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Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation

Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation

2016 award winners

The Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation has made its annual awards for Best Published Paper and Best Dissertation.

The award for Best Dissertation went to Georg Wernicke, Assistant Professor in Management at Copenhagen Business School

'Media disapproval of CEO compensation: Determinants and consequences' is structured as three empirical essays on the antecedents and effects of media disapproval of CEO compensation in US public firms. It builds on the premise that top executives serve multiple constituencies and are evaluated along different dimensions. Executives have had to recognise some norm of fairness if they want to secure continued stakeholder engagement, especially given the strong growth of executive compensation in the US over recent decades. Firms face pressure from the media, which does not hesitate to publicly disapprove of firms that are perceived to violate societal norms, but the media’s role in corporate governance has been overlooked.

Research on corporate governance has predominantly focused on internal governance mechanisms - for example, executive compensation and boards of directors.This thesis answers the calls for further research on external governance mechanisms by studying the drivers of media disapproval of perceived CEO overcompensation, theorising about and providing empirical evidence for novel mechanisms through which the media directly impacts future CEO compensation, and investigating how such media disapproval diminishes the career prospects of outside members on the board of directors at targeted firms.

The award for Best Published Paper went to 'Brand buzz in the echoverse' (Journal of Marketing 80, May 2016: 1-24) by Kelly Hewett, Associate Professor of Marketing at Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee; William Rand, Assistant Professor at Poole College of Management, North Carolina State University; Roland Rust, Distinguished University Professor and David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland; and Harald van Heerde, Research Professor/MSA Charitable Trust Chair in Marketing at the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, University of New Zealand.

Their paper examines the modern brand communication environment, in which social media has joined traditional vehicles such as press releases, advertising, and news stories to form an 'echoverse'. The authors write: 'Social media sites have created a reverberating "echoverse" for brand communication, forming complex feedback loops ("echoes") between the "universe" of corporate communications, news media, and user-generated social media.' By assembling one of the most comprehensive data sets in the brand communications literature with corporate communications, news stories, social media and business outcomes, the authors document the echoverse (ie the feedback loops between all of these sources).