Textual analysis of Apple's entrepreneurial orientation
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Business Administration
Building on the study of sentiment and text within accounting and finance, this thesis uses the word list approach to observe the signaling of an organization’s entrepreneurial orientation in its official annual reports (10-K filings). An entrepreneurial orientation as described by Gregory G. Dess and George Lumpkin (1996) is a compilation of the organization’s strategic view of value creation amongst all organizational components such as leadership and culture. While significant research has been completed to observe the sentiments of negative and positive words within business communication, there has yet to be a similar examination of the underlying factors of the organization, such as an entrepreneurial orientation (EO), that would influence an organization’s financial performance. With the modification of a pre-developed software to include the entrepreneurial orientation word list developed by Short, Broberg, Cogliser & Brigham (2010), this study was applied to a single longitudinal case of Apple Inc. Upon analysis of Apple’s annual reports from 2001 to 2018, words that indicate the existence of an entrepreneurial orientation were discovered. Only 3 of 5 dimensions of EO were represented within Apple’s annual reports: innovativeness, risk-taking, and competitive aggressiveness. There was also considerable variation in the number of words found over time. This thesis provides three plausible explanations for the fluctuations over time: (1) some changes in performance may be properly explained by the company’s EO, (2) some increases in EO language may be a rhetorical technique to reinforce investor confidence, and (3) some shifts in EO language may be driven by changes in authorship, such as the shift from Steve Job’s to Tim Cook’s leadership at Apple. This thesis also recommends future research directions for this new type of analysis.
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