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Neutral Reputation and Public Sector Organizations

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Despite the strides taken in reputation research during recent decades, the reputation of public sector organizations has remained rather neglected. Public sector organizations often measure intangibles with instruments designed for corporations, although their raison d’être differs fundamentally from that of the latter. This paper attempts to fill the gap in reputation research on public sector organizations by developing the proposition that for public sector organizations a neutral rather than excellent reputation is ideal, as neutrality enables a critical operating distance, and the resources for maintaining an excellent reputation are scarce. To test the idea of neutral reputation in practice, a study measuring the reputation of 12 Finnish public sector organizations among their stakeholders was conducted. The results of the study found that the Finnish public sector organizations generally had a neutral reputation, though more research across countries and cultures is needed. The implications of the findings for theory and practice are also discussed.Corporate Reputation Review (2007) 10, 124–143. doi:10.1057/palgrave.crr.1550043

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1Department of Communication, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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