Trusting transparency in cross-cultural pharmaceutical discourse

31 May 2024
Room C1

Trusting transparency in cross-cultural pharmaceutical discourse

When it comes to people’s health, the notion of transparency (Hood, 2006) and its cross-cultural communicative implications may be crucial in the construction of discourse for companies conducting trade in a global healthcare environment. In fact, the public availability of pharmaceutical information with the possible various connotations of transparency may also be the result of variable degrees of cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity in communication (Varner, 2020) and may affect corporate visibility, trust and legitimacy (Koivisto, 2016), during the development of trade policies across different countries and cultures.

Based on a corpus of pharmaceutical annual reports published by NASDAQ companies from 2019 to 2023, this presentation will examine the role played by transparency in these documents describing business performance and providing scientific information about new treatments. The companies under analysis are based in different geographical regions and represent distinct cultures that globally operate in the pharmaceutical industry. The quantitative analysis (Kilgarriff et al, 2014) considers the lexical salience of words that are meaningful in terms of context-related forms disclosing or hindering transparency (Ball, 2009), and eliciting corporate ideology and ethical behaviour. This will shed light on how cross-cultural pharmaceutical information can be ideologically and ethically oriented when it simultaneously focuses on business results and addresses healthcare issues in different countries. This will also show how this kind of information can be trustworthily shaped for audiences with dissimilar cultures, social behaviours and values. The qualitative analysis, instead, aims at comparing the constructing elements of transparency, such as ideological discursive devices (van Dijk, 2000), and protecting strategies. This, in turn, will elucidate how legitimacy is created and variously developed by companies, with a view to building or maintaining trust in the release of cross-cultural pharmaceutical information.



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Kilgarriff, A., Baisa, V., Bušta, J., Jakubíček, M., Kovář, V., Michelfeit, J., Rychlý, P., Suchomel, V. (2014). The Sketch Engine: ten years on. Lexicography, 1: 7-36.

Koivisto, I. (2016). The anatomy of transparency: The concept and its multifarious implications. EUI Working Paper MWP 2016/09, Max Weber Programme, 1-23.

van Dijk, T. (2000). Ideology and discourse. A multidisciplinary introduction. Sage.

Varner, I. (2020). The Theoretical Foundation for Intercultural Business Communication: A Conceptual Model. The Journal of Business Communication 37 (1), 39-57.