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Personal reputation has been argued to demonstrate important influences on work outcomes. However, substantive research on personal reputation is relatively scarce. This two-study investigation empirically supports and extends existing theory regarding the temporal development of personal reputation (i.e., antecedents and consequences), and thus contributes to a more informed understanding of both the construct and criterion-related validity of this important construct. Study 1 is conducted longitudinally, in order to assess the development of personal reputation over time, which is undertaken to demonstrate the effects of human capital and social effectiveness as antecedents of reputation. Study 2 complements and extends the first study by conducting a field investigation examining the effects of time, human capital, and social effectiveness as antecedents of personal reputation, while also exploring the reputation consequences of autonomy, power, and career success. Our findings suggest that human capital, time, and social effectiveness play a part in the development of a reputation. Furthermore, career success, power, and autonomy were shown to be outcomes of the reputation construct. Contributions and strengths of this investigation, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed. Personal reputation is a fact of both social and organizational life (e.g., Bromley, 1993). Individuals can develop reputations for many things in everyday life, but at work, reputations most likely focus on issues related to individuals' capacity to perform their jobs effectively, and to be cooperative and helpful towards others. Although there are examples of individuals intentionally creating negative reputations for themselves, this is
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156
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (2012), 85, 156–180
C2011 The British Psychological Society
The
British
Psychological
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www.wileyonlinelibrary.com
Personal reputation in organizations: Two-study
constructive replication and extension
of antecedents and consequences
Robert Zinko1, Gerald R. Ferris2, Stephen E. Humphrey3,
Christopher J. Meyer4and Federico Aime5
1East Carolina University, USA
2Florida State University, USA
3The Pennsylvania State University, USA
4Baylor University, Texas, USA
5Oklahoma State University, USA
Personal reputation has been argued to demonstrate important influences on work
outcomes. However, substantive research on personal reputation is relatively scarce.
This two-study investigation empirically supports and extends existing theory regarding
the temporal development of personal reputation (i.e., antecedents and consequences),
and thus contributes to a more informed understanding of both the construct and
criterion-related validity of this important construct. Study 1 is conducted longitudinally,
in order to assess the development of personal reputation over time, which is
undertaken to demonstrate the effects of human capital and social effectiveness as
antecedents of reputation. Study 2 complements and extends the first study by
conducting a field investigation examining the effects of time, human capital, and social
effectiveness as antecedents of personal reputation, while also exploring the reputation
consequences of autonomy, power, and career success. Our findings suggest that human
capital, time, and social effectiveness play a part in the development of a reputation.
Furthermore, career success, power, and autonomy were shown to be outcomes of the
reputation construct. Contributions and strengths of this investigation, limitations, and
directions for future research are discussed.
Personal reputation is a fact of both social and organizational life (e.g., Bromley, 1993).
Individuals can develop reputations for many things in everyday life, but at work,
reputations most likely focus on issues related to individuals’ capacity to perform their
jobs effectively, and to be cooperative and helpful towards others. Although there are
examples of individuals intentionally creating negative reputations for themselves, this is
Correspondence should be addressed to Robert Zinko, Department of Management, College of Business, East Carolina
University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA (e-mail: zinkor@ecu.edu).
DOI:10.1111/j.2044-8325.2010.02017.x
Personal reputation in organizations 157
not normally the case (Ferris, Zinko, Brouer, Buckley, & Harvey, 2008). Most individuals
attempt to create a positive image of themselves in the workplace (Baumeister, 1982).
Our working definition of personal reputation in organizations is the extent to which
individuals are perceived by others, over time, as performing their jobs competently,
and being helpful towards others in the workplace. This builds upon previous work
characterizing reputations in the workplace by work-related behaviour and personal
characteristics that others perceive over time, with emphasis on the performance and
character dimensions (Ferris, Blass, Douglas, Kolodinsky, & Treadway, 2003; Zinko,
Ferris, Blass, & Laird, 2007). We do not suggest that performance and character
represent the only possible dimensions of personal reputation. However, prior theory
and research has indicated that these two might provide high-order dimensions that
serve as initial representative characterizations of the personal reputation construct
domain.
Time, or the temporal component of personal reputation, simply suggests that reputa-
tions typically are not formed instantaneously (i.e., except under unusual circumstances).
Instead, reputations are formed through the consistent demonstration of distinctive
and salient behaviours on repeated occasions, or over time. This time, or temporal
consideration was suggested by others, and more recently by Anderson and Shirako
(2008), who argued that reputation relates to a person’s history of behaviour.
Unfortunately, systematic investigation of the nature of personal reputation at work
has been virtually non-existent, and in need of more extensive consideration (Ferris
et al., 2003; Zinko et al., 2007). Recently, Zinko et al. (2007) presented a model
of the antecedents and consequences of personal reputation in organizations, which
focused on human capital and social control and competency characteristics, along with
time, as antecedents, and power, autonomy, and career success as outcomes. Thus, we
seek to investigate personal reputation by arguing that individuals will be perceived as
being competent and/or helpful at work. That these individuals possess work-related
competency abilities, social control, and competence abilities to make others realize
such work competencies and their willingness to work well with others, and that
these individuals have sufficient opportunity to make others aware of such foregoing
competencies. In the present paper, we conduct a two-study investigation to examine
these ideas.
Specifically, Study 1 is a laboratory investigation that examines the antecedents of
time (i.e., use of three different time periods), human capital (i.e., general mental ability,
GMA), and social control and competency (i.e., self-efficacy) on personal reputation.
Study 2 is a field investigation that seeks to constructively replicate the antecedents
of personal reputation from the first investigation (i.e., in Study 2, tenure was used as
a measure of time, expertise was used as a measure of human capital, and political
skill was used as a measure of social control and competency), and extend this work
by investigating the autonomy, power, and career success consequences of personal
reputation.
Theoretical foundations and hypothesis development
Figure 1 below, shows the model tested in the present research is an adaptation of Zinko
et al. (2007), and it investigates time, human capital, and social control and competency
factors as antecedents of personal reputation, and autonomy, power, and career success
as consequences. We argue that individuals will be perceived as being competent
and/or helpful at work to the extent they possess work-related competency abilities,
social control, and competence to make others aware of these competencies, and that
158 Robert Zinko el al.
Human Capital
Social Control and
Competency
Time
Personal
Reputation
Autonomy
Power
Career Success
Figure 1. Model of personal reputation (adapted from Zinko et al., 2007).
these individuals have sufficient opportunity to make others aware of such foregoing
competencies. Thus, the focus is placed on the overarching concepts of ‘skills’ and
‘time’ (Rindova, Williamson, Petkova, & Sever, 2005). As such, it is argued that personal
reputation is influenced by individuals’ personal characteristics and accomplishments,
including their human capital and social control and competency, which reflect certain
observable qualities or attributes on which their personal reputations may be built (Ferris
et al., 2003; Zinko et al., 2007; Zinko, Furner, Royle, & Hall, 2010).
Also, a temporal aspect suggests that personal reputation does not develop instanta-
neously, but through the consistent demonstration of distinctive and salient behaviours
on repeated occasions, or over time (e.g., Ferris et al., 2003; Zinko et al., 2007). It
is suggested that this temporal buildup of personal reputation can develop through
direct observation by an audience, and/or through the transference of information
from secondary sources. This is consistent with findings by Anderson and Shirako
(2008) indicating that the social connectedness of people to an individuals’ history
of behaviour makes the behaviour more salient in becoming part of that individual’s
personal reputation.
The main theoretical argument for the positive outcomes we expect from a personal
reputation is based on uncertainty reduction. Reflecting a personal reputation for a
behaviour helps decrease the uncertainty about an individual’s future behaviour by
suggesting predictable patterns in particular situations in the future. Organizational
scientists have suggested that reputation can represent a form of ‘signaling’, because
it gives people an opportunity to tell others something about themselves (e.g., Erdem
& Swait, 1998; Ferris et al., 2003; Spence, 1974). The reduction in uncertainty
that a personal reputation brings to interactions with the reputed individual allows
economization in monitoring, and freer assignment of power to that individual.
In line with this argument, Pfeffer (1992) suggested that a personal reputation for
being a powerful individual brings that individual even more power. Additionally, Hall,
Blass, Ferris, and Massengale (2004) suggested that as individuals’ reputations increase,
their accountability decreases, because such reputations lead these individuals to be
granted greater discretion to deviate from situational behaviour norms. Therefore, we
argue that power and autonomy are related to an individual’s personal reputation. Finally,
because personal reputation reduces uncertainty, and is used in place of complete
information about an individual, it is logical to assume that many human resources
decisions (e.g., hiring and promotion) are affected by personal reputation. Therefore, it
is argued that career success is a consequence of personal reputation (Ferris et al., 2003;
Zinko et al., 2007).
Personal reputation in organizations 159
Antecedents of personal reputation
Time. Organizational scientists have argued that reputation exists because an audience
has imperfect knowledge regarding an individual, and thus that reputations become a
proxy for observed actions (e.g., Elmer, 1984; Herbig & Milewicz, 1993). In this regard,
reputations take time to develop, in that observers need to perceive consistency of
behavioural demonstration across occasions. Although scholars have suggested that
personal reputation may be lost or greatly reduced with one wrong move, most
researchers have argued that personal reputation is not achieved with just a single
event, but must be proactively built and maintained over time, through the consistent
demonstration of distinctive and salient behaviours on repeated occasions, or over time
(Ferris et al., 2003). Zinko et al. (2007) argued that although the exact amount of time
it takes to develop a reputation may vary, few would dispute that time is a necessary
component to reputation development.
Because personal reputation is shared and transmitted by word of mouth, it can be
surmised that the longer individuals have been in an organization, the more likely they
will possess a personal reputation. Furthermore, the more time individuals spend in
an organization, the better they will be able to evaluate their surroundings, and use
those surroundings to their advantage in meaningful ways by developing behaviourally
consistent images and impressions (e.g., develop a positive personal reputation; Elmer,
1984).
Hypothesis 1: Because reputations are not formed instantaneously, but require time
to develop gradually, time will positively relate to personal reputation.
Human capital. The attainment of increased individual worth or value through
acquisition of knowledge, skills, and abilities by means of intellectual, educational, and
experiential achievements has become known as ‘human capital theory’. Therefore, hu-
man capital is individuals’ knowledge and skill that is the direct result of their investments
in education and training (Becker, 1993). As such, human capital is proposed by Zinko
et al. (2007) to be an important antecedent of personal reputation in organizations, and it
is operationalized in the present investigation using GMA (i.e., Study 1) and expertise (i.e.,
Study 2).
A review by Schmidt and Hunter (1998) suggests that GMA is often the single most
valid predictor of future job performance and learning. Furthermore, GMA has been
suggested as the link between social reputation and innate talent (e.g., Simonton, 2004).
Those who are considered ‘fast trackers’ (i.e., in the leadership literature) have been
found to possess a positive personal reputation and benefit from high GMA (Dulewicz
& Higgs, 2000). Therefore, GMA may be an important component in building and
maintaining a personal reputation.
Hypothesis 2: GMA will positively relate to personal reputation.
Personal reputation is usually built on an individual’s ability to excel in some particular
area of activity. In fact, it can be argued that perceived expertise in the eyes of one’s
peers is the first step towards gaining a personal reputation. These personal reputation-
building events include times when others observe the actions of the individuals while
they are performing a work-related task. If such individuals exhibit unusual proficiency
160 Robert Zinko el al.
over time, they may become regarded as experts (Littlepage, Robison, & Reddington,
1997), and be easily recognizable as such (Laughlin, VanderStoep, & Hollingshead,
1991).
Hypothesis 3: Expertise will positively relate to personal reputation.
Social control and competency. In order for individuals to influence their personal
reputations, they must be able to communicate effectively to those around them in a
manner consistent with the reputations they wish to develop, and to do so in influential
ways (Ferris & Judge, 1991; Spence, 1974). Furthermore, they must possess an internal
belief that they can exercise control over their environment and important elements in
such contexts. Such competencies indicate social control and competency, which is a
necessary component in the building and maintenance of personal reputation, because
reputation is a social cognitive construct (Bromley, 1993; Tsui, 1984; Zinko 2010). Like
other social constructs, those who are socially confident, competent, and efficacious are
able to influence those around them to improve their social standing.
This image management ability not only increases perceived credibility, but also may
allow the personal reputation-building individuals to co-opt those around them into their
network (Ferris et al., 2005). Because personal reputation is a social cognitive construct,
individuals lacking in social control and competency may misconstrue how others see
them, and as such, may not be able to properly develop a positive reputation due to
their flawed self-assessments (i.e., Dunning, Heath, & Suls, 2004). In order to increase
generalization, this research operationalizes social control and competency using both
self-efficacy (i.e., Study 1) and political skill (i.e., Study 2), and constructive replication
(e.g., Lykken, 1968) is sought across studies using different operationalizations of
constructs.
Baumeister (1982), who defined self-efficacy as the belief one can successfully
perform a task or a particular behaviour change, suggested that one of the motivators for
building a personal reputation is self-fulfilment. Furthermore, Cohen (1959) stated that
individuals wish others to see them as they see themselves. This implies that those with
a powerful self-image (i.e., high self-esteem, high general efficacy) will wish for others
to see them in the same positive light, and often will desire for others to acknowledge
their abilities and talents (Crowne & Marlow, 1964).
These suggestions are consistent with concepts presented in signalling theory,
suggesting that personal reputation builders send signals to others regarding how they
seem themselves, and such signals are efforts to influence perceptions and meaning
(Spence, 1974). Finally, those with higher self-efficacy have been shown to perform
at higher levels (Stajkovic & Luthans, 1998), resulting in the development of personal
reputations based upon those actions.
Hypothesis 4: Self-efficacy will positively relate to personal reputation.
Because personal reputations are based on observed events as well as word of mouth
(Ferris et al., 2003; Zinko et al., 2007), the talent to develop and manipulate a network
is crucial to personal reputation. Although social effectiveness has been investigated
under many different labels (savvy, street smarts, etc.), Ferris et al. (2005, p. 127)
conceptualized political skill as the social control and competency construct developed
explicitly to address influence at work, defined it as ‘the ability to effectively understand
Personal reputation in organizations 161
others at work, and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance
one’s personal and organizational objectives’, and it has been shown to be an effective
measure of social influence and effectiveness (see Ferris et al., 2007 for a review).
Research in the field has demonstrated a link between political skill and personal
reputation in that reputation mediates the relationship between political skill and job
performance ratings (Liu et al., 2007). Also, Anderson and Shirako (2008) recently found
that having behaviour noticed enough to form part of one’s reputation is partially a func-
tion of the degree of social connectedness to those observing and evaluating. Because
politically skilled individuals are particularly adept at making their behaviour salient and
attracting attentional focus, while also building social connections with others, political
skill should serve as an antecedent of personal reputation (Ferris et al., 2007).
Hypothesis 5: Political skill will positively relate to personal reputation.
Consequences of personal reputation
It can be argued that there are many different outcomes associated with a positive
personal reputation (e.g., job satisfaction, intent to turnover, etc.). However, the Zinko
et al. (2007) model of reputation sharpens the focus to just a smaller set of reputation con-
sequences, which are examined in the present research. By no means do we suggest that
these are the only outcomes of reputation, but rather we present them as a well-grounded
foundation on which to begin the examination of reputation outcomes (i.e., with
specific reference to a positive reputation). Thus, the outcomes chosen for this research
(i.e., autonomy, career advancement, and power) are justified theoretically as direct
consequences of personal reputation in the conceptualization proposed by Zinko et al.
Autonomy. Autonomy has been defined as ‘the freedom an individual has in carrying out
work’ (Humphrey, Nahrgang, & Morgeson, 2007, p. 1333). Because reputation exists
in order to reduce ambiguity, to the extent that individuals feel they can predict the
behaviour of others, they will not feel a need to monitor their actions as closely. Both
agency theory and the recently developing stream of celebrity literature support this
theory by suggesting that those responsible for hiring may seek out individuals who
have established reputations because they do not need supervision since their actions
are predictable in certain environments (Hayward, Rindova, & Pollock, 2004).
Hypothesis 6: Personal reputation will positively relate to autonomy.
Power. When individuals have a strong, positive reputation, others will wish to be
identified with them. Current research regarding the phenomena of ‘basking in reflected
glory’ suggests such actions (see Snyder, Lassegard, & Ford, 1986 for a review). As
individuals gain personal reputations, they gain power (Gioia & Sims, 1983; Pfeffer,
1992), which may derive from not only formal but also informal authority, and the
authority to delegate tasks is an example of these powers.
Hypothesis 7: Personal reputation will positively relate to power.
162 Robert Zinko el al.
Career success. Career success often is based more on social factors than performance
(Ferris & Judge, 1991; Ng, Eby, Sorensen, & Feldman, 2005). A personal reputation is a
social factor that may be able to affect performance evaluations, promotions, employee
mobility, and compensation (Ferris et al., 2003). First, because personal reputation often
is related to perceived performance (Herbig & Milewicz, 1993), supervisors will set
higher goals because they expect more from those with a positive personal reputation.
However, goal setting has been shown to demonstrate a positive relationship with
performance evaluations regardless of actual performance (Dossett & Greenberg, 1981;
Kierein & Gold, 2000).
Second, the importance of first impressions has been well established in the field
(e.g., Cooper, Graham, & Dyke, 1993), and personal reputation has the advantage of
establishing an impression before an individual is even present in an organization. This
‘pre-established’ first impression directs the attention of those around the individual in
what could be essentially a halo effect regarding the individual’s actions (Fox, Bizman,
& Herrmann, 1983). At first, those around the individual in question will focus on what
the individual is known for, which is advantageous because it gives the new individual
time to adapt to the new environment.
For example, if a new employee is entering an organization with an already established
personal reputation as being a hard worker, others will assume that being a hard worker
is simply a manifestation of a stable trait the individual possesses (Rudolph & Kleiner,
1992). Therefore, others will assume that this citizenship trait should manifest itself in
other ways, and treat the new employee in such a manner (i.e., giving them the benefit
of the doubt, increased trust, and autonomy).
Finally, personal reputation affects career success in the form of compensation by
organizations ‘purchasing’ reputation. This suggestion supports organizational theorists’
views that part of the value of reputation is intangible, manifesting itself in higher
compensation packages than those given to individuals with similar skills who are less
well known (Wade, Porac, Pollock, & Graffin, 2006). Furthermore, individuals who are
helpful to others, and who are perceived to possess good reputations, receive greater
rewards than helpful individuals with bad personal reputations (Johnson, Erez, Kiker, &
Motowidlo, 2002).
Hypothesis 8: Personal reputation will positively relate to career success.
Plan of the research
Two complementary studies were conducted to develop a more informed understanding
of personal reputation, and its antecedents and consequences proposed by Zinko et al.
(2007). Study 1 is a laboratory investigation of the antecedents of personal reputation as
it is developed over time. The temporal dimension is particularly the focus of attention
in this study, although other antecedents of personal reputation are investigated as well.
Thus, Study 1 provides tests of Hypotheses 1 (i.e., time), 2 (i.e., GMA as operationalization
of human capital), and 4 (i.e., self-efficacy as an operationalization of social control and
competency) regarding antecedents of personal reputation.
Study 2 attempts to constructively replicate the results from Study 1, using a
different sample, setting, and operationalizations of constructs (i.e., tenure as a measure
of time, expertise as a measure of human capital, and political skill as a measure
of social control and competence). Furthermore, Study 2 extends the first study by
examining consequences of personal reputation (i.e., autonomy, power, and career
Personal reputation in organizations 163
success), thus providing tests of Hypotheses 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Because different
measures of constructs are used in both studies, the research seeks confirmation through
‘constructive’ replication, which provides stronger confidence in the validity of the
obtained findings (e.g., Eden, 2002; Lykken, 1968; Tsang & Kwan, 1999).
STUDY 1
Method
Participants and procedure
Participants were upper level business undergraduates at a public university (n=
102) and a private university (n=62) in the United States, enrolled in sections of
negotiation/conflict resolution courses taught by three of the authors. As part of the
class, participants completed individual differences questionnaires at the beginning of
the semester, 12 negotiation simulations throughout the semester, and negotiation
reputation questionnaires at three points throughout the semester. The individual
differences and negotiation reputation questionnaires were both used for developmental
purposes in the class.
During the first week of the class, participants were asked to complete the individual
differences questionnaire. During 12 of the subsequent weeks of the semester, students
completed various negotiations, and students were randomly assigned partners for
each negotiation. At three points during the semester (weeks 5, 10, and 15), students
completed the personal reputation questionnaire, thus permitting measurement of the
time dimension of personal reputation.
Measures
Personal reputation
Personal reputation was measured by adapting a well-developed descriptive matching
technique from various psychological fields. This method consists of individuals rating
other subjects from best to worst in categories provided (see Zeller, Vannatta, Schafer,
& Noll, 2003). Students were asked to think about people in the class and their personal
reputations, and they were instructed to provide the names of up to five classmates who
fell into the category of ‘best negotiators’. On average, students provided 2.62 names
for the ‘best negotiators’ category. Students were presented with names and pictures
of all classmates to aid in making the classifications. They were guaranteed that their
individual responses to the personal reputation questionnaires would remain completely
anonymous, and only the aggregated results from the class would be presented to any
student.
After the questionnaire was completed, a personal reputation score was first
calculated by summing the total number of times a student’s name was mentioned for a
specific category across questionnaires. This number was then divided by the number
of students in the class to calculate the strength of the reputation. For example, if 10 of
25 students in a class entered John Smith’s name into the best reputation category, he
would receive a score of .40.
Time
Personal reputation was measured at three different time periods. Therefore, time was
operationalized as the different data collection points (i.e., early, mid, and late in the
164 Robert Zinko el al.
semester), and was turned into a variable by creating two dummy codes reflecting the
different time periods, where time 1 was set as the referent category.
Human capital
GMA was used as the operationalization of human capital in this study, and it was
measured via participant self-reported grade-point average (GPA). GPA has been shown
to be a reliable proxy of GMA in previous research (Caldwell & Burger, 1998).
Social control and competency
Self-efficacy was used as the operationalization of social effectiveness in this study, and
it was measured by adapting the eight-item Chen, Gully, and Eden (2001) self-efficacy
scale to the specific negotiation context, and ask participants to provide self- report
responses. The coefficient alpha reliability estimate for this scale was .82.
Data analysis
Because the data were hierarchically structured (i.e., there were multiple assessments
of personal reputation for a given participant), one concern might be dependence in
the data caused by analysing the same person multiple times (Humphrey, Morgeson,
& Mannor, 2009). We address the potential dependence using multi-level modelling
because this procedure ‘provides the correct parameter estimates and significance tests
for multilevel and non-independent data by estimating within-team and between-team
variances and covariances separately, and by using the correct standard errors’ (Chen,
Kirkman, Kanfer, Allen, & Rosen, 2007, p. 337).
The data were structured such that personal reputation was assigned to level 1,
whereas the individual differences (e.g., GMA) were assigned to level 2. The hypotheses
were tested using MLwiN Version 2.02 (Rasbash, Steele, Browne, & Prosser, 2004).
To facilitate comparability of the different variables, all measures were standardized,
which made the parameter estimates reflect standardized () coefficients (Chen, Bliese,
& Mathieu, 2005). This process essentially grand-mean centered the variables, which is
consistent with normal multi-level modelling conventions.
A series of models of different relationships is presented in Table 1. For each model,
the coefficients and standard errors are presented for all parameters in the model.
Additionally, the variances at each level (i.e., time and individual) for each model are
presented, and comparisons are made with the total variance for the model to the null
model. When coupled with the likelihood ratio test, this allows for a determination of the
explanatory value of a particular model and the effect size associated with the addition
of specific parameters.
Results
Table 2 presents the correlation matrix for the variables of interest. Given the hierarchical
nature of our data, the null model for performance was first calculated (Raudenbush &
Bryk, 2002). As shown in Table 1, 70% of the total variance in individual best reputation is
attributable to individual phenomena, independent of the time periods in which personal
reputation is measured. This means that most of the variance in personal reputation is a
function of constructs that are stable across the three measurement contexts.
Personal reputation in organizations 165
Ta b l e 1. Model comparisons for best reputation in Study 1
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
Intercept (0ij) .136 (.074) .011 (.083) .002 (.081) .010 (.080)
Time 2 .124 (.063) .124 (.063) .124 (.063)
Time 3 .249 (.063) .249 (.063) .249 (.063)
Self-efficacy .223 (.071) .215 (.070)
Cognitive ability .182 (.072)
Variance (individual level) .787 (.100) .792 (.100) .741 (.094) .709 (.091)
Variance (time level) .340 (.027) .325 (.025) .325 (.025) .325 (.025)
Total variance 1.127 1.117 1.066 1.034
2×log likelihood 1,205.432 1,190.147 1,180.55 1,174.26
% of total variance explained 0 .01.05.08
Note.N=492 at time level, 164 at individual level. For variables, the first value in a cell is the beta
coefficient, and the value in parentheses is the standard error.
p.05.
As seen in Model 2 of Table 1, time exhibited a significant effect on best reputation
(R2=.01, p<.001), with best reputation increasing from time 1 (M=.01) to time 2
(M=.14) to time 3 (M=.26). These results support Hypothesis 1, because a personal
reputation as the best negotiator increased over time within the population. Next,
Hypotheses 2 and 4 were tested. As shown in Table 1, GMA (i.e., as an operationalization
of human capital) significantly influenced best reputation (=.18, R2=.03, p=
.01), supporting Hypothesis 2. Furthermore, self-efficacy (i.e., as an operationalization of
social control and competency) significantly influenced best reputation (=.22, R2=
.05, p<.01), supporting Hypothesis 4.
STUDY 2
Method
Participants and procedure
The study began with a sample of 201 subjects drawn from three different organizations
(i.e., 102 nurses, 59 antique book repair specialists, and 40 pub employees). Ten subjects
were dropped due to an acquiescence response style (Guilford, 1954; Peterson & Wilson,
1992). The remaining 191 subjects were pooled together to comprise a useable sample.
We controlled for gender in this study, as the majority of the participants (over 85%)
were female.
Ta b l e 2. Intercorrelations of Study 1 variables
Var ia bl e 1 2 3
1 Self efficacy
2 Cognitive ability 0.05
3 Best reputation 0.21 0.18 –
Note.N=492 at time level, 164 at individual level.
Correlations greater than .09 are significant p.05.
Correlations greater than .11 are significant p.01.
166 Robert Zinko el al.
Ta b l e 3. Source of variables collected for Study 1
Self Direct contact Indirect contact Supervisor
report other reportother report∗∗ report
Reputation XX
Political skill XX
Expertise XX
Te n u r e XX
Autonomy XX
Power XX
Career advancement XX
Note. XX denotes the means of collecting the measure (e.g., political skill was self report).
Individuals who have daily contact with the subject.
∗∗Individuals who have contact with the subject less than three times a month.
The sample for this study was chosen in an effort to be as diverse as possible. The
reasoning behind this was, as stated earlier, that actions that would develop someone a
positive reputation as a nurse would be completely different than those of a book repair
specialist. What would be similar in the groups is the agreement of peers and supervisors
regarding an individual’s abilities to excel at the task at hand. Some of the nurses might
develop a reputation for becoming an expert in placing a difficult IV line, while one of
the antique book repair specialists may become known for being the best in the shop at
repairing a 600-year-old book spine.
In either case, when a difficult situation arose, supervisors would turn to the employee
who was best reputed to handle the situation. If the entire sample had been drawn from a
single, specific field, one could argue that the survey was measuring a specific behaviour
(e.g., repairing a book spine), as opposed to a general feeling of competence by others
in the organization. Using an identical survey for three different organizations eliminates
the possibility of this potential noise.
The research utilized a dyadic design in which employees responded to a question-
naire that was coded in order to match responses to supervisors or team leaders, as well
as evaluations from other employees. As shown in Table 3, data were first gathered from
supervisors regarding career success and tenure of their employees. Then, data were
gathered from the employees to include political skill, and autonomy. Next expertise
and power were gathered from a co-worker who saw the subject on a day to day basis.
Finally, data were gathered from a co-worker, who did not work with the employee on a
daily basis, in order to assess personal reputation. In order to correctly assign co-workers,
a supervisor first was asked to sort employees into lists of frequently seen and rarely seen.
Employees were then asked how often they saw the subject (i.e., never, rarely, often,
daily). All scales (i.e., other than tenure) utilized a 7-point response format ranging from
(1) strongly disagree to (7) strongly agree.
Measures
Personal reputation
Personal reputation was measured using the 12-item scale developed by Hochwarter,
Ferris, Zinko, Arnell, and James (2007), and completed by others. This scale consisted
of items such as ‘I am regarded highly by others’ and ‘If people want things done right,
Personal reputation in organizations 167
they ask me to do it’ (items were re-worded when gathering other reports). In an effort
to get a more robust finding, individuals were asked to rate others with whom they had
little to no direct contact. This suggests that the reputation would be based solely on
information provided by an audience. This is especially relevant as it builds upon Study 1,
in that it removed any direct action by the subject in the development of the reputation
(i.e., most knowledge of the subject was gleaned second hand, via reputation).
Time
Time was measured in this study by asking the individual’s supervisor how long the
individual had been employed in the organization.
Human capital
Expertise was used as the operationalization of human capital, and it was measured
by adapting the three-item measure developed by Brady and Cronin (2001), reported
by a co-worker who had daily interactions with the subject. A sample item is ‘I can
count on my co-worker to know his/her job’. An additional item was added stating
‘My coworker is an expert at his/her job’. In an effort to minimize same source bias,
expertise was measure by a co-worker that is in daily contact with the subject. This not
only provides a third point of contact, but also suggests theoretical parsimony from the
personal reputation measure as the report of expertise comes from direct observation
of the subject.
Social control and competency
Gathered through employee self report, political skill was used as the operationalization
of social control and competency, and it was measured using the 18-item Political Skill
Inventory developed by Ferris et al. (2005). ‘I am good at getting people to like me’ and
‘It is easy for me to develop good rapport with most people’ are representative items.
Power
Power was operationalized as referent power, using the four-item measure developed
by Hinkin and Schriesheim (1989). Like expertise, this measure was collected from
individuals who had direct contact with the subject.
Autonomy
Autonomy was measured using a three-item, self-report scale developed by Hackman and
Oldham (1975) as part of their Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS). The job autonomy sub-scale
measures the degree to which an employee has freedom, independence, and discretion
in performing job tasks. Although this is a mature scale with strong reliability evidence,
a fourth item (also developed from the JDS scale) that had been used in several previous
studies (Abraham, 1998) was added.
Career success
Career success was measured using the Turban and Dougherty (1994) three-item scale.
Managers were asked to rate their employees on this measure. A sample question is ‘This
employee has been promoted more rapidly than his/her peers’.
168 Robert Zinko el al.
Data analysis
Following the widely accepted approach of Anderson and Gerbing (1998), first the scales
were tested (i.e., measurement model), then the structural model was tested on a variable
(i.e., as opposed to item) level. Both the measurement model and the structural model
were tested using AMOS 4.0. SEM (Arbuckle & Wothke, 1999) was used as opposed to
regression analysis so that all variables could be tested at once.
Measurement model
Before the measurement model could be tested, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA)
was performed on the personal reputation scale. Although the personal reputation scale
has been shown to be of theoretical value, it has not been extensively developed as
a psychometrically sound measurement instrument. Therefore, to further advance the
refinement of the measure, an EFA was conducted using SPSS 11 (SPSS, Inc., 2003) to
perform a principal-axis factor analysis with an oblique, direct oblimin factor rotation
scheme. Because they were established scales, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was
used to test the remaining variables.
Structural model
The test of the structural model was conducted on the variable level. The items were
collapsed into a single variable, and an error was assigned to each. Whereas the model
could be examined on the item level, this model was carried out at the variable level as
a path diagram (Anderson & Gerbing, 1998) because the proposed research question is
concerned with the variables as opposed to any variance (noise) that may be produced
by already established variables. Like the measurement model, the structural model was
held up to similar fit requirements. Additionally, to validate the hypothesis, the alternative
models approach was used whereby several models were evaluated (Baron & Kenny,
1986). Paths were added and removed based on theoretical likelihood of a superior fit,
and 2values (divided by degrees of freedom) were compared to determine the best
fitting model.
Controlling for organization
The final model (Model 5) was run on each organization separately, which cut the sample
size down to between 40 and 60 for each model. To compensate for the low numbers,
bootstrapping was performed on each sample. There was no significant difference
between the 2/df for each model, so the samples remained combined.
Results
Table 4 presents the means, standard deviations, reliabilities, and correlations for all
Study 2 variables. The CFA showed a necessity to drop some items from the other scales
(see Appendix). Expertise, power, and autonomy, all dropped one item. Additionally,
six items were dropped from the 18-item political skill measure. None of the items that
were dropped from the political-skill scale were those of the original, single-dimensional
political skill scale. This is significant because this study examines political skill as a
single dimension and as such can present findings with a reduced scale that still hold
the same psychometric properties of past empirical work that viewed political skill
Personal reputation in organizations 169
Ta b l e 4. Intercorrelations of Study 2 variables
Var ia bl e MSD123 4 567
1 Reputation 5.53 1.18 .98
2 Political skill 5.53 1.18 .46 .98
3 Expertise 5.12 1.44 .52 .45 .95
4 Tenure 5.15 3.53 .30 .17 .31 1.00
5 Autonomy 5.14 1.54 .51 .67 .50 .17 .94
6 Power 5.13 1.50 .49 .42 .48 .31 .49 .97
7 Career success 4.76 1.48 .49 .36 .51 .18 .43 .49 .97
Note.N=191; reliabilities are on the diagonal. Correlations greater than .14 are significant p.05.
Correlations greater than .18 are significant p.01.
uni-dimensionally (e.g., Ferris et al., 1999). Furthermore, all measures presented retained
coefficient reliability alphas of .94 to .98. Such high reliabilities suggest that dropping
the items did not retract from the psychometric properties of the scales due to the high
correlations of the items (MacKenzie, Podsakoff, & Jarvis, 2005).
The initial measurement model allowed satisfactory data re-computation (2/df =
3.01, p<.05; Normed Fit Index (NFI) =.89; Non-Normed Fit Index (NNFI) =.91;
Comparative Fit Index (CFI) =.92; the root mean square error of approximation
(RMSEA) =.10). All factor loadings were significant, and most were sizeable (mean
loading =.67). Because Lagrange multiplier tests identified several multi-dimensional
indicators (Bentler & Wu, 1998), five multi-dimensional scales were discarded in a series
of measurement model tests to improve scale uni-dimensionality. Although loading on
their intended factors, these indicants reflected other factors. The final model fit the data
well (2/df =2.83, p<.05; NFI =.94; NNFI =.97; CFI =.97; RMSEA =.04, with a
CI of 90%). All factor loadings were significant, and the average factor loading was .72.
In discriminant validity tests, no confidence interval for any factor correlation included
1.0, suggesting that all factors differ from one another.
Of the 12 reputation scale items, 11 loaded on a single factor at an acceptable level,
explaining 85% of the variance. Item 4 loaded on the same factor at .61 and, therefore,
was removed (Conway & Huffcutt, 2003). The item in question was unique in that it
specifically asked about trust. The other items of the survey focused more on the aspects
of job performance (i.e., ‘If people want things done right, they ask this person to do
them’) and positive social perception (i.e., ‘This person is highly regarded by others’).
Due to the complex, multi-dimensional aspects that the word ‘trust’ carries, it has been
known to produce unpredictable results in measures (e.g., Hall, Camacho, Dugan, &
Balkrishnan, 2002). Dropping this item leaves 11 items to capture a single-dimension
reputation. This is more than a sufficient number of items to perform a CFA (Anderson
& Gerbing, 1998).
Table 5 presents the results of the SEM, nested models comparison. Figure 2 presents
the best fitting model, which was arrived at by considering both theory and fit indices.
Additional main effect paths were needed from expertise to both power and career. The
main effect paths were chosen because in this study, human capital was operationalized
by the measurement of expertise. As expected, expertise manifested itself via reputation
to positively correlate with power and career advancement. Due to halo effect and other
such common social perception errors (i.e., as well as legal issues), organizations often
170 Robert Zinko el al.
Ta b l e 5. Model comparison results in Study 2
Model Description 2df 2/df CFI TLIRMSEA
1 Hypothesized model 394.8 15 26.32 0.88 0.8 0.10
2 No mediation model 259.65 9 28.85 0.92 0.78 0.13
3 Null model 590.94 21 28.14 1 0.78 0.08
4 Partial mediation model 194.46 6 32.41 0.94 0.75 0.17
5 Best model 58.24 13 4.48 0.99 0.97 0.04
Tucker-Lewis Index
attempt to standardize their advancement processes (e.g., a ‘checklist’ of sorts that all
employees are measured by).
As such, although reputation would certainly play a strong role, promotions may be
granted on a more objective basis than other rewards. In this, one would expect that
expertise at a job may demonstrate a direct effect on advancement (i.e., due to the ob-
jective nature of many workplace tasks). Likewise, a certain level of social power may be
expected when an individual has advanced knowledge of a task (Pfeffer, 1992). We tested
an additional direct path from human capital to autonomy, but this relationship was found
to be fully mediated by reputation. This lack of a main effect could be expected because
autonomy deals with more than expertise at a task. Therefore, the final model presented
has additional paths from human capital to both power as well as career advancement.
Table 6 shows that the three antecedents accounted for 27.6% of the variance that
comprises personal reputation. The results demonstrate that the hypotheses tested in
Study 2 were all confirmed. Political skill (i.e., as an operationalization of social control
and competency) positively predicted personal reputation with an effect size of .31, thus
supporting Hypothesis 5. Expertise (i.e., as an operationalization of human capital) was
found to demonstrate a positive relationship with personal reputation (.39 effect size),
providing support for Hypothesis 3. Furthermore, tenure (i.e., as an operationalization
of time) was found to demonstrate a significant and positive relationship with personal
reputation, reflecting an effect size of .18, thus supporting Hypothesis 1. Therefore, these
results ‘constructively replicate’ (e.g., Lykken, 1968) the predictive (i.e., antecedents of
personal reputation) results from Study 1.
Furthermore, personal reputation positively predicted autonomy (.19 effect size),
power (.13 effect size), and career success (.27). Table 7 presents the results of the
Human Capital
(Expertise)
Social Control and
Competency
(
Politica l Skill
)
Time
(Tenure)
Personal
Reputation
Autonomy
Power
Career Success
Figure 2. Best fitting model as suggested by theory and modification indices.
Personal reputation in organizations 171
Ta b l e 6. Squared multiple correlations and standardized total effects of Model 5 in Study 2
R2Tenure Expertise PSReputation
Political skill 0.688 0 0 0 0
Reputation 0.276 0.179 0.386 0.308 0
Power 0.558 0.024 0.737 0.041 0.133
Career success 0.276 0.049 0.424 0.084 0.273
Autonomy 0.563 0.035 0.074 0.059 0.193
Note. All results are significant at p.01; Political Skill.
mediation analysis, showing the direct as well as the indirect standardized effects. Like
Table 6, Table 7 reflects empirical support for all hypotheses tested in Study 2, in that
personal reputation was found to mediate the effects of the independent variables (i.e.,
tenure, expertise, and political skill) on the dependent variables (i.e., power, autonomy,
and career success), thus providing support for Hypotheses 6, 7, and 8. Thus, the
Zinko et al. (2007) conceptualization of the antecedents and consequences of personal
reputation in organizations received empirical support in this research.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
In this two-study investigation, we proposed a working definition of personal reputation
in organizations as the extent to which individuals are perceived by others, over time, as
performing their jobs competently, and being helpful towards others in the workplace,
thus building on previous work characterizing reputations in the workplace by work-
related behaviour and personal characteristics that others perceive over time (Ferris
et al., 2003; Zinko et al., 2007). Thus, it was argued that individuals will be perceived as
Ta b l e 7. Direct and mediated effects of Study 2
Tenure Expertise Political skill Reputation
Standardized direct effects
Reputation 0.179 0.386 0.308 0
Power 0 0.686 0 0.133
Career success 0 0.318 0 0.273
Autonomy 0 0 0 0.193
Standardized indirect effects
Reputation 0 0 0 N/A
Power 0.026 0.053 0.039 N/A
Career success 0.04 0.084 0.062 N/A
Autonomy 0.033 0.07 0.051 N/A
Percent of effect that is mediated
Reputation 0% 0% 0% N/A
Power 100% 8% 100% N/A
Career success 100% 26% 100% N/A
Autonomy 100% 100% 100% N/A
Note. All results are significant at p.01.
172 Robert Zinko el al.
being competent and/or helpful at work to the extent they possess work-related skills
and abilities, social control, and competency to make others aware of these skills and
abilities, and that these individuals have the opportunity to make others aware of their
competencies at work.
Testing portions of the Zinko et al. (2007) model (i.e., that time, human capital,
and social control and competency factors serve as antecedents of personal reputation),
Study 1 provided support for the hypotheses. Study 2 constructively replicated the
antecedents found in Study 1, and extended the research by also demonstrating support
for hypotheses autonomy, power, and career success as consequences of reputation.
Contributions to theory and research
The overall intention of this research was to test features of the conceptualization
proposed by Zinko et al. (2007), which articulated antecedents and consequences of
personal reputation in organizations, and the results of the two studies provided strong
support. More specifically, researchers have suggested that personal reputation is formed
over time (Ferris et al., 2003; Tsui, 1984; Zinko et al., 2007). Power, discretionary
behaviour (i.e., autonomy), job performance, and compensation (i.e., as an indicator of
career success) also have been suggested as relating to personal reputation (Ferris et al.,
2003; Gioia & Sims, 1983; Pfeffer, 1992; Tsui, 1984; Zinko et al., 2007). This two-study
investigation provides empirical support for the assumptions set forth by these authors,
thus contributing support to theory in this area.
The findings of this research suggest that a large amount of the influence that
tenure has demonstrated on career success is mediated by personal reputation. This
suggests that developing and maintaining personal reputation is important at any stage
of career. Likewise, almost the entire main effect of expertise on autonomy (95%) was
mediated though personal reputation. This finding implies that being an expert is not
enough to gain increased independence in a position; an individual must be ‘known’ as
an expert.
A final contribution of the present investigation concerns the measure of personal
reputation, which was assessed from two different individuals who did not have daily
contact with the subject. This suggests that the correlation between the two independent
assessments of the subject’s reputation was based upon a collective agreement as
opposed to observed actions. The data collected offer additional validation for a scale
that has been shown to be of theoretical value, but has not been extensively developed
as a psychometric instrument. Furthermore, in the present research, personal reputation
is viewed as a generally ‘good’ reputation (Study 2), and a negotiation-specific ‘good’
reputation (Study 1). Measuring reputation in both contexts permits recording both
a general reputation and a context-specific reputation, and the results contribute to
research in both of these areas (e.g., see the Tinsley, O’Connor, & Sullivan, 2002 study
on tough negotiator reputation, for a context-specific example).
Although the present research investigation did not address the specific amount of
time it takes to build a personal reputation, it took the first step in developing this
relationship by supporting the theory that time is a necessary component in personal
reputation building (Ferris et al., 2003; Zinko et al., 2007). Anderson and Shirako (2008)
reported that personal reputation is related to individuals’ history of behaviour, but
some behaviours receive more careful scrutiny and have more impact than others.
Confirmation of the other antecedents proposed by Zinko et al. (2007) is a first step
in empirically establishing what constitutes the personal reputation construct. Different
Personal reputation in organizations 173
operationalizations of both human capital (i.e., GMA in Study 1 and expertise in Study 2)
and social control and competency (i.e., self-efficacy in Study 1 and political skill
in Study 2) converged to confirm the importance of these antecedents of personal
reputation.
Even though political skill was significantly related to personal reputation in Study 2,
it could be argued that the relationship between personal reputation and social control
and competency presented here is artificially low due to the restrictions placed on
how personal reputation was defined and measured. Many of the items comprising the
personal reputation measure asked about performance and results. Once the stream of
research is better developed, personal reputation can be examined in a more robust
light to include negative, unintentional, and purely social reputations. As the domain of
personal reputation is expanded, it can be argued that social control and competency
will play an even larger role in shaping personal reputation.
The outcomes of reputation, articulated in the Zinko et al. (2007) conceptualization,
and tested in this investigation, reflect the benefits of a positive personal reputation
at work. These outcomes are not intended to represent an exhaustive list of personal
reputation consequences, but rather an initial step in identifying the outcomes of a
favourable personal reputation. Nevertheless, the results of Study 2 (i.e., direct and
indirect paths) account for 27–56% of the variance explaining these outcomes. These
strong results suggest that the outcomes tested in this model reflect the consequences
of a positive personal reputation in organizations.
Limitations of the research
The intentional positive view of personal reputation presented in this investigation
does not account for purely social reputations, negative reputations, or unintentional
reputations. This ‘limitation’ is by design. A narrow view of reputation was chosen in
order to give crisp definition and findings to the underdeveloped phenomenon that
is personal reputation, as opposed to presenting broad, nebulous results that lacked
interpretability. Furthermore, this more focused perspective on personal reputation
allowed for a cleaner initial test of the Zinko et al. (2007) conceptualization regarding
the proposed antecedents and consequences of personal reputation. As personal
reputation becomes better understood, research should expand how this construct is
conceptualized, in terms of favourability, domain, and scope, and also how it is measured.
Although research to date in this area has tended to focus largely on reputation
favourability (i.e., with most concentrating on positive personal reputation), limited
work has been done on negative reputation (e.g., Flynn, Reagans, Amanatullah, & Ames,
2006; Tinsley et al., 2002). Moreover, the measurement of personal reputation must be
able to capture the norms and values of the group to which the individual is anchored.
Additionally, a potential limitation of this research could be the use of a student
sample in Study 1, assessing personal reputation within the context of in-class negotiation
sessions, and the generalizability of this to real-world contexts. If this was a stand-
alone study, that might represent a valid concern, because external validity evidence
would be unavailable, and merely speculative. However, the fact that the results of this
investigation were constructively replicated and extended in a field study (i.e., Study 2)
examining personal reputation indicates that there is generalizability across contexts.
Thus, this does not appear to be a serious concern here.
Finally, both Ferris et al. (2003) and Zinko et al. (2007) have suggested the potential
existence of a non-recursive loop leading from outcomes back to reputation. Therefore,
174 Robert Zinko el al.
considering that autonomy, career success and power feeding into reputation is a relevant
concern. Reputation exists in order to reduce ambiguity (e.g., Zinko et al., 2007). To
the extent that individuals feel they can predict the behaviour of others, they will not
feel a need to monitor their actions as closely. In the case of reputation, because specific
behaviours are associated with that individual (i.e., what that individual is ‘known for’),
a level of autonomy may be granted to the individual (i.e., because the individual’s
behaviour can be predicted).
This is supported by agency theory that dictates that a board of directors must
consider the cost of monitoring a manager’s actions versus the extent of positive gain
the individual will bring to the company (Eisenhardt, 1989). If there is a solid personal
reputation in place, the board can expect certain behaviours, and will not need to
monitor the individual as closely. Therefore, although autonomy may give an individual
a greater opportunity to shine (Morgeson & Humphrey, 2006), without the original
reputation in place, there would be no motivation on the manager’s part to extend a
level of autonomy to the subordinate. Similar arguments can be made for power. Not at
all surprising, autonomy and power correlated at r=.49 (p<.01) for this investigation
(i.e., Study 2). In order for power to be granted to an individual in an organization, a
supervisor must feel that the individual can properly brandish this power.
For all three consequences examined in Study 2 (i.e., autonomy, career success, and
power), there is a level of control built into the sample. None of the subjects were at a
level where they would have been hired in by a top-level executive search firm, based
upon their reputation (i.e., there were no executives in the sample). Therefore, it can
be legitimately assumed that the individuals who were granted power and autonomy,
and achieved career success, had done so over time (i.e., after impressions of them were
gleaned by others).
Directions for future research
Although the test of features of the Zinko et al. (2007) conceptualization provides a good
first step at developing a more informed understanding of this important organizational
science construct, more research is needed in the future to consider other potential
predictors and outcomes of personal reputation, as well as additional moderators and
mediators. For example, although this investigation examined political skill as it relates
to reputation, Ferris et al. (2007) has shown there to be a distinction between political
skill and constructs such as charisma. Such variables as charisma may be relevant in
examining how effectively one may ‘sell’ their reputation to others. Furthermore, those
high in charisma frequently are liked by others and, therefore, their actions may be
viewed in a more positive light.
Furthermore, future research should begin to examine and distinguish ‘situational
motivations’ from basic human motives that transcend specific situations. Fiske (2004)
identified a small set of basic human motives that underlie social interactions, and self-
enhancement is one of them. In this regard, we must consider the effects of such
situations on not only the motivations behind personal reputations, but also how others
will feel about our reputations. Indeed, those interested in basking in the reflected glory
of others’ reputations must be considered.
Following from Hochwarter et al. (2007) and Zinko et al. (2007), ‘character/integrity’
and ‘performance/results’ should be more extensively investigated as key higher order
dimensions of personal reputation. Tsui (1984) found that personal reputations for
performance are formed, and others have argued that reputations can form according to
Personal reputation in organizations 175
behaviours of fairness and integrity (e.g., Becker, 1998; Schlenker, Weigold, & Schlenker,
2008). Furthermore, performance/results and character/integrity assessments have been
found to be related to trust (e.g., Kim, Ferrin, Dirks, & Cooper, 2004) and selection (e.g.,
Cook & Emler, 1999).
Additionally, although most of those developing a reputation intend for that rep-
utation to be positive, there may be times when individuals may wish to reflect a
more aggressive reputation. In such situations, further examination of the reputation
phenomenon should be explored. Likewise, specific situations may call for those of either
gender to develop a reputation that departs from gender-specific norms (e.g., female
top-level executives). Future research might consider evaluating these dimensions of
personal reputation with respect to dimension-specific antecedents and consequences.
For example, recent research has demonstrated that improved status or personal
reputation is a consequence of helping or citizenship types of behaviours (Flynn et al.,
2006; Hall, Zinko, Perryman, & Ferris, 2009). However, upon closer examination, it
might be the case that such helping behaviour really impacts personal reputation mainly
through the character/integrity dimension (i.e., more than the performance/results
dimension). Alternatively, consistently producing high-level performance should build
effective personal reputation mainly through the performance/results dimension.
Conclusion
The systematic examination and development of personal reputation as a unique
phenomenon in the organizational sciences is important and needed. This two-study
investigation builds upon previous research and existing theory to test a conceptualiza-
tion developed by Zinko et al. (2007) of the antecedents and consequences of personal
reputation in organizations. We hope that these results will stimulate further research
interest in this important area.
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Appendix
Scales from Study 2 that had items dropped
Reputation items
1. This individual is regarded highly by others.
2. This individual has a good reputation.
3. This individual has the respect of his/her colleagues and associates.
4. This individual has the trust of his/her colleagues.
5. This individual is seen as a person of high integrity.
6. This individual is re-guarded as someone who gets things done.
7. This individual has a reputation for producing results.
8. People expect this individual to consistently demonstrate the highest performance.
9. People know this individual will produce only high-quality results.
10. People count on this individual to consistently produce the highest quality
performance.
11. This individual has the reputation of producing the highest quality performance.
12. If people want things done right, they ask this individual to do it.
Autonomy
1. I have a significant amount of autonomy in determining how I do my job.
2. I can decide on my own how to go about doing my work.
3. I have considerable opportunity for independence and freedom in how I do my job.
4. My job allows me many opportunities to use my own initiative and judgment.
Expertise
1. My co-worker is an expert at his/her job.
2. My co-worker gives me good technical suggestions.
3. My co-worker shares with me his/her considerable experience and/or training.
4. My co-worker provides me with sound job-related advice.
5. My co-worker provides me with needed technical knowledge.
Power
1. My co-worker makes me feel valued.
2. My co-worker makes me feel like he/she approves of me.
3. My co-worker makes me feel personally accepted.
4. My co-worker makes me feel important.
Political skill
1. I spend a lot of time and effort at work networking with others.
2. I am able to make most people feel comfortable and at ease around me.
180 Robert Zinko el al.
3. I am able to communicate easily and effectively with others.
4. It is easy for me to develop good rapport with most people.
5. I understand people very well.
6. I am good at building relationships with influential people at work.
7. I am particularly good at sensing the motivations and hidden agendas of others.
8. When communicating with others, I try to be genuine in what I say and do.
9. I have developed a large network of colleagues and associates at work who I can call
on for support when I really need to get things done.
10. At work, I know a lot of important people and am well connected.
11. I spend a lot of time at work developing connections with others.
12. I am good at getting people to like me.
13. It is important that people believe I am sincere in what I say and do.
14. I try to show a genuine interest in other people.
15. I am good at using my connections and network to make things happen at work.
16. I have good intuition or ‘savvy’ about how to present myself to others.
17. I always seem to instinctively know the right things to say or do to influence others.
18. I pay close attention to peoples’ facial expressions.
Denotes dropped items.
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... Can a positive, personal reputation simply be the result of desire? To date, the only outcomes that have been explored when considering personal reputation are based on an omni-dimensional scale (e.g., Hochwarter et al., 2007;Zinko et al., 2012). Although this scale provides a solid foundation for personal reputation research, it constrains nuanced reputation research which view reputation as multidimensional. ...
... Likewise, De Vos et al. (2011) discussed how being known for a specific type of expertise leads to employability, which in turn, aids in career advancement. Furthermore, those who are known for being experts are often granted higher autonomy (Zinko et al., 2012). This autonomy allows individuals to showcase their skills, by providing opportunities for proactive behaviors. ...
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