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Reputation and ethical behaviour in a crisis: predicting survival.

Watson, T., 2007. Reputation and ethical behaviour in a crisis: predicting survival. Journal of Communication Management, 11 (4), 371-384.

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DOI: 10.1108/13632540710843959


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the interrelation of reputation with corporate performance in a crisis and consider the factors that make up the balance between strong recovery, bare survival and failure. The emphasis is on corporate communication and corporate governance. Design/methodology/approach – The current debate on reputation and the validity of the term reputation management is reviewed and cases studies from Australia and the UK are examined. Findings – The paper finds that, in the case studies, poor management, unethical practices, a lack of engagement with customers and other stakeholders, indifferent or aggressive performances by CEOs and lack of preparedness for crisis communication severely or terminally affected the organisations. It identifies a new reputational factor of predictability and considers why some organisations survive a crisis that has strong negative ethical dimensions while others fail. Originality/value – This paper scrutinises existing concepts of reputation and reputation management and finds that they are not able to predict recovery, survival or failure of organisations. A new definition of reputation is put forward and the factor of predictability is emphasised in proposals for new applied theory.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Reputation, crisis communication, ethics
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:11222
Deposited By: Prof Tom Watson LEFT
Deposited On:10 Sep 2009 10:22
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:25

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