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Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation

Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation

2011 award winners

Picture: Yuri Mishina presents 'The path dependence of organizational reputation: How social judgment influences assessments of capability and character” at the Reputation Symposium 2012

The Centre for Corporate Reputation Best Published Paper Award winners 2011 were announced at the third Reputation Symposium in Oxford.

This year’s award is made to Assistant Professor Yuri Mishina, Assistant Professor Emily S. Block and Assistant Professor Michael J. Mannor for their Strategic Management Journal paper entitled The path dependence of organizational reputation: How social judgment influences assessments of capability and character (link provided to the Wiley website where a subscription may be required). The paper’s main contribution to reputation literature lies in exploring the socio-cognitive processes that shape the formation of favourable and unfavourable organisational reputations.

Yuri Mishina, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour/Strategy, at the Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London, special guest and presenter at the symposium, explained the research: 'In this paper, we derived a set of propositions from two key insights from the social judgment literature—that assessments of capability and character are fundamentally different and that prior assessments influence how subsequent information is perceived and interpreted. These propositions explain how firm actions and outcomes might translate into reputations and provide guidance as to how firms could manage their reputations.

'More specifically, it suggests that, when trying to build favourable capability reputations, firms should try to demonstrate the highest performance of which they are capable, even if somewhat on an infrequent basis (i.e., focus on the magnitude, as opposed to the frequency of strong performance). Conversely, when trying to generate a favourable character reputation, firms should try to generate a steady stream of evidence that the firm’s value system is aligned with those of its constituents, even if each individual piece of evidence is somewhat weak (i.e., focus on the frequency, as opposed to the magnitude, of the favourable indications of value systems).

'When trying to protect the firm’s reputation from attack, the choices are to highlight favourable prior evidence or to try to minimize the new negative information. Our research suggests that firms should try to highlight favourable prior evidence when facing attacks regarding its performance but try to undermine the credibility of any negative information when facing character attacks.'

A prize for Best Dissertation of £1000 was jointly awarded to M. Abrahim Soleimani, Eastern Washington University, for the dissertation 'Essays on corporate reputation: Antecedents and consequences', and to Dominik Breitinger, HEC Lausanne, for the dissertation 'Global challenges for global companies: A trilogy of essays on anti-firm activism, reputational damage and political responsibility'.

The former dissertation, structured in three empirical essays, explores how firm-, industry-, and country-level factors influence general public assessments of firm reputations in the first two essays, and how these reputation assessments impact firm strategic actions and organizational outcomes in the third essay.

The latter, identifies the cross-country factors that make NGOs target global companies, the way in which damage accrues to global companies’ corporate reputation based on NGOs and media actors identification of novel breaches of norms, and the way in which global corporations work with Civil Society to alleviate a lack of state regulatory action in countries with weak state governance.