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Self victimization: analysis of Petrobras justifications for the wrongdoings identified by the Car Wash Operation


This work aims to understand how Petrobras explains to its investors and to the society the actions related to the overpayment scheme and subsequent money transferring to political parties that were discovered by the Car Wash operation conducted by the Federal Police and the Federal Prosecution Service. Previous studies suggest that companies use narratives and rhetorical devices when trying to influence their stakeholders' responsibility judgments. The theoretical framework selected in this study is the moral disengagement theory, as proposed by Bandura (1986, 1991), which allows the exploration of several mechanisms by which individuals try to mitigate the moral consequences of actions that themselves consider immoral. In this sense, the project has potential to generate innovative knowledge about: (1) what moral disengagement mechanisms are present in Petrobras communications; and (2) how the moral disengagement mechanisms are used in Petrobras communications. The methodological approach is comprised by rhetorical analysis, which is the analysis of forms of discourse used with the aim of persuasion (Leach, 2000). By mapping the manifestation of moral disengagement mechanisms in Petrobras' annual reports that were published subsequent to the disclosing of events by the Car Wash operation, it will be possible to understand how Petrobras presents itself to its investors and to the society, in terms of its responsibility regarding those events. Thus, the project proposed here has potential to develop knowledge about the moral disengagement processes that occur in the organizational level. (AU)

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