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Measurement and Management of Chief Executive Reputation

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Richard Rinkenburger

Whereas the importance of CEO reputation has increased over the last years, only very little scientific research has been conducted. This thesis addresses the vagueness of past conceptualizations by providing a well-founded theoretical background, the development of a reliable and valid measurement model of CEO reputation as well as the validation of identified relations to its antecedents and consequences. An empirical online study was conducted among students of the university in Munich to validate the CEO reputation model. Using PLS path modeling, the analysis provides evidence for the impact of CEO reputation on several outcome variables (e.g., corporate reputation) and confirms different influences of the identified antecedents on CEO reputation. Thereby, practitioners can get valuable implications for the management of chief executives’ reputations.

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1 Introduction

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The strategic situation of most companies is constituted by an intense national as well as international competition. Due to the ongoing globalization, companies have to fight globally over resources – ranging from raw materials to qualified employees – and compete to acquire new customers or to retain their old ones. Consequently, strategic management research was focused on the identification of drivers of sustainable, competitive advantages, traditionally investigating tangible resources (e.g., BARNEY 1991; WERNERFELT 1984, 1995). However, in the last decade, intangible assets have come to the fore. Particularly, the firm reputation has turned out to be one of the central and most important intangible assets (HALL 1992; SCHWAIGER 2004). Numerous studies dealt with antecedents and consequences of corporate reputation and substantiated its importance and its contribution to several outcomes. It is argued that good reputation generally leads to overall advantages in respect to negotiations with different stakeholder groups (FOMBRUN 1996; BROWN 1997; CORDEIRO/SAMBHARYA 1997; DEEPHOUSE 1997; MACMILLAN/JOSHI 1997; ROBERTS/DOWLING 1997; SRIVASTAVA ET AL. 1997). Furthermore, a good reputation increases an organization’s tendency to engage in joint ventures (DOLLINGER ET AL. 1997). Possessing a high reputation is also valuable for corporations in regard to other stakeholder groups: employees of more reputable companies accept lower compensation and employee retention rates as well as the recruiting chances of organizations with a good reputation are higher (STIGLER 1962; DOWLING 1986; CAMINITI 1992; PREECE ET AL. 1995; EIDSON/MASTER 2000; NAKRA 2000; TURBAN/CABLE 2003; SCHLODERER ET AL. 2009b). Effects on customers include higher trust in products and advertising...

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