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Information design and manipulation : the case of financial graphs in corporate annual reports

Beattie, Vivien and Jones, Mike (1994) Information design and manipulation : the case of financial graphs in corporate annual reports. Information Design Journal, 7 (3). pp. 211-226. ISSN 0142-5471

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Abstract

We discuss the results of an investigation into the graphic reporting practices used by 240 leading UK companies in their 1989 corporate annual reports. Our main findings are that 79 per cent of companies used graphs and that 64 per cent of all graphs were bar/ column graphs. Many of these were poorly designed and constructed. There was evidence of biasing in graphic choices, with the use of graphic presentation being contingent upon 'good' rather than 'bad' financial performance. Companies were three times more likely to include graphs in their annual report which exaggerated, rather than understated, favourable time series trends in key performance variables. There was also evidence of the use of certain design and construction techniques intended to create a favourable visual impression. There is a need for more studies of graphic practices in other domains, and for guidelines to raise the standards and fidelity of financial graphs.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Information Design Journal
Subjects:
Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Accounting & Finance
ID Code: 66469
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 17 Sep 2013 09:12
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 18:12
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/66469

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