Reputation is known to be a ubiquitous, spontaneous and highly efficient mechanism of social control in natural societies. It is a subject of study in social, management and technological sciences. Its influence ranges from competitive settings, like markets, to cooperative ones, like firms, organisations, institutions and communities. Furthermore, reputation acts on different levels of agency, individual and supra-individual. At the supra-individual level, it concerns groups, communities, collectives and abstract social entities (such as firms, corporations, organizations, countries, cultures and even civilizations). It affects phenomena of different scale, from everyday life to relationships between nations. Reputation is a fundamental instrument of social order, based upon distributed, spontaneous social control.
An interdisciplinary integrated approach to reputation, accounting for both evolutionary grounds and cognitimechanisms and processes, is still missing. Only such an integrated approach can point to guidelines for managing reputation and for designing technologies of reputation.
Working toward such a definition, reputation as a [socially transmitted (meta-) belief (i.e., belief about belief) concerns properties of agents, namely their attitudes toward some socially desirable behaviour, be it cooperation, reciprocity, or norm-compliance. Reputation plays a crucial role in the evolution of these behaviours: reputation transmission allows socially desirable behaviour to Rather than concentrating on the property only, the cognitive model of reputation accounts also for the transmissibility and therefore for the propagation of reputation.
A recommendation can be extremely precise (think for example of the stock market, where your advisor, when discussing the reputation of a bond, can supplement his informed opinion with both historical series and current events. On the contrary, in informal settings, gossip, although vague, may contain precious hints both to actual facts ["I've been told this physician has shown questionable behaviour"]) and to conflicts taking place at the information level (if a candidate for a role spread bar doubtful reputation about another candidate, who should you trust?).
Moreover, the expression "it is said that (John Smith is a cheater)" is intrinsically a reputation spreading act, because on the one hand it refers to a (possibly fake) common opinion, and on the other the very act of saying "it is said" is self-assessing, since it provides at least one factual occasion when that something is said, exactly for the fact the person who says so (the gossiper), while appearing to spread the saying a bit further, may actually be in the phase of initiating it.
Gossip can also be used as a tag only - as when gossipping about unreachable icons, like royalty or showbiz celebrities - useful only to show the gossiper belongs to the group of the informed ones. While most cases seem to share the characteristic of being primarily used to predict future behaviour, they can have, for example, manipulative subgoals, even more important than the forecast.
Considering, for example, the case of a communication between two parts, one (the advisee) that is requesting advice about the potential for danger in an economical transaction with another part (the potential partner, target), and the other (the advisor, evaluator) that is giving advice.
Roughly speaking, the advice could fall under one of the following three categories:
Note the care to maintain the possible levels of truth (the adviser declares - but could be lying - it believes - but could be wrong - etc..). The cases are listed, as it is evident, in decreasing order of responsibility. While one could feel most actual examples fall under the first case, the other two are not unnecessarily complicated neither actually infrequent. Indeed, most of the common gossip falls under the third category, and, except for electronic interaction, this is the most frequent form of referral. All examples concern the evaluation of a given object (target), a social agent (which may be either individual or supraindividual, and in the latter case, either a group or a collective), held by another social agent, the evaluator.
The examples above can be turned in more precise definitions using the concept of social evaluation defined above. At this point, we can propose to coin a new lexical item, image, whose character should be immediately evident from the following:Image is a global or averaged evaluation of a given target on the part of an agent. It consists of a (set of) social evaluations about the characteristics of the target. Image as an object of communication is what is exchanged in examples 1 and 2, above. In the second case, we call it third-party image. It may concern a subset of the target's characteristics, i.e., its willingness to comply with socially accepted norms and customs, or its skills. ways), nor its definition as pertaining to a precise agent. Indeed, we can define special cases of image, including third-party image, the evaluation that an agent believes a third party has of the target, or even shared image, that is, an evaluation shared by a group. Not even this last is reputation, since it tries to define in a too precisely the mental status of the group.
While image only moves (when transmitted and accepted) from an individual cognition to another, the anonymous character of reputation makes it a more complex phenomenon. Reputation proceeds from the level of individual cognition (when is born, possible as an image, but not always) to the level of social propagation (at this level, it not necessarily believed from any agent) and from this level back to individual cognition again (when it is accepted).
Moreover, once it gets to the population level, reputation gives rise to a further property at the agent level. It is both what people think about targets and what targets are in the eyes of others.
From the very moment an agent is targeted by the community, his or her life will change whether he or she wants it or not or believes it or not. Reputation has become the immaterial, more powerful equivalent of a scarlet letter sewed to one's clothes. It is more powerful because it may not even be perceived by the individual to whom it sticks, and consequently it is out of the individual's power to control and manipulate.
More simply speaking for those who want a working definition of reputation, reputation is the sum of impressions held by a company's stakeholders. In other words, reputation is in the "eyes of the beholder". It need not be just a company's reputation but could be the reputation of an individual, country, brand, political party, industry. But the key point is reputation is not what the leadership insists but what others perceive it to be. For a company, its reputation is how esteemed it is in the eyes of its employees, customers, investors, talent, prospective candidates, competitors, analysts, alumni, regulators and the list goes on.
The stakeholder theory says corporations should be run for the benefit of all “stakeholders,” not just the shareholders. Stakeholders of a company include any individual or group that can influence or is influenced from a companies practices. The stakeholders of a company can be suppliers, consumers, employees, shareholders, financial community, government, and media. Companies must properly manage the relationships between stakeholder groups and they must consider interest of each stakeholder group carefully. Therefore, it becomes essential to integrate public relations into corporate governance to manage the relationships between these stakeholders which will enhance the organization’s reputation. Corporations or institutions which behave ethically and governed in a good manner builds a reputational capital which is a competitive advantage. According to Fombrun, a good reputation enhances profitability because it attracts customers to products, investors to securities and employees to its jobs. Company’s reputation is an asset and wealth that gives that company a competitive advantage because this kind of a company will be regarded as a reliable, credible, trustwothhy and responsible for employees, customers, shareholders and financial markets. In addition, according to MORI’s survey of about 200 managers in the private sector, 99% responded the management of corporate reputation is very (83%) or fairly (16%) important. Reputation is a reflection of companies’ culture and identity. Also, it is the outcome of managers' efforts to prove their success and excellence. It is sustained through acting reliable, credible, trustworthy and responsible in the market. It can be sustained through consistent communication activities both internally and externally with key stakeholder groups. This directly influences a public company's stock prices in the financial market. Therefore, this reputation makes a reputational capital as a strategic asset and advantage for that company. As a consequence, public relations must be used in order to establish long lasting relationships with the stakeholders, which will enhance the reputation of the company.
Cassio: Reputation, reputation, reputation! O! I have lost my reputation. I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!-Shakespeare, Othello, the Moor of Venice Act II. Scene III, 225-226.
Iago: As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound; there is more offence in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving: you have lost no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself such a loser.
The convergence of globalization, instantaneous news and online citizen journalism magnifies any corporate wrongdoing or misstep. Barely a day goes by without some company facing new assaults on its reputation. Reputation recovery is the long and arduous path to rebuilding equity in a company's good name. Research has found it takes approximately 3.5 years to fully recover reputation ([Safeguarding Reputation ). Jim Collins of Good to Great fame says it takes a company seven years to go from good to great. The path is clearly long. The reason reputation recovery has risen in importance is that the "[stumble rate " among companies has risen exponentially over the past five years. In fact, 79% of the world's most admired companies have lost their number one positions in industries in that time period. Companies which were once heralded as invincible, no longer are.