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Unformatted text preview: Do Corporate Reputations Partly Reflect External Perceptions of Organizational Culture? Sylvia J. Flatt University of San Francisco Stanley J. Kowalczyk San Francisco State University ABSTRACT Corporate reputations develop from the assess- ments of a company’s multiple constituents. Observers rely on their perceptions of a com- pany and its performance, and this includes per- ceptions of the company’s culture. Using two established instruments to measure perceptions of culture and to measure corporate reputation, we invited 486 respondents to assign cultural attributes to the Fortune categories. Our results show a statistically significant correspondence between five of the culture factors and five of Fortune reputational attributes. This suggests one way that observers may factor perceptions of a company’s culture into their assessments of a company’s reputation. INTRODUCTION A company’s name signals distinguishing characteristics (positive and negative) to its constituent groups. These signals shape observers’ impressions about the firm, which over time and across constituents aggregate into an organization’s reputation. For instance, the name Southwest Airlines has become synonymous with a fun envir- onment (for employees and passengers), no frills, and also safety and reliability. Strong perceptions of these characteristics have produced Southwest’s excellent reputation, as evidenced by their continual appearance among the top ten Fortune’s annual survey of the Most Admired Companies in America . Although a company’s relative success or economic performance contributes to its reputation, its reputation is more than its record of earnings and growth rates over time. There are other factors contributing to a company’s success and its reputation. After completing their annual survey in 1995, Fortune noted that what separates the most admired companies from the rest is a company’s ability to maintain and renew its organizational culture over time (Jacob, 1995; Collins and Porras, 1997). This paper argues that among the various signals received by a company’s constituent groups, the external perception of a com- pany’s corporate culture may be one of the signals observers rely on when they con- struct a company’s reputation. The central question we ask in this study is the following: Does reputation reflect exter- nal perceptions of a firm’s culture? Although research on corporate reputa- tion is still in its infancy, findings to date confirm that there is more to an organiza- tion’s reputational status than its economic standing (see Fombrun, 1996; Fombrun and Shanley, 1990; Brown and Perry, 1994). As competition between firms increases, developing ways to gain a com- petitive advantage may be increasingly dependent upon developing intangible assets, and a company’s reputation is chief among them. Our study demonstrates a Corporate Reputation Review Volume 3 Number 4 Page 351 Corporate Reputation Review, Vol.3, No. 4, 2000, pp. 351–358 # Henry Stewart Publications, 1363–3589 close correspondence between a measure of...
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This note was uploaded on 09/05/2011 for the course ECO 103 taught by Professor Mary during the Spring '11 term at FH Joanneum.
- Spring '11