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Corporate Reputation

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Corporate Reputation Review

Volume 12 Number 4

A Systematic Review of the Corporate Reputation Literature: Definition, Measurement, and Theory
Kent Walker Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

ABSTRACT

A systematic review of the corporate reputation literature is conducted. The final sample of 54 articles (and one book) consists of well-cited papers, and papers in journals that have published high quality work in corporate reputation. The sample is then analyzed and the three fundamental problems in the reputation literature are addressed – the need for a comprehensive and well-accepted definition, the difficulty in operationalizing corporate reputation, and the ongoing need for more developed theory. Two main findings evolve from this analysis: (1) reputation may have different dimensions and is issue specific, and (2) different stakeholder groups may have different perceptions of corporate reputations. The implications for future research are discussed. Corporate Reputation Review (2010) 12, 357–387. doi:10.1057/crr.2009.26
KEYWORDS: corporate reputation; definition;

operationalization; organizational identity; organizational image; systematic review
INTRODUCTION

There are many reasons why organizations and researchers should care about corporate reputation. The relationship between reputation and a sustained competitive advantage is widely acknowledged in the literature (eg, Fombrun and Shanley, 1990; Fombrun, 1996; Hall, 1993; Roberts and Dowling, 2002). Researchers have repeatedly found

a link between reputation and organizational performance (Brown and Perry, 1994; Deephouse, 2000; Fombrun and Shanley, 1990). In fact, ‘reputation is arguably the single most valued organizational asset’ (Gibson et al., 2006: 15). In his study, Hall (1993) found that CEO’s consistently ranked corporate reputation as the...

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