Essays on corporate reputation: Antecedents and consequences
This dissertation studied the determinants and consequences of corporate reputation. It explored how firm-, industry-, and country-level factors influence the general public’s assessment of a firm’s reputation and how this reputation assessment impacted the firm’s strategic actions and organizational outcomes. The three empirical essays are grounded on separate theoretical paradigms in strategy, organizational theory, and corporate governance. The first essay used signaling theory to investigate firm-, industry-, and country-level determinants of individual-level corporate reputation assessments. Using a hierarchical linear model, it tested the theory based on individual evaluations of the largest companies across countries. Results indicated that variables at multiple analysis levels simultaneously impact individual level reputation assessments. Interactions were also found between industry- and country-level factors. Results confirmed the multi-level nature of signaling influences on reputation assessments.
Building on a stakeholder-power approach to corporate governance, the second essay studied how differences in the power and preferences of three stakeholder groups—shareholders, creditors, and workers—across countries influence the general public’s reputation assessments of corporations. Examining the largest companies across countries, the study found that while the influence of stock market return is stronger in societies where shareholders have more power, social performance has a more significant role in shaping reputation evaluations in societies with stronger labor rights. Unexpectedly, when creditors have greater power, the influence of financial stability on reputation assessment becomes weaker.
Exploring the consequences of reputation, the third essay investigated the specific effects of intangible assets on strategic actions and organizational outcomes. Particularly, it individually studied the impacts of acquirer acquisition experience, corporate reputation, and approach toward social responsibilities as well as their combined effect on market reactions to acquisition announcements. Using an event study of acquisition announcements, it confirmed the significant impacts of both action-specific (acquisition experience) and general (reputation and social performance) intangible assets on market expectations of acquisition outcomes. Moreover, the analysis demonstrated that reputation magnifies the impact of acquisition experience on market response to acquisition announcements. In conclusion, this dissertation tried to advance and extend the application of management and organizational theories by explaining the mechanisms underlying antecedents and consequences of corporate reputation.