The communication potential of corporate annual reports of companies : towards a Dooyeweerdian approach
Cronjé, Christo Johannes
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During the 20th century, numerous philosophers of science pointed out several problems afflicting scientific communication. Communication in accounting is also problematic. In both cases (science and accounting) there seems to be a tension between objectivism and subjectivism. The former emphasizes the objects of knowledge while the latter prefers to rely on the human subject. In science one of these approaches seems to prevail in different periods. In accounting there seems to be an oscillation or ambiguity between the two tendencies (subjectivism and objectivism) which remain side by side. A polarity seems to emerge as statutory disclosures are influenced by objectivism, while contextual disclosures are inclined towards subjectivism. With reference to the philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd subjectivism and objectivism are interpreted as emphasizing certain modal aspects to the detriment of others. Although this problem can be regarded as the cause of many difficulties in annual reports, this article focuses on communication problems. It is suggested that a better approach can be adopted by paying attention to all the modal aspects, in particular to those which tend to be neglected under a certain approach (objectivism or subjectivism). The final sections of this article provide a few concrete examples of how to improve communication in corporate reports by taking into account the neglected modal aspects.
- Humanities