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The core of organisational reputation: taking multidimensionality, audience multiplicity, and agency subunits seriously

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posted on 2023-03-18, 04:40 authored by Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz, Jens Blom-Hansen, Martin Bækgaard, Moritz Müller, Søren Serritzlew

Reputational theory holds that an agency’s reputation is a valuable political asset. However, since Daniel Carpenter’s influential contributions, reputational studies have focused on reactions to reputational threats, rather than on reputation as such. Therefore, there is a curious lacuna at the heart of reputation studies: A lot is known about reactions to reputational threats, but fundamental questions about reputation per se are left unexplored. This paper investigates the dimensionality of the reputational concept, its variation across types of audiences, and its consistency across agency subunits. This is done in the context of the EU Commission, the core executive institution of the European Union. While this case is interesting in itself, its main value is to suggest what a research agenda focusing on the core building blocks of reputational theory might look like. Our survey of actors in the EU’s Transparency Register provides mixed, but mostly supportive evidence.


The research for this article was supported by Independent Research Fund Denmark [grant number 6109-00018B]. The contribution of Moritz Müller was financed by the project RECONNECT, which is financially supported by the funding organisations AEI, ESRC, NWO, and RCN involved in the NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age which is co-funded by the European Commission through Horizon 2020 [grant number 822166].