Corporate reputation: Ontology and measurement
The focus of this research is on the development of ontology and on a more effective way to measure corporate reputation that takes into consideration the orientations of a company’s various stakeholders. The focus by researchers and by practitioners on corporate reputation and on its management attests to an expanding interest. Yet there remains disparate knowledge about how corporate reputation should be defined; about what are its key components; about the relationships between those components and about how corporate reputation should be measured. This point to a need for clarification: to develop a methodology based on ontology of corporate reputation that has relevance for a company’s various stakeholder groups. This research builds on a review of the academic literature and employs text analysis, the nominal group technique and a quantitative survey among stakeholders about the reputation of a high profile company. Theory-driven analysis provides insights into the corporate reputation construct and into a tool for measurement that takes into consideration stakeholder perceptions of a company’s reputation. The results of the study indicate that, in the eyes of its stakeholders, a company’s reputation is driven by nine factors: image, identity, management leadership, performance, corporate brand, products and services, financial performance, ethical management and leadership, and corporate leadership. Not all nine components share the same degree of relevance for stakeholders: different stakeholder groups rank the importance of the components of corporate reputation differently; they evaluate the reputation of the same company differently. The drivers of stakeholders’ overall evaluations of a company’s reputation vary by stakeholder segment. Stakeholder groups are seen to display the characteristics of segments.