to the company executive not to answer their question well enough. It reveals the complexity of communication in investor relations

Perspectives

Silvia Pereira

This article innovates. It uses qualitative research to demonstrate subtle aspects of communication between company executives and the investment community. It deals with subjective aspects around the notions of information assymetry and transparency. Most research in this field is quantitative and does not reveal the "hows". Also it looks at analyst rather than management talk. It reveals the interdependance between companies' investor relations activity and the sell-side profession/investment community.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2329488417712012

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