Manchester Business School professor Gary Davies and three of his colleagues have made a valuable contribution to the academic study of corporate reputation in a new book that makes a strong case for using reputation management as a way of directing the long-term strategy of an organization.
The authors offer several tenets of reputation management: that reputations have value; that they can be managed and measured; that multiple stakeholders need to be considered; that reputation and financial performance are linked and that reputation drives financial performance; that reputation can be lost more easily than it can be created.
They also cover some familiar ground—media relations, crisis management, the importance of corporate identity—while building a case for a stronger link between reputation and business strategy.
Practitioners will probably be most interested by the introduction of what Davies calls the “corporate reputation chain,” an evaluative system that links employee and customer satisfaction measures to reputation, and of the “corporate personality scale,” which measures how employees and customers think about the organization.
There are lots of case histories (most of them from U.K. companies) and if the end product is a little too theoretical for most of those who work in the field, it makes an impressive addition to recent thinking on the subject.