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Reputation Management: Theory versus Practice

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A firm's reputation is an intangible asset (Dowling, 1993). The nature of such a reputation depends upon everything the firm does as an entity, (Weigelt and Camerer, 1988) and particularly the signals and communications it chooses to give to the marketplace (Fombrun and Shanley, 1990). The symbol of that reputation, the corporate name, when well managed, represents the organization favorably to its publics and can be particularly valuable in doing so to its customers (Margulies, 1977; Berry et al, 1988; Balmer, 1995; Brown and Dacin, 1997). Reputation is then a complex phenomenon but one which is worth managing well. What differentiates between the good and the not-so-good management of reputation has been the subject of many practitioner texts (see for example Bernstein, 1984; Smythe et al, 1992; Sauerhaft and Atkins, 1989), but far less material has emerged from academic research outside of the possible links between an organization's culture and its image, either to the market (Hatch and Schultz, 1997) or with its employees (Dutton et al, 1994). While something is known about the activities organizations undertake in their management of reputation (Post and Griffin, 1997) less is known about the issues which are addressed by reputation managers, or even their views on those issues that appear, from the available literature, to be important in their role.Corporate Reputation Review (1998) 2, 16–27; doi:10.1057/palgrave.crr.1540064

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1Manchester Business School, Manchester

Publication date: January 1, 1998


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