Maximizing Corporate Reputation Through Effective Governance: A Study of Structures and Behaviors
Publication date: October 2005
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The aim of this dissertation research is to develop an understanding of how components of the organizational structure, leadership structures at the top level and resource allocation decisions may affect corporate reputation as defined by the reputation quotient(RQ),and which aspects of running a company top management should keep an eye on in order to maximize the reputation of their company? Based on a literature review on the topic of corporate reputation and governance, which comprises the first part of the dissertation, a positivistic, deductive approach was chosen and a self-administered questionnaire has been developed that was sent out to the CEOs of the 60 companies currently covered in the 2002 RQ-rankings. The detailed discussion of the research method can be found in the third chapter. Due to a low response rate, the original research approach had to be adapted, in that - where available - the information requested in the questionnaire was filled by the author with publicly-available data from various sources, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), brokerage reports, company web sites and third-party information providers, aggregating information from these sources. Because the data points obtained this way, in all cases are based on official company disclosures (i.e. SEC-filings,press releases, published web sites), for which the companies are held legally liable, it is assumed that the quality of the data points obtained this way is just as accurate as from having received it as part of the filled-out questionnaires. This for one, because of the legal implications mentioned above and for the other because the answers to the questionnaire would have been based on the same internal data used to provide information to the Securities and Exchange Commission and general public. This adaptation of approach narrowed down the original sample size of 60 to 32 companies, because for 28 companies not sufficient public information was available and/ or the companies were not listed in both the 2001 and 2002 RQ-rankings. A second effect is that fewer of the originally intended aspects, especially relating to leadership, could be investigated, as no reliable public information was available. Nevertheless, the sample size was sufficient to draw statistically valid conclusions.