Elements of Longer Messages: Report Analysis

Walmart Company is ranked first in Fortune 500 companies, with a revenue of $482, 130 million. It is a company in the retailing sector, in general merchandisers industry. The company CEO is C. Douglas McMillon. The headquarters of the company are in Bentonville, AR. Walmart has made a lot of progress in the 21st century, and is now the second largest retailer online after Amazon in the U.S. (Fortune, 2016). The report under analysis in this paper is Walmart’s 2016 annual report (Walmart, 2016).

Report Type Identification and Its Variance from Other Primary Reports Types

There are three primary types of reports: Conference papers, journal papers and seminar papers. Walmart’s 2016 annual report is a conference report type (Walmart, 2016). In contrast to journal articles, conference reports are reviewed in a certain fixed window period. Every author submit their work in a given deadline, after which, a review committee discusses it and notifies the authors with either a reject or accept notification. The review times for conference papers are predictable. A seminar paper is a report that is usually presented in academic settings, to groups of interested peers. It contains original research which specify a particular thesis. Although seminar papers have particular guidelines and purpose, all are written in a specific format.

Journal papers are types of reports that are published in a certain issue of a particular journal. The frequency of publishing issues varies from one journal to the next. Most of them vary from one month to once every year. Some journal issues are produced after every three, four or even six months. Other journals are not produced regularly. The review process for journals is also not done at fixed schedules. Most journals promise a review after every six weeks. In contrast to conference reports whose decisions are either reject or accept, journal reports have a review schedule, where reviewers can request authors to revise. This means that there might be several phases of review, after which the journal is rejected or accepted.

Walmart’s 2016 annual report differs in a large way, from journal reports and seminar papers. It is a conference paper type of report because it was prepared with the objective of being accepted in a conference. A conference paper is typically a biannual or annual paper. In this case, Walmart’s 2016 report is an annual paper. Walmart Company produce this report once every year in a conference venue. The report is written in a specific scope, where results of the company are presented to the audience. The report explains how retail is changing and how the company has worked hard to incorporate those changes. For instance, the report points out that, within the past year, Walmart customers saved time and money while shopping because the company was able to create mobile apps and introduce innovative services such as online grocery (Walmart, 2016).

A Description of How the Three-Step Writing Process Is Evident

            The three-step writing process used in this report consisted of planning, writing and completion of the message (Demirel, 2011). Planning step refers to the clarification of the objective, adapting the message and analysis of the audience. It is clear from the report, that the audience are the customers, company associates and shareholders. The first page of the report holds the report title and the caption “Only Walmart”. The caption makes the customers eager to know the products and services that are only in Walmart. In the next eight pages, the report displays images that clearly show the customers, associates and shareholders what the company has achieved in the previous one year. The report introduces its purpose, enlightening the audience on the company’s progress (Walmart, 2016, p.8).

            The second step, writing refers to the organization of ideas and composition of the initial draft. In this step, the authors showed their sensitivity while writing of the report. When addressing the company associates and shareholders, the language used is polite. For instance the report (Walmart, 2016, p.9) points out, “We want customers to trust us to save them money”. The first section of the report have been written in the simplest manner that customers would understand with the help of illustrative pictures. The most crucial points and figures are written in bold, large fonts and in different colors so that the audience can capture the information instantly. The arrangement of the paper helps create a good relation with the audience. Financial reports and the less attractive details are towards the end of the report (Walmart. 2016, p. 44).

            The third step, completion of the message refers to a review of the content, structure, readability and the overall style. In this step, the report shows that the message was completed well through revision, proofreading, and with a professional appearance. The layout of the report and the mechanics indicate that the report was thoroughly checked to make its completion appealing. The last most important thing in this step is how the message is distributed. This report was written and stored in the company’s website so that the audience can easily access it.


Demirel, E. (2011). Take it Step by Step: Following a Process Approach to Academic Writing to Overcome Student Anxiety. Journal of Academic Writing, 1(1), 222-227. http://dx.doi.org/10.18552/joaw.v1i1.28

Fortune, (2016). Fortune 500. Fortune. Retrieved 20 November 2016, from http://beta.fortune.com/fortune500/list

Walmart, (2016). Walmart Investor Relations – Investors – Financial Information – Annual Reports & Proxies. Stock.walmart.com. Retrieved 20 November 2016, from http://stock.walmart.com/investors/financial-information/annual-reports-and-proxies/default.aspx

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