JMCR Recent PhD and DBA Research

Recent PhD and DBA Research

Dr Nuno da Camara - The Development and Impact of Organisational Reputation with Employees: Investigating Internal Attitudes and Intentions with an Emotional Lens (2013)

Although many researchers emphasise the important role of employees in the formation of Reputation amongst external stakeholders, the actual development of Reputation with employees as a single-stakeholder group and its link to behaviour has not received much attention. This thesis adopts Money and Hillenbrand’s (2006) causal approach to Corporate Reputation to develop a Model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Organisational Reputation with Employees (MACORE) based on previous research in Corporate Reputation and Organisational Behaviour. Using an emotional lens to view the organisation, the model proposes that employees distinguish between organisational level experiences of Organisational Emotional Intelligence (OEI) and local level experiences of Psychological Climate (job, role, and direct leader domains). These antecedents influence Reputation, namely Organisational Emotional Appeal (i.e. overall Reputation), Trust in Senior Management and Trust in Manager, which has consequences for the behavioural intentions of Advocacy and Intention to Leave.  The model is supported by empirical research in three organisations in the not-for-profit, public and private sectors (N=495). In particular, the results show that OEI is a strong predictor of Organisational Emotional Appeal and Trust in Senior Management, beyond the impact of Psychological Climate; and, in turn, that Organisational Emotional Appeal strongly predicts Advocacy and Intention to Leave beyond the impact of Trust in Senior Management and Trust in Manager. The study therefore confirms that emotionally relevant behaviours are critical to the development of organisational Reputation with employees.  While, contrary to the commonly-held view that ‘employees leave their manager and not their organisation’, the study shows that overall Reputation is a stronger driver of employee retention and advocacy than trust in the line manager or trust in senior management.  The implications for organisations in terms of managing their Reputation with employees are discussed.  A new Organisational Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (OEIQ-21) is developed and validated for future research.   

 

Dr Nicola Swan - Giving Community Stakeholders a Voice in Stakeholder Theory (2012)

Nicola’s research is rooted in Stakeholder Theory and addresses the question ‘How are company corporate responsibility initiatives perceived by communities and NGO’s in rural India?’ In doing so, the research answers the call to give stakeholders (in this case rural communities and NGO’s) a voice in Stakeholder Theory (Laplume et al. 2008; Bruton, 2010; Olitzki, 2011). The research brings together literature from the fields of both management and development and presents an in-depth understanding of the principles and processes of how companies engage with community stakeholders (villagers) and explores the associated outcomes. NGO and community perspectives are then contrasted with company perspectives of the corporate responsibility, and implications for Stakeholder Theory and corporate responsibility are drawn.

Interpretivist case study research was used to investigate two separate corporate responsibility initiatives of HSBC India. Each of these two initiatives is run by different NGO’s, but in the same region of rural India. NGO One took a geographic approach (Ray, 2000; Shucksmith, 2000, 2010) – viewing village issues holistically and in an interconnected manner. NGO Two took an approach that was specific, i.e. it addressed one issue for a single sector of the community, rather than looking at the impact on the community as a whole. The qualitative research incorporates principles from ethnography, to elicit the attitudes of the community, NGO representatives and company representatives (in this case employees from HSBC India). Over 100 data collection interventions were undertaken with the stakeholders. The two cases are analysed singly and through cross-case comparison. The findings show that villagers working with NGO One report comparatively higher levels of individual empowerment and the ability to participate in development activities. They have more bonding and bridging relationships, levels of trust in the community are higher, and there are community-wide behavioural norms. Villagers working with NGO Two report comparatively higher levels of control over their lives, but individual empowerment and the ability to participate in development activities are lower. Data from company representatives, on the other hand, shows that while the company seemed to recognise the vision of both NGOs, it evaluated community outcomes based on the financial sustainability of the NGOs and their outputs, rather than in terms of improvement of the livelihood of villagers, as NGO’s and community members do.

The findings make several major contributions. First, by comparing the community and NGOs perspectives to the views of the company, the research reveals that greater understanding of the outcomes of a corporate responsibility initiative can be achieved from the community perspective. This suggests that to relate to rural communities more effectively, companies should identify community outcomes as different from NGO outputs (or NGO espoused outcomes). Secondly, the research sheds light on how companies could engage with rural communities and NGOs. The research suggests that processes of community engagement based on taking time to understand the villager perspective, building capacity through endogenous means, based on principles of social justice, equity, respect, voice and reversals would bring positive outcomes for all. Implications associated with taking either community-wide or specific issue approaches are also outlined. Finally, the research highlights the value of gauging the opinions of rural stakeholders, local NGO’s and company representatives as separate entities.

 

Dr Roger Hayes - Public Diplomacy: At the Intersection of Government, Business and Public Opinion in a Transparent World (2012) 

After a 30 year career practicing public relations for governments and companies internationally, I recently completed six years part-time researching the links and synergies between public relations and public diplomacy. Despite the tremendous international growth of public relations, it remains relatively immature with a largely Western body of knowledge, so can learn from other disciplines such as public diplomacy, due to its emphasis on culture, the new networked model of communication and the need for collaboration on complex issues by governments, corporations and NGOs.

While PR grew out of the largely private sector experience of advertising and marketing in the 1960s, PD is an even newer discipline, also rather Anglo-Saxon, yet embracing dimensions of international relations beyond traditional diplomacy. Indeed there are very few books ,although a growing number of case histories, if very little on the overlap between the two disciplines. Ironically the term PD was first used in the U.S. in the 60’s as an alternative to ‘propaganda’,  embracing cultural and educational diplomacy , so as to distance it from the persuasion industries! However, it only recently became a serious academic discipline being taught in schools of public policy and ought to be taught at business schools also.

Interviewing 70 senior PR practitioners (in-house and consultants) and diplomats in eight (developed and developing) countries, I found that just as diplomats and governments can learn the media relations, event management and commercials skills of PR practitioners, largely honed in the private sector, so too can companies and PRs embrace the contextual intelligence and cultural empathy skills of diplomats-what I denoted as the four N’s-navigation, networking, negotiation and narratives. Combining stagecraft with statecraft, leading to the statesmanship that is required when dealing with a multi-cultural, multi-stakeholder community, attempting to reconcile conflicting interests, solving issues no one country or organisation can solve, particularly given the diffusion of power –easier to get, harder to use, easier to lose.

PD is an interesting topic, not only because it is perceived as more strategic than PR, dogged by its own reputation for ‘spin’ and serving its master rather than society. But because of the overlap of both disciplines with public affairs, a largely nationally based government relations practice for corporations, moot in a global environment and corporate social responsibility (CSR), which in the developing countries at least is sometimes known as corporate diplomacy. Indeed it is clear from the research that a new cadre of corporate diplomat is needed in a broader public relations role, even though just calling public relations public diplomacy, does not make it so, without the requisite education and training. It is equally clear that governments are ill-equipped to adapt to the new transparent environment of instant communication , the convergence of domestic and foreign policy and soft power-talking softly, while recognising that the stick is shared.  

Indeed a new mind-set is needed embracing responsible leadership, dialogue, insight and intelligence, cultural sensitivity and relationship building with a whole eco-system of stakeholders.

 

Dr Tina West -Exploring Customer Relationships: The Impact of Social Axioms on Perceptions and Outcomes of Corporate Reputation

This research examines the drivers, perceptions and outcomes of corporate reputation from a customer perspective, as well as the moderating influence of deeply-held beliefs known as social axioms. A model is conceptualized that is initially based on Fishbein?s and Ajzen?s (1975) Theory of Reasoned Action and that incorporates key elements of existing models of reputation (Hillenbrand, 2007; MacMillan et al., 2000). This new model makes a contribution by differentiating between two distinct dimensions of corporate reputation (Fombrun et al., 2000) identified as important to customers, as well as between the dimensions of trust and distrust (Cho, 2006) as affective outcomes of reputation. A second important contribution is made by then exploring how individual differences impact this model, based on customers? self-reported levels of five social axioms (cynicism, fate control, religiosity, reward for application and social complexity).

The empirical model is tested using a quantitative survey design that is administered to a sample of 204 customers of an established Canadian retailer. Smart PLS is used to perform partial least squares structural equation modelling in order to assess the initial model for reliability and validity of its indicators, as well as its latent constructs and path coefficients for their explanatory power and predictive relevance. Finally, moderating influences are tested using a technique developed by Henseler et al. (2009).

The study results indicate that customer observations of and experiences with a company are positively linked to the development of positive beliefs about the company?s reputation for its product and service quality, while reputation for social responsibility is developed solely through observations. Both reputation for product/service quality and reputation for social responsibility contribute to the development of trust as well as reduce levels of distrust among customers, though only trust is found to significantly impact behaviour intentions. Examination of the moderating influences of social axioms reveal significant differences in several of the model?s paths when comparing individuals identified as either high or low on cynicism, fate control and religiosity.

This research makes several important contributions. It brings together the domains of corporate reputation, customer relationship management and social axioms for the first time. It provides a new model for understanding how customers perceive and respond to corporate reputation. Finally, it offers insights for retailers into new ways of segmenting customers, based on their individual axiomatic beliefs, in order to develop more effective strategies for building successful and sustainable relationships.