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Ivey Business School, Western University, Canada

Speaking anthropocene: Linguistic settlements in post financial crisis corporate reporting


My first dissertation essay contributes to the meso-level intersection of language and attention in the aftermath of crises by asking how language orients meso attention in the wake of crises. Using latent dirichlet allocation (LDA) topic modeling for 1,531 sustainability reports issued by public firms in the U.S. and Canada from 2009 to 2017, this study reveals how subtle linguistic choices update the attention structures of firms from different sectors over time. Changes in the annual correlations among twelve machine-induced topics confirm that, following the financial crisis, firms began diverging from previous, and persistent, sector-level linguistic settlements and started to realign their financial and social responsibilities by progressively updating the spatiotemporal resolution of their sustainability reports.


Nahyun Kim is a PhD candidate in Sustainability at the Ivey Business School, Western University. She researches corporate communications on social and environmental issues, with special emphasis on vocabularies and grammatical structures in public firms’ corporate sustainability reporting. Her dissertation uses topic modelling to inductively explain how language orients firms’ attention in the aftermath of financial crisis. Nahyun holds a MS in International Business and Strategy and a BBA and BA in Chinese literature and linguistics, both from Korea University.

Nahyun Kim

Nahyun Kim