Professor Doris Merkl-Davies

Division: Financial Studies

Location: Room 1.08, Hen Goleg

Telephone: 01248 38 2120


Google Scholar Author Profile

Professor of Accounting

MA, PGCE (Vienna University), MBA, PhD (Bangor University)

Personal profile

My work focuses on impression management in corporate communication. Impression management entails the construction of a public impression by organisations with the intention to appeal to their audiences, including shareholders, stakeholders, the general public, and the media. The majority of research focuses on attempts to influence perceptions by means of financial statements (earnings management). However, the language in corporate narrative documents (e.g., chairmen’s statements, press releases, corporate social responsibility reports) constitutes a more subtle and powerful way of persuading audiences to accept a specific version of reality. My work is interdisciplinary and encompasses the development of conceptual and theoretical frameworks of impression management and the development and application of text analysis methodologies (primarily based on rhetoric, discourse analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis) for the analysis of corporate narratives. For this purpose, I draw on my background in accounting (MBA in Banking and Finance, PhD in Accounting) and literature and linguistics (MA in German and English). There is a growing interest in corporate narrative reporting, evidenced by the publication of the Routledge Companion to Accounting Communication and the Special Issue of Accounting Forum on Analysing the Quality, Meaning and Accountability of Organizational Reporting and Communication, to which I have both contributed.

I am an associate editor of Accounting and Business Research (ABR, 3*) and the British Accounting Review (BAR, 3*). I am also an an editorial board member of the Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal (AAAJ, 3*). My work is published in highly regarded journals. I won the Mary Parker Follett Award for the best paper published in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal for 2011. Reflecting the interdisciplinary orientation of the journal, the award is named in memory of Mary Parker Follett, a pioneer in the field of management and accountability literature, who was international and interdisciplinary in her focus. Another of my papers published in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal was selected by the journal’s editorial team as a Highly Commended paper in 2015. In 2017, I was the joint winner of the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal award for outstanding reviewer in the 2016 year of the journal.

Roles within Bangor Business School


Undergraduate teaching

  • ASB 3211 Advanced Accounting Theory and Practice

Postgraduate teaching

  • ASB 4418 Accounting Theory
  • ASB 4903 FRSS A2: Impression Management, Earnings, management, and Earnings Quality
  • ASB 4932 Doctoral Training Program: Foundation in Social Research


Annika Beelitz: Organisational Legitimacy of the Nuclear Industry following the Fukushima Disaster (2010-2016)

Danial Hemmings: Corporate Equity Issues: The Symbolic Management of Investor Sentiment Prior to Seasoned Equity Offerings (2012-2016)

Sara Closs-Davies: A conceptual framework of tax credits (2012-present)

Emma Hughes: Frames of reference in contemporary labour disputes: The case of London Underground (2014-present)


Post-2014 publications

With Danial Hemmings and Niamh Brennan: “Explaining Communication Choices during Equity Offerings: Market Timing or Impression Management?” In: Laskin, A.V. (ed.), Handbook of Financial Communication and Investor Relations. (2017) Wiley. ISBN: 978-1-119-24078-5.

“Impression Management Theory”, In: Carroll, C. (ed.), The SAGE Encyclopaedia of Corporate Reputation (2016), pp. 347-348. [journal link]

With Niamh Brennan: "A Theoretical Framework of External Accounting Communication: Research Perspectives, Traditions, and Theories", Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. 30 No. 2 (2017), pp. 433-469. [journal link]

With Niamh Brennan: “Rhetoric and Argument in Corporate Social and Environmental Reporting: The Dirty Laundry Case”, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. 27 No. 4 (2014), pp. 602-633. Mary Parker Follett Award: Highly Commended [journal link]

Pre-2014 publications

Dialogism in Corporate Social Responsibility Communications: Conceptualising Verbal Interactions between Organisations and their Audiences”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 115 No. 4 (2013), pp. 665-679. (co-authors: Niamh Brennan and Annika Beelitz). [journal link]

“Accounting Narratives and Impression management”, In: Jackson, L., Davison, J., and Craig, R. (eds.), Routledge Companion to Communication in Accounting. Routledge (2013), pp.109-132. (peer-reviewed). (co-author: Niamh Brennan). [journal link]

“‘Metaphoring’ people out of this world: A Critical Discourse Analysis chairman’s statement of a UK defence firm”, Accounting Forum, Vol. 36 No. 3 (2012), pp. 178-193. (co-author: Veronika Koller). [journal link]

Using discourse to restore organisational legitimacy: ‘CEO-speak’ after an incident in a German nuclear power plant”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 108 No. 1 (2012), pp. 101-120. (co-author: Annika Beelitz). [journal link]

“A Conceptual Framework of Impression Management: New insights from psychology, sociology, and critical perspectives”, Accounting and Business Research, Vol. 41 No. 5 (2011), pp. 415-437. (co-author: Niamh Brennan). [journal link]

Impression management and retrospective sense-making in corporate narratives: A social psychology perspective”, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol 24 No. 3 (2011), pp. 315-344. Mary Parker Follett Award: Outstanding Paper. (co-authors: Niamh Brennan and Stuart McLeay). [journal link]

“Discretionary Disclosure Strategies in Corporate Narratives: Incremental Information or Impression Management?”, Journal of Accounting Literature, Vol. 26 (2007), pp. 116-196. (co-author: Niamh Brennan). ISSN 07737-4607. [journal link]

“Regulation and enforcement of financial reporting in Austria”, Journal of Management and Governance, Vol. 8 No. 2 (2004), pp. 199-225.  [journal link]

“Drafting accounting law: An analysis of institutionalised interest representations, standard setting processes and international accounting standards”, In: Leuz, C., Pfaff, D., and Hopwood, A. (eds.), The Economics and Politics of Accounting: International Perspectives on Trends, Policy, and Practice, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 2004. ISBN 0-19-926062-1. (co-author Stuart McLeay). [journal link]

Work in progress

With Emma Hughes and Tony Dobbins: “Discursive (de)legitimation of structural reorganisation during workplace conflicts: The case of London Underground”. Working Paper.

With Sherie Harding and Annika Beelitz: “Substantive management or greenwash? Environmental reporting following a public controversy with a stakeholder”, Working Paper.

With Petros Vourvachis and Niamh Brennan: “Text Analysis Methodologies in Corporate Narrative Reporting Research”, Working Paper.

With Niamh Brennan: “An analytical framework of corporate narrative reporting research”, Working Paper.

With Annika Beelitz and Niamh Brennan: “A conceptual framework of corporate social responsibility in a corporate reporting context”, Working Paper.

With Niamh Brennan and Stuart McLeay: “Coh-Metrix: A new methodology for analysing readability in corporate narratives”, Working paper.

With Lynn Hodgkinson and Jo Wells: “Executive Share Option Backdating in the UK: Empirical Evidence”, Working paper.

“Constructing an autoethnography: Hegemonic stories and subversive tales”, Working Paper.

With Mike Jones: “Anti-abolition discourse in Richard Pennant’s parliamentary speeches on the abolition of the slave trade: A Critical Discourse Analysis Approach”, Working Paper.

Awards, grants & achievements

ESRC Grant for “Opportunistic managerial behaviour in relation to share option compensation in the UK”, (2008-2010), £99,985, (with Lynn Hodgkinson and Jo Wells). [access here]

Welsh Medium Postgraduate Scholarship in Accounting, (2011-2016), £85,280, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

Winner of AAAJ 2011 Mary Parker Follett Best Paper Award for “Impression management and retrospective sense-making in corporate narratives: A social psychology perspective”, Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Vol. 24 No. 3 (2011). (co-authors: Niamh Brennan and Stuart McLeay).

Esteem indicators

Editorial board membership & reviewing

  • Joint winner of the Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal award for outstanding reviewer in the 2016 year of the journal
  • Associate editor of British Accounting Review (2014-present)
  • Associate editor of Accounting and Business Research (2014-present)
  • Editorial board member of Accounting and Business Research (2013-2014)
  • Editorial board member of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (2013-present)
  • Ad hoc reviewer for Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, Accounting and Business Research, European Accounting Review, Managerial Auditing Journal, British Accounting Review, Journal of Management and Governance, and Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, and the Australian Accounting Review.

Visiting appointments

  • Visiting scholar at the University of Sydney Business School (1-30 March 2012)

Invited research seminar and conference presentations

  • Research seminar at Essex Business School, UK (3 May 2017)
  • Research seminar at Loughborough University (17 March 2017)
  • Research seminar at the University of Newcastle, UK (03 March 2016)
  • Research seminar at the University of Toulouse, France (01 April 2015)
  • Pre-conference PhD workshop and keynote address at ‘Communication in Capital Markets’ conference, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany (24-25 October 2013)
  • Invited conference presentation at ‘Mediating Markets: International conference on media and the financial markets’ at The University of Edinburgh Business School (22 March 2013)
  • Research seminar at Bristol University (4th Feb. 2013)
  • Research seminar at Southampton Management School, Southampton University (14 Nov. 2012)
  • Research seminar at Adam Smith School of Business, the University of Glasgow (19 Sept. 2012)
  • Research seminar at the School of Accounting & Finance, University of Wollongong (30 March 2012)
  • Research seminar and master class at Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability, School of Commerce, University of South Australia (21-23 March 2012)
  • Research seminar at Queen’s University Management School, Belfast University (10 Feb. 2012)
  • Research seminar at Quinn School of Business, University College Dublin (8 Oct. 2010 and 9 Feb. 2012)
  • Research seminar at Exeter Business School (1 April 2011)

External examiner

University of Sheffield 2016-present

University of Limerick 2012-2016