An exploration on measuring and assessing ‘Tone at the Top’ with Dutch listed companies (AEX)

Bastiaan Versteeg*, Robert Bertrand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article explores the measurement and assessment of Tone at the Top (TATT) in CEO letters of Dutch listed companies (AEX) over a 10 year period. A combination of quantitative (text analysis) and qualitative research (close reading) is conducted. The main findings indicate that measured TATT is relatively stable for AEX companies over time. However, at closer examination significant deviations from the mean TATT are evident. Possible explanations are provided for these out-of-range TATT scores through the identification of several variables, e.g., difficult operating circumstances, investments and disinvestments, changes in the composition of supervisory boards, corporate governance, and compliance with law and regulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-305
Number of pages9
JournalMaandblad voor Accountancy en Bedrijfseconomie
Issue number9/10
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2019


  • Tone at the top
  • CEO letters

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