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Logos (La Serena)

versión impresa ISSN 0716-7520versión On-line ISSN 0719-3262


SALAS, Millaray. Burden of Proof Management in Public Statements Issued by Chilean Companies Involved in Scandals. Logos [online]. 2016, vol.26, n.2, pp.260-277. ISSN 0716-7520.

When facing a scandal, most companies establish communication in an attempt to reduce the effects of negative publicity on its corporate image. In the context of business image repair, a corporate genre that is produced by companies is the public statement. This is a short written text that has the purpose of communicating the firm’s version of the ongoing crisis directly to the general public by publishing it on the company’s website or by paying an insert in a newspaper (print and/or online versions). The present study, a multiple case study, aims at determining whether the rhetoric employed by Chilean corporations, that is, the way in which they argue over and defend themselves against wrongdoing accusations, is valid and ethical from the point of view of business ethics. To that end, this paper critically analyzes the burden of proof management by drawing on Pragma-Dialectical Discussion Rules (van Eemeren, Grootendorst & Snoeck Henkemans, 2002) and some principles proposed in business ethics literature (Hamburger, 2004, 2006; Cortina, 2008, 2009; Shaw, 2011). The results show that most of the companies evade the burden of proof, which suggests that Chilean companies do not feel the need to be held accountable for their actions. The ethical analysis reveals a lack of respect for the stakeholders, particularly, consumers, corporate workers, and the competition. One of the conclusions is that Chilean corporations evidence a rather limited vision of business ethics that does not consider transparency and accountability.

Palabras clave : image repair; public statements; Chile; burden of proof; pragma-dialectics; Critical Discourse Analysis.

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