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Personal reputation and the organization
Robert Zinko and Mark Rubin
Journal of Management & Organization / Volume 21 / Issue 02 / March 2015, pp 217 - 236
DOI: 10.1017/jmo.2014.76, Published online: 14 January 2015
Link to this article: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S1833367214000765
How to cite this article:
Robert Zinko and Mark Rubin (2015). Personal reputation and the organization. Journal of
Management & Organization, 21, pp 217-236 doi:10.1017/jmo.2014.76
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Journal of Management & Organization, 21:2 (2015), pp. 217–236
© 2015 Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management
Personal reputation and the organization
ROBERT ZINKO AND MARK RUBIN
Drawing from ﬁelds such as marketing psychology, strategy, social psychology, and organizational
behavior, the present examination explores the individual and organizational bases for personal
reputation; speciﬁcally, how different bases interact with one another to produce an individual’s
reputation within organizations. It is proposed that individuals use personal reputations to satisfy
their need for positive self-esteem as well as to secure their sense of belonging in organizations.
Furthermore, reputation allows individuals to obtain rewards such as autonomy, power, and career
success and the opportunity to signal key information to audiences. Likewise, organizations utilize
personal reputations to predict their members’behaviors, market those who are a part of the
organization to others, build their own corporate reputations, and signal information to consumers
and competitors. To further this understanding of personal reputation an examination is presented
as to how organizations serve as an essential context within which individuals realize their personal
reputations and regulate their behavior.
Keywords: personal reputation, reputation, self-presentation, gossip, signaling
Received 14 July 2013. Accepted 23 July 2014
Over the last decade, a body of knowledge has developed that examines why individuals
and organizations may wish to create positive reputations (e.g., Laird, Perryman, Hochwarter,
Ferris, & Zinko, 2008; Hall, Zinko, Perryman, & Ferris, 2009; Zinko, Gentry, Hall, & Grant, 2012b;
Laird, Zboja, Martinez, & Ferris, 2013; Zinko, 2013). Research has suggested that the outcomes of
possessing a positive reputation have such valuable beneﬁts, that both organizations as well as indi-
viduals often devote a substantial amount of resources to the matter (Gray & Balmer, 1998; Ferris,
Blass, Douglas, Kolodinsky, & Treadway, 2003). Indeed, at the organizational level, corporations that
develop positive reputations often enjoy rising stock prices, the attraction of talented employees, and
an increase in customers (Roberts & Dowling, 2002). Likewise, at the individual level, personal
reputation has been shown to be linked to power, career advancement, autonomy, and several other
positive results (Zinko, Ferris, Humphrey, Meyer, & Amie, 2012a). Although our knowledge is
advancing in both the areas of individual and organizational reputation, we have yet to fully understand
the effects that individuals’reputations may have on organizations. That is to say, both corporate as
well as personal reputation scholars acknowledge the value of organizations possessing individuals with
deﬁnitive reputations, but to date no existing theory ties the development of personal reputation and
its beneﬁts to that of the organization.
College of Business and Law, The University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 217
It is this disconnect in the literature between those building a reputation and the organizations of
which they are a part that this study aims to address. This is not done in an attempt to develop a
separate, alternative theory as to how personal reputations operate; but rather to show how current,
overlapping theories combine and interact, in a unifying manner. To accomplish this task, we draw on
several different ﬁelds of research in order to propose a model that relates existing theories and
PLAN OF STUDY
In an effort to view the construct in a more robust, contextual manner, this article explores personal
reputation by examining not only the paradigm that is personal reputation, but also its interaction with
the surrounding environment. To begin, we deﬁne reputation and discuss how it relates to similar
constructs. Then, we show the necessity of viewing personal reputation in the context of an organi-
zation (i.e., as opposed to an isolated construct). Next, we examine the current literature as it relates to
the subject of personal reputation in organizations. Speciﬁcally, we build a foundation that is based on
theoretical and empirical work that supports the current model being presented. Although this review
consists mainly of research from the ﬁeld of organizational behavior, owing to the issue that the
concept of personal reputation is still being developed, other ﬁelds will be referenced. Finally, a model
will be presented that shows the relationship between personal reputation and the organization. In this
representation, the individual basis for personal reputation is examined as well as how reputation is
developed in an organization. We end this research with prospects for future studies.
THE STUDY OF PERSONAL REPUTATION
Because the study of personal reputation is still in its infancy, there are still some issues regarding the
differentiation of the construct from related phenomena. In the past, similar terms such as image,
celebrity, and branding were used to describe reputation in the literature. This likely occurred because
until recently reputation often went undeﬁned in the literature (Zinko, Ferris, Blass, & Laird, 2007).
Because some of the texts that we are using to support the current model may use terminology that
differs from ‘personal reputation;’it is appropriate to not only speciﬁcally deﬁne reputation, but also
similar constructs in order to show how they vary from personal reputation.
Zinko et al. deﬁned personal reputation as:
a perceptual identity formed from the collective perceptions of others, which is reﬂective of the complex com-
bination of salient personal characteristics and accomplishments, demonstrated behavior, and intended images
presented over some period of time as observed directly and/or reported from secondary sources, which reduces
ambiguity about expected future behavior. (Zinko et al., 2007: 165)
This deﬁnition suggests that reputation differs from related constructs in various ways. Below, those
constructs are examined in light of their relation to reputation.
Ravlin and Thomas (2005: 968) characterized status as ‘differences in prestige and deference’that
result in some sort of ranking. Likewise, Rindova, Pollock, and Hayward (2006) suggested that status is
based more on networks and conformity to acceptable norms, and that one’s place in the network often
is related to the formal position an individual holds. That is to say, a portion (or all) of the value of
the social power descriptor may be attached to the position held (e.g., a CEO or government ofﬁcial).
Robert Zinko and Mark Rubin
218 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
This differs from reputation in that a portion of how individuals are viewed is tied to their positions.
The individuals’actions are based on how well they follow the expected norms of the roles for which
they are known. In this respect, status may be a part of reputation, but the construct of reputation
remains too broad to be considered equivalent to status. Indeed, individuals may gain reputations that
are completely unrelated to their formal positions. Furthermore, positive reputation is based upon
positive deviations from norms (i.e., as opposed to status, which requires following those norms). For
example, a junior academic who wins a relatively large number of research grants may develop a
positive reputation even though her formal position, and hence status, does not change.
Interestingly, those who are the best at following the norms and expectations of a role may gain
status; but in doing so, they actually deviate from the norms because only a few are able to achieve such
levels of accomplishment in the role. It is this accomplishment that brings status (Rindova, Pollock, &
Hayward, 2006). Therefore, status may be considered to be a form of reputation.
Like reputation, image is a socially constructed view (Zinko, Furner, Royle, & Hall, 2010). Roberts
(2005) suggested that image is based on our own assessment of ourselves, rather than an audience’s
perception of us; which implies that individuals’reputations may be completely different from their
images. Essentially, our image is our own perception of our reputation. Individuals who are low in social
astuteness may perceive their image as being something completely different from their reputation.
However, recent work by Hochwarter, Ferris, Zinko, Arnell, and James (2007) has provided evidence that
there is a signiﬁcant relationship between how individuals view their own reputation and how others view it.
Therefore, image and reputation, at times, may converge and be regarded as quite similar.
Fame relates to both celebrity and reputation. Zinko et al. (2007) suggested that fame acts like
reputation except that it does not provide the predictability of reputation. Fame can be acquired
through either a network (i.e., like reputation) or through the media (i.e., like celebrity). In both cases,
fame is gained through a particular event. If the event has only occurred once, then although others will
know the individual for the action, it lacks the repeatability to be used for prediction (Johnson, Erez,
Kiker, & Motowidlo, 2002). However, if an individual repeatedly performs this act over time, it can be
considered reputation because others will expect the individual to perform in the same manner in the
future (i.e., based on consistent past evidence). Therefore, a single event is able to bring fame, but not
reputation (Zinko et al., 2007).
That being said, what may start off as fame may become reputation. If the event that made one
famous is repeated often enough it will reduce ambiguity for the future, and others will be able to
predict one’s behavior under a certain set of circumstances.
Recent research has been conducted on both celebrity ﬁrms and celebrity CEOs (e.g., Hayward,
Rindova, & Pollock, 2004; Rindova, Pollock, & Hayward, 2006). Rindova, Pollock, and Hayward
deﬁned celebrity as those entities that ‘attract a high level of public attention and generate positive
emotional responses from stakeholder audiences’(2006: 51). Celebrity is (often) caused by a large
audience attributing the actions of an organization to an individual (Rindova, Pollock, & Hayward,
2006). Although, both celebrity and reputation are based on others’perceptions of an individual (or
group), the network that establishes celebrity is either purchased (e.g., public relations ﬁrms) or created
Personal reputation and the organization
JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 219
by newscasters who, consistent with fundamental attribution theory (for a review, see Harvey &
Weary, 1984), attribute the causes of company changes to speciﬁc individuals. In an effort to gain
television ratings, networks often create the celebrity reputation as opposed to individuals creating their
own celebrity (Hayward, Rindova, & Pollock, 2004).
This suggests that a CEO may gain celebrity purely through the public relations department of an
organization working with the media. As the ﬁgureheads of organizations, individual CEOs may
become celebrities, but they may not feel a need to adhere to the expectations that apply to what they
are known for because they did not take an active role in the creation of their celebrity. On the other
hand, reputation is actively built by the individual and, as such, the individual normally takes own-
ership of the reputation (Bromley, 2001). Ranft, Zinko, Ferris, and Buckley (2006) supported this
notion by suggesting that individuals who have developed reputations may feel limited in their actions
by those reputations. They proposed that if an action is not consistent with the reputation of the CEO,
regardless of how such an action may beneﬁt the company, the CEO may be hesitant to demonstrate it
because they are concerned about diminishing their personal reputation.
One of the major differences between the constructs of reputation and celebrity relates to the
acceptance of the reputation by the individual in question. In the case of celebrity, the individuals may
not care for what it is they are known. Therefore, they may not always act in a way that is consistent
with what people expect. On the other hand, those who are attempting to build or maintain a
reputation may be expected to act in a manner that is consistent with that reputation (Bromley, 2001).
As it cannot always be known whether individuals are actively seeking to reinforce their celebrity status,
the prediction of behavior based on celebrity should be undertaken with caution.
Similar to status, in which a portion (or all) of the value of the social power descriptor may be attached
to the position held, pedigree is wholly tied to an entity outside that of the individual but still directly
affects the individual’s reputation. Deﬁned as the history or provenance of a person or thing, especially
as conferring distinction (Oxford Dictionaries online, 2014), pedigree is often seen to affect personal
reputation when one has been associated with an elite organization (e.g., Harvard University, Navy
SEALs, etc.). Because such an association deviates from the norms (i.e., not everyone has been a
SEAL), part of what an individual is known for may emanate from this. Therefore, part of the
reputation of the individual is based upon such associations and these associations often add credibility
to the individual (Vedder & Wachbroit, 2003).
Rindova, Pollock, and Hayward (2006) suggested that legitimacy is primarily based on endorsements
by a higher authority, which tend to occur when an individual ﬁts well with the suggested values and
norms. Rao (1994) suggested that legitimacy comes through institutional recognition and awards. Both
legitimacy and reputation are created by others (i.e., legitimacy by higher authority and the institution,
reputation by an audience). However, reputation can be more proactive. Individuals may create
reputations for themselves (Ferris et al., 2003), whereas discrimination may prevent some individuals
from attaining legitimacy, regardless of their actions (Bojorquez & Kleiner, 2005).
Credibility is the ‘belief of an entity’s intention at a particular time’(Herbig & Milewicz, 1993: 19).
Credibility ﬁrst must be established in order to interpret the ‘signaling’that occurs with respect to
Robert Zinko and Mark Rubin
220 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
reputation (see Ferris et al., 2003). It is for this reason that current theory regarding reputation includes
an assessment of the attributions of observed actions (see Zinko et al., 2007). If an audience feels
that the actions of an individual are not authentic, then the reputation that occurs may be completely
different from the one intended by the subject.
Branding is very similar to reputation development because both are an attempt to successfully
inﬂuence those around us in order to achieve personal gain or rewards (Shepherd, 2005; Zinko et al.,
2007). Personal branding is said to reﬂect the corporate branding process, and follows three stages.
First, those developing a personal brand identify their key attributes. Then, they construct a compelling
‘personal brand statement’around this attribute set. Finally, they construct a strategy for making the
brand visible to the outside world (Roffer, 2002). This is very similar to the promotion of reputation,
but unlike branding, reputation may occur regardless of intent. Indeed, people often have unin-
tentionally negative reputations.
Impression management refers to ‘the process by which individuals attempt to control the impressions
others form of them’(Leary & Kowalski, 1990: 34). Although several articles have linked impression
management to reputation (e.g., Stephens & Greer, 1995; Montagliani & Giacalone, 1998), Bromley’s
(1993) work is perhaps the most comprehensive to date (Ferris et al., 2003). Bromley stated that
individuals often do not know how others perceive them, but at times they sense how they are affecting
others and try to change their behavior to obtain favorable impressions. Often viewed in association
with the different ‘inﬂuence tactics’that individuals may use to manage their impressions, those
attempting to manage others often have a speciﬁc goal, such as improving performance ratings
(Dulebohn & Ferris, 1999). In contrast, reputation is often viewed as a long-term investment with
multiple outcomes desired (Barney, 1991; Rao, 1994). Furthermore, reputation includes more than
just a manipulation of social power; it also includes tangible, veriﬁable past actions. In addition, unlike
impression management, the targets of reputation are often those who are not in direct contact with
the individual (Zinko et al., 2007, 2012b).
Deﬁning the scope of the study of personal reputation
In summary, although personal reputation is closely related to several different constructs, it remains
unique. We should also clarify that, because this review builds on existing theory, we restrict our view
of personal reputation to that of positive reputation. Although negative reputation may indeed prove to
be a signiﬁcant construct, very few have attempted to research the negative side of this construct on the
individual level (e.g., Harvey, Buckley, Heames, Zinko, Brouer, & Ferris, 2007). Given that the
purpose of this piece is to build upon existing theory in an effort to advance our knowledge of personal
reputation, an attempt to include negative reputation in a meaningful way would be an excessive
expansion of the scope of this study. Indeed, to even attempt to develop a meaningful deﬁnition as to
what is negative reputation one must consider not only how others view the individual, but also the
rewards granted for negative reputation. For example, if an organization is one that has a Machia-
vellian, cutthroat environment, then an individual who acts in an immoral manner may indeed be
looked upon negatively by some peers, but positively by others. Would this individual be considered to
have a positive reputation for being successful, or a negative one for being immoral? Would this
individual hold both reputations at once or different reputations in different contexts? Owing to the
Personal reputation and the organization
JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 221
level of knowledge that still needs to be developed about an individual’s reputation, to attempt to
address both negative as well as positive reputations is beyond the scope of this examination.
THE CONTEXT OF PERSONAL REPUTATION
Academics are frequently accused of examining single, isolated aspects of society and failing to put the
constructs that they explore into context. In the case of organizational behaviorists, all too frequently
we isolate a concept and make evaluations about it without considering the other facets of the
organization in which we view that variable. Indeed, we often ﬁnd the phrase, ‘these ﬁndings have
limited generalization’in the discussion sections of manuscripts, suggesting that the context in which the
construct is viewed is either nonexistent or limited. In viewing this problem of context in organizational
behavior, Porter (1996: 264) states that:
probably the most signiﬁcant failure of micro-OB, in my view, is that we have tended to ignore the ‘O’in our
studies of micro phenomena. We clearly have emphasized the ‘B’, especially in recent years, but we have by and
large been remiss in considering organizations as critical contexts affecting the behavior occurring within them.
In the years since Porter’s critique, very little has changed as the same call for examining constructs in
the context of which they exist persists (e.g., Johns, 2006). Therefore, we must look at reputations in
the context of the organization in which they exist.
Concepts such as basking in reﬂected glory, coat-tailing, and CEO celebrity have shown that an
individual’s reputation can affect more than just that individual; it can also affect the organization as a
whole. For example, according to Byrne (1999), although ‘Chainsaw’Al Dunlap ended up destroying
Sunbeam, the positive effect that he had on the stock price upon being hired was astounding. After
triumphs at American Can, Lily Tulip, Crown Zellerbach, and Scott Paper, Al Dunlap’s reputation
had preceded him. Even though he had yet to announce a single change, the company’s stock rose
60% the day following the statement that Sunbeam had hired him. The change regarding the company’s
‘worth’was based solely on value generated by the reputation of the new CEO.
Although research suggests that single individuals normally do not affect organizations in such major
ways as to warrant such a response by the public (Meindl, Ehrlich, & Dukerich, 1985), the perception
of the organization by an audience may still change. Furthermore, an individual with a powerful
reputation who belongs to or joins a group may not just affect the external view of an organization.
Indeed, when an individual with a powerful reputation joins a new department of an organization as its
head, that department may gain additional resources (Ferris et al., 2008).
When examining the beneﬁts for the individual of building a personal reputation, a developing
stream of literature exists. Tsui (1984) can, perhaps, be credited with ﬁrst introducing personal
reputation to the ﬁeld of organizational behavior. Applying existing theory from the ﬁeld of marketing,
Tsui suggested that reputation fulﬁlls marketing signals, whereby individuals communicate their
intentions to an audience. She also showed that individuals can have multiple reputations, and that
these reputations developed over time.
When viewing reputation in the context of organizations, one could surmise that an individual may
be motivated to develop a reputation different than those they may have in other contexts. Indeed,
Ferris et al. (2003) and Zinko et al. (2007) have suggested that individuals may use such abilities as
political skill to not only assess what reputation may be appropriate for each organization an individual
belongs to, but also how that individual may go about developing that reputation (i.e., this assertion
regarding political skill was later supported empirically by Zinko et al., 2012a). The Ferris et al. study
went on to show that reputations that are socially constructed are highly subjective in nature. In doing
so, the importance of viewing reputation in the context of the organization to which it is a part of
Robert Zinko and Mark Rubin
222 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
Similarly, Hayward, Rindova, and Pollock (2004) studied the closely related construct of celebrity.
They found that like reputation, celebrity needs a vehicle (i.e., audience) to drive it. For celebrity, the
‘vehicle’is usually the media. In the case of personal reputation, the organization (i.e., via gossip) is
how reputation is spread (Zinko et al., 2007). Foste and Botero (2012) examined the growth of
reputation by considering both the method of communication of personal reputation as well as the
‘message’that was being spread. Their ﬁndings suggest that when individuals enter organizations,
reputations are often used to ‘ﬁll in the blanks’about new employees.
Current research shows additional aspects of an individual’s reputation as it relates to others in the
organization. Foste and Botero (2012) examined the effects that the reputations of new employees have
on their supervisors. As reputations are often seen as a way of ‘signaling’ones intent to others (Ferris
et al., 2003), Foste and Botero explored the outcomes of not only what the reputational message is
expressing, but also how that message is delivered. They found that those who make requests that
beneﬁt the organization from their supervisors often enjoy a better reputation. Likewise, they found
that those who make those requests in a nonaggressive style also hold a better reputation.
Building upon these outcomes, one can apply Pfeffer’s (1992) links to personal reputation and
power; in which he stated that individuals who have reputations for being powerful often gain even
more power as their reputations spread. Pfeffer (1992) reasoned that a person reputed to be powerful
will meet less resistance when trying to accomplish tasks; and because these results are observable,
audiences will see the ease with which this individual is able to accomplish assignments and attribute
more power to him or her. Therefore, it can be surmised that one can build power and reputation by
requesting and receiving resources that may be of beneﬁt to the organization. What is yet to be known
is how external audiences will view an individual who builds their reputation via this method.
Laird, Zboja, and Ferris (2012) also explored the effects that one’s relationship with their supervisor
has on personal reputation. In this, they did not explore requests for resources, but rather leader
member exchange and organizational citizenship behaviors as they related to the relationship between
political skill and personal reputation. Their ﬁndings suggest that both leader member exchange and
also organizational citizenship behaviors partially mediate the relationship between political skill and
personal reputation. As Zinko et al. (2007) showed political skill to be an antecedent to personal
reputation, the Laird, Zboja, and Ferris ﬁndings support the Ferris et al. (2003) notion that both
actions (i.e., organizational citizenship behaviors) as well as relationships (i.e., leader member exchange)
play a role in the development of personal reputation.
EXTERNAL VIEWS OF PERSONAL REPUTATION
There has been limited exploration of personal reputation beyond the boundaries of the organization,
this exploration has normally been limited to CEOs. Nevertheless, this area of study warrants
examination as it furthers our understanding of the relationship between what Kydd, Ogilvie, and
Slade (1990) called our ‘internal reputation’(i.e., reputation being known within an organization) and
our ‘external reputation’(i.e., our reputation outside of the organization). In exploring ‘external
reputation,’perhaps the best-known examination is that of Meindl, Ehrlich, and Dukerich’s (1985)
‘The romance of leadership.’This study explored how prominent leaders of companies are viewed as
affecting both positive as well as negative outcomes of the organizations they run, regardless of the
actual causes of the successes or failures of the companies. Meindl, Ehrlich, and Dukerich surmised
that audiences looking for causality may focus on the head of the organization, as opposed to fully
analyzing the actual causal determinants of events and occurrences. This is consistent with Pfeffer
(1977), who suggested that there is a propensity to credit high levels of control and inﬂuence to leaders;
and that this tendency arises from private needs to ﬁnd causes among human actors.
Personal reputation and the organization
JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 223
Earlier, Al Dunlap was used as an example of how the hiring of an individual as CEO may affect
stock prices. The rise in Sunbeam’s stock price would be based on how Dunlap may be viewed
externally (Byrne, 1999). However, one may surmise that when an individual who has a reputation for
cutting personnel is brought into an organization, his or her reputation would not be viewed positively
by all audiences. Indeed, as reputations are based upon the norms and values of the group evaluating
the individual, one would expect the reputation that such a manager would have with employees would
differ greatly from that held by stock holders (Zinko et al., 2007). This would occur because different
groups may interpret the exact same actions of an individual based upon different values, norms, and
biases. Indeed, a manager may have a reputation among his or her employees of being a tyrant, but be
seen by the outside world as a brilliant leader (e.g., Steve Jobs) (Simon & Young, 2005). In addition,
the norms and values of an organization may shift over time. Therefore, the concept that what causes a
reputation to be built in one organization, but not another, can also be applied to time. What causes a
positive reputation to be built in one period of time may not cause an equally positive reputation
during another time period in an organization (Zinko et al., 2012a). For example, if managers in an
organization relax their policy about casual attire in a workplace and an individual still dresses more
formally (i.e., while those around this individual become more relaxed), the formal dress will cause the
individual to now ‘stand out’even though the behavior has not altered, but rather the norms of
the organization have changed. This individual would develop a reputation for dressing differently
(i.e., more formally) than his or her peers.
One of the most prominent ways that reputation can be transferred is via technology (e.g., email,
Facebook, etc.). Social media is a relatively new phenomenon in the area of reputation. Social net-
working sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn enable people to connect and share information about
themselves and their organizations with a large number of others online (Harris & Rae, 2009). These
new technologies have the potential to empower individuals and have some effect over their personal
reputation. For example, they allow individuals to strategically manipulate their personal reputation by
regulating the type of information that they display to others (i.e., signaling). Social media can also help
to satisfy the need to belong because it allows individuals to embed themselves within a community of
personally relevant others (Yan, 2011). However, other aspects of social media pose potential threats to
personal reputation because they are less controllable. For example, personal reputation can depend to
some extent on the quality and quantity of connections that one has with others as well as personal
endorsements from these others. Hence, personal reputation may be stunted if one has relatively few
connections, the wrong type of connections, and/or limited endorsements.
A MODEL OF PERSONAL REPUTATION IN ORGANIZATIONS
Although we have shown that there have been constructs that are related to personal reputation that
look at how an individual is viewed beyond the organization (e.g., CEO celebrity), most current studies
of leader reputation examine that reputation as viewed by those inside the organization (e.g., Mehra,
Dixon, Brass, & Robertson, 2006; Blass & Ferris, 2007; Zinko et al., 2012b) or by some outside the
organization, but still stakeholders (e.g., customers, stock holders, etc.; e.g., Hall, Blass, Ferris, &
Massengale, 2004). This section builds upon these works, offering a model that combines existing
theory in a synergistic manner in order to show not only the progression of the development of
personal reputation in organizations, but also how those reputations may aid the organization.
Figure 1 proposes a model that adds to the existing literature on personal reputations by suggesting a clear
understanding as to how individual and organizational bases for personal reputation interact and mesh with
Robert Zinko and Mark Rubin
224 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
one another. This is accomplished by presenting the theory in three segments. The ﬁrst section examines
the ‘internal drivers’that propel an individual to develop and maintain a personal reputation. In this
development, individuals foster images of themselves that they wish to strategically present to an audience.
This image is driven by a need for self-esteem, a sense of belonging, and a desire for rewards.
The next section of the model presents the organizational environment. This section details the role
that the organization plays in the development of the reputation. It offers the ‘context’for the
reputation in that it provides the norms against which the reputation is judged. That is to say, when
the individual deviates positively from the norms in an attempt to develop a positive reputation, others
consider that individual within the context of the values of the organization. The organization also
provides a mechanism to develop the reputation of the individual via gossip (Zinko et al., 2007).
The ﬁnal section of the model dictates the positive outcomes for both the individual as well as the
organization. The majority of examinations of reputation explore the potential beneﬁts of holding a
positive reputation (e.g., Laird et al., 2008). In recognition of the relevance of such research, we focus
on the existing empirical as well as theoretical ﬁndings regarding outcomes. We present both positive
outcomes for the individual (e.g., power and career success) and the organization (e.g., the ability to
predict the actions of the individual and basking). In doing so we show how one outcome (i.e.,
signaling) may be of beneﬁt to both the organization as well as the individual.
The individual drivers for a personal reputation
Organizational scientists have acknowledged the motivations to build reputation and have couched
them in more social terms, suggesting that these drives manifest themselves as the need for self-esteem,
need for rewards, and a desire to signal who we are to others. The following section explores these
drives as well as their positive outcomes (e.g., power and career advancement). The outcomes for the
individual are presented along with the drives because one of the primary drives is a desire for rewards.
To present them later in the document (i.e., alongside the beneﬁts for the organization) would detract
from the clarity of the text.
Need for Self-
Need for a Positive
Signaling Predictability Basking in
Benefits for the Individual Benefits for the Organization
Autonomy Career Success
FIGURE 1. AN INTERACTIONIST MODEL OF PERSONAL REPUTATION WITHIN ORGANIZATIONS
Personal reputation and the organization
JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 225
The need for self-esteem
In 1959, Cohen proposed that individuals are motivated not only to become their ideal selves, but also
to convince others around them of this image (Cohen, 1959). This psychological desire for a positive
personal reputation exists in order to ﬁll a basic need for both self-fulﬁllment and self-esteem (Bau-
meister, 1982; Leary & Baumeister, 2000). Essentially, human beings are social beings who have a
natural drive to have others see them as they see themselves (De Cremer & Tyler, 2005).
Building upon this notion, Tyler (2001) developed the concept of the reputational social self,
which posits that people are concerned about their personal reputation, as viewed by their peer
group (Tyler & Smith, 1997). Individuals usually form or join a social group. This group is typically
the most pertinent source of the individual’s personal reputation (Zinko et al., 2007). As such, these
close-knit social groups normally form the primary basis for an individual’s self-respect and self-esteem
(Baumeister, 1998). This view of personal reputation is supported by a number of different theories
within social psychology. For example, in 1954, Festinger suggested that individuals have an inherent
desire to accurately evaluate their own opinions and abilities (Festinger, 1954). When objective
measures are not available (as is often the case in social settings), individuals tend to measure them-
selves against others in their social setting. This allows individuals to assess their own reputations
through evaluations of their behaviors; behaviors that are reﬂected back to them by members of the
group (Emler & Hopkins, 1990).
Identity theory supports a similar view of personal reputation in that it posits that the self is
composed of several identities that reﬂect the different social positions that individuals hold within
their various groups. These identities reﬂect individuals’views and beliefs of themselves (Stryker,
1980). Moreover, validations of these preconceived self-identities are reinforced when the social
situations match the identities. Cast and Burke (2002) suggested that these validations imbue indi-
viduals with feelings of competency and worth (i.e., the two dimensions of self-esteem). Therefore, it
can be argued that a need for self-esteem will motivate individuals to create a positive reputation.
Proposition 1: Individuals will be driven to create a positive personal reputation based upon a need
The need to belong
In addition to self-esteem, social psychologists have recognized the need to belong as a signiﬁcant
driver of a positive personal reputation (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Although the need to belong is
related to the need for self-esteem, it remains a distinct construct (Zinko et al., 2007). The need to
belong to a social group drives individuals to not only establish a personal reputation that enhances
interpersonal bonds within groups, but also to develop a positive position within the group (De
Cremer & Tyler, 2005).
Proposition 2: Individuals will be driven to create a positive personal reputation based upon a need
The need to belong and to have others see us as we see ourselves may often result in an individual
attempting to ‘signal’his or her intentions (Ferris et al., 2003). Zinko et al. (2007) suggested that
individuals will likely focus on one or two traits for which they desire to be known, and this focus is
normally on something in which they tend to excel. Standing out in such a way may send a message to
those beyond their immediate surroundings that they desire to be identiﬁed by their performance in
that area (Carroll, Green, Houghton, & Wood, 2003). This phenomenon is reﬂective of established
marketing theory (e.g., Erdem & Swait, 1998), which dictates that reputation can be a form of
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226 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
‘signaling’(Spence, 1974). It is also in accord with economic theory, which suggests that individuals
inﬂuence reputations as a communication of speciﬁc characteristics to others (Diamond, 1989).
Proposition 3: The development and maintenance of a personal reputation will result in individuals
‘signaling’their intention to others.
The desire and attainment of rewards
Recent research regarding personal reputation has suggested that individuals with powerful reputations
in organizations are granted beneﬁts for holding those reputations. These rewards are often syner-
gistically related. For example, autonomy, power, and career success can work together to increase one
another as well as reputation (Zinko et al., 2012a). Although such rewards are not an exhaustive list of
the beneﬁts of reputation, they do represent a well-deﬁned set of theoretically sound results of
reputation that have been shown to exist across ﬁelds.
As set forth above, autonomy is one of the recognized results of reputation. Theory suggests that
autonomy within an organization will increase if an individual has a powerful personal reputation
because organizations feel less of a need to monitor that person’s activities as closely as they might
otherwise (Zinko et al., 2007). Such a decrease in monitoring is feasible for organizations because
individuals value their reputations and will not readily destroy them by acting in a manner that is
contradictory to those established reputations (Emler, 1984). As a result, organizations are able to
utilize reputations to predict an individual’s behavior. Agency theory (for a review, see Eisenhardt,
1989) as well as the developing stream of celebrity literature also support a direct connection between
autonomy and personal reputation by suggesting that those responsible for hiring may seek out
individuals who have established reputations because of a belief that those individuals who have
predictable behavior require less supervision (Hayward, Rindova, & Pollock, 2004). This was the
theoretical basis for Zinko et al.’s (2012a) study, which provided an empirical test of the link between
reputation and autonomy and found a direct, signiﬁcant, relationship.
Proposition 4a: Individuals will develop a reputation with the intent of increasing autonomy.
Proposition 4b: There is a positive relation between positive personal reputation and autonomy.
In addition to receiving increased autonomy, those individuals with strong positive personal repu-
tations may also be rewarded with increased power. Such phenomena occur because of the desire of
others to be identiﬁed or associated with individuals who have positive personal reputations. In the
ﬁeld of social psychology, this phenomenon is referred to as ‘basking in reﬂected glory’(see Cialdini,
Borden, Thorne, Walker, Freeman, & Sloan, 1976 for an overview). Likewise, there is also a signiﬁcant
body of literature in the ﬁeld of child psychology discussing the power that personal reputation brings
to individuals. This literature predominately focuses on the study of inner-city gangs. Gang members
desire reputations for being tougher than those around them. Gaining this reputation not only rewards
the gang members’efforts to rise to leadership but also helps them to maintain control of their
leadership positions (Emler, 1984). Such a result is also in accord with Pfeffer’s (1992) suggestion that
a personal reputation for being a powerful individual brings even more power.
Proposition 5a: Individuals will develop a reputation with the intent of increasing power.
Proposition 5b: There is a positive relation between positive personal reputation and power.
Career success is yet another outcome of personal reputation. Ferris and Judge (1991) argued that
workplace achievements are based more on social factors than they are on objective performance
measures. This suggests that those with powerful reputations would be able to use their reputations in a
way that would inﬂuence those around them. Furthermore, even when objective measures are utilized,
Personal reputation and the organization
JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 227
personal reputation has been shown to be related to actual performance (e.g., Herbig & Milewicz,
1993; Zinko et al., 2012a). These results are not surprising because reputation has been theorized to
affect such career advancement measures as performance evaluations, promotions, employee mobility,
and compensation (Ferris et al., 2003).
Proposition 6a: Individuals will develop a reputation with the intent of increasing career success.
Proposition 6b: There is a positive relation between personal reputation and career success.
In offering these outcomes for personal reputation, it must be noted that not all types of reputations
will result in all proposed outcomes. Indeed, theory suggests that reputation may be based upon more
than just the tasks that one performs as part of his or her job description. Reputation may be based on
social aspects such as being ‘the life of the party’or the level of one’s integrity (i.e., is this person
trustworthy?; Zinko et al., 2007, 2012b). When considering social reputations, research has suggested
that those who are highly politically skilled often develop social reputations in which they are fas-
ttracked, often beyond their technical abilities (i.e., receiving rewards of power, autonomy, and career
success). On the other hand, others might develop positive social reputations for being likeable, but
audiences may not see likeability as a reason to grant such rewards. Likewise, some individuals who
possess great technical skill may gain a certain level of autonomy, but may not necessarily advance in
their chosen career (Ferris et al., 2003). Although reputation has been shown to be typically advan-
tageous, it does not automatically equate to success.
The organization as a context for establishing personal reputations
Reputations are the result of information based upon observed behaviors that are shared and trans-
mitted among members of a group who hold an agreed upon perception of an individual (Zinko et al.,
2007). As such, reputations exist within the social norms and values of an organization. Therefore, in
order to understand how reputations occur, they must be examined in the context of organizations.
What might be unusual in one organization may be common place in another. These behaviors must
be uncommon enough so that others will ﬁnd them interesting enough to report the behaviors to
others (Haviland, 1977). In order to deﬁne this uniqueness, the organizational setting must be supplied
because such context provides the norms and values that dictate what is ‘interesting’enough to be
discussed (Zinko et al., 2007).
This organizational setting may play a key factor in dictating which organizations an individual
might seek to join. In the case of high performers, for instance, they may prefer to remain a ‘big ﬁsh in
a small pond,’as opposed to seeking entry into an organization where their high level of performance is
considered common place and, therefore, not special or extraordinary (i.e., and as such, the individual’s
actions would not warrant discussion by others, as what is being done is no longer out of the norm when
compared with others’behaviors). This is but one example of how the norms and values of the organization
dictate the actions or behaviors of an individual. Those observing such actions must do so within the
context of the organization in order to place an accurate positive or negative value upon the actions.
To illustrate, when examining a behavior that appears to be a deviation from the norm, the observers
must view the action utilizing the anticipations and assumptions that are a part of that organization.
These anticipations and assumptions are based on past information about the individual in question
(Weick, 1979) as well as expected norms derived from roles consistent with the context being observed
(Tsui, 1984). When individuals deviate from expected norms, others around them attempt to make
sense of their actions within the context of the organizational norms (Biddle & Thomas, 1966). Any
deviation that strays too far from these expected norms results in what Weick (1979: 4) refers to
as a ‘surprise.’
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228 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
When there is a surprise, the observers feel a need to make sense of the situation (Weick, 1979);
those individuals who have observed the unusual behavior seek to understand and attribute the cause of
the event (Heider, 1958). The framework for this consideration is that of the organizational norms and
values, applied to the prescribed role of the individual (Emler, 1984). Over a period of time, the
observers’continued assessments of the unusual actions of an individual result in the creation of a
reputation for the individual who engaged in the unusual actions (Biddle & Thomas, 1966). Once this
reputation is established, audiences will then imbue that individual with the appropriate rewards.
Likewise, Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, and Wetherell (1987) stated that social identities inﬂuence
one’s image because audiences categorize, stereotype, and interpret the behaviors of others depending
upon their expectations of the group they identify the other with. This relates again to norms. Varied
groups and organizations will have different norms and values, but some of those constructs are derived
from the larger society in which the group is nested. In demonstrating the inﬂuence of norms, Zinko
et al. (2012b) gave the example of an individual that may become ‘known’for being an excellent singer
in his or her church; however, individuals at the subject’s workplace may not care about singing, and as
such will not talk about it (Emler, 1984). Consequently, no workplace reputation based on singing will
be formed. Therefore, in order to gauge reputation, the measure used must reﬂect the environment in
question. That being said, if the individual wins a national singing competition (e.g., America’s Got
Talent), then this individual will also be known for that accomplishment in both the choir as well as his
or her workplace, because becoming a star on TV deviates positively from societal norms, the norms to
which both the work group as well as the choir adhere. Similarly, if society as a whole attaches a
characteristic to a group of people via stereotyping (e.g., Asians are good at math), then one could argue
that those wishing to build a reputation may capitalize on what others may already believe (i.e., based
on preconceived notions of the group to which that individual belongs). Therefore, if one is being
stereotyped, characteristics are already being assigned to an individual. If these characteristics are not
the norm, then a reputation may be built upon this belief.
The strategic manipulation of personal reputation
Although reputations are decided by an audience, individuals do have some inﬂuence regarding how others
view them. This inﬂuence is garnered by regulating the behaviors that others observe. By engaging in such
reputation building, an individual’s behavior may signal to others that which he/she wishes to commu-
nicate. To explain this phenomenon, Zinko et al. (2007) applied Carver and Scheier’s (1981) theory of self-
regulatory process. The ﬁrst step in this process is for the individual to compare the current situation to that
of a standard or norm. If the current situation cannot be reconciled with the standard, then most individuals
will attempt to alter their behavior to align the situation with that standard or norm.
Once the regulating behavior is performed, the situation will be reevaluated, and if it still cannot be
reconciled with the norm, then the behaviors will continue to be motivated and altered to reduce this
discrepancy until the situation matches the norm (Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1994). Those who
are attempting to build reputations, however, do not follow this pattern. Indeed, Zinko et al. (2007)
suggest that instead of attempting to normalize the situation, those who are attempting to build a
reputation will use this process to deﬁne the standard, then deliberately deviate from this norm in an
effort to be noticed (i.e., signaling their intentions). Such behavior is similar to the adaptive self-
regulation approach to managerial effectiveness proposed by Tsui and Ashford (1994).
Proposition 7: Positive reputations are established by deviating positively from norms.
Organizational dissemination of personal reputations
Although an individual is able to control his or her actions and may thus have some inﬂuence over his/her
reputation, reputation is nevertheless ultimately determined by an audience. One of the primary
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JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 229
mechanisms by which an audience determines a reputation is by the observation of deviations of behavior
beyond what the organizational norms would normally prescribe. The audience transfers these observations
to others through the dissemination of gossip (Zinko et al., 2007). Unlike information that is received
directly from an individual attempting to create a reputation, information received through gossip is more
readily believed and accepted by an audience. This belief is fostered by suspicions that information received
directly from the individual is self-serving and, therefore, untrustworthy (Haviland, 1977).
Although gossip may be viewed as negative in organizations (e.g., Baumeister, Zhang, & Vohs,
2004), in the context of personal reputation, it is a necessary component (Zinko et al., 2007). Deﬁned
as ‘idle talk’or ‘chit chat’about daily life, gossip contains an evaluative component regarding its subject
(Haviland, 1977). It is this evaluative aspect that is crucial for developing and maintaining a repu-
tation. Gossip provides a mechanism by which the conclusions of this evaluation can be disseminated.
It is this dissemination that spreads the reputation of the individual who engaged in the unusual
behavior throughout the organization (Emler, 1994; Zinko et al., 2007). The group assessment also
serves as a mechanism by which the group increases social bonds and solidarity by holding an agreed
upon interpretation of witnessed and relayed events (Noon & Delbridge, 1993).
Proposition 8: Reputation is disseminated through gossip.
Positive outcomes for the organization
There are many beneﬁts that individuals derive through the development of positive personal
reputations. As explained earlier, reputations are used to obtain rewards such as autonomy, power,
and career success (e.g., Zinko et al., 2012a). They are used to satisfy individual needs for positive self-
esteem and to secure a sense of belonging. They are also utilized as tools whereby key information
about an individual is signaled to others (Ferris et al., 2003). It is not solely individuals, however, that
may beneﬁt from the use of personal reputations. Organizations also have the potential to affect and
beneﬁt from aspects of the personal reputations of members. In the following sections, we discuss how
organizations utilize personal reputations to predict an individual’s behavior, market individuals, build
their own corporate reputations, and signal information to consumers and competitors.
One manner in which an organization may obtain a beneﬁt from the personal reputation of an
individual is through recognition that a personal reputation can be used to predict an individual’s
behavior. Because there is often uncertainty as to the level of trust that should be granted to an
individual, organizations look toward reputations in order to decrease ambiguity about the individual.
For example, if an individual has a reputation for successfully leading organizations into innovations, it
can be assumed that this behavior will continue once they become a part of the new organization. This
past behavior and the developed reputation is used by organizations to render predictions about future
behavior and reduces the risk of employing ineffective individuals (Zinko et al., 2007).
The advantages that organizations derive from employing individuals with established reputations can also
be viewed in terms of organizational efﬁciency. Using agency theory, those in power can use reputation to
assess the individual in questing via a cost/beneﬁt analysis (i.e., the cost of monitoring an individual’sactions
must be measured against the potential beneﬁt of allowing the individual entry into the organization;
Eisenhardt, 1989). If the individual has a solid positive reputation, the management can expect certain
behaviors reﬂective of that reputation. Organizational resources may not need to be allocated to monitoring
and are instead available for assignment to other areas or to simply be held in reserve. Therefore, one could
argue that positive personal reputation has a favorable impact upon the overall efﬁciency of the organization.
Proposition 9: Established reputations are characterized by a level of predictability.
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230 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
Basking in the reﬂected glory of individuals
Organizations also have a vested interest in being associated with individuals who have a powerful and
positive reputation. As noted earlier, individuals may bask in the reﬂected glory of other individuals’
personal reputations. This desire to be around and associated with those who have a powerful repu-
tation is not simply to gain rewards. Indeed, research suggests that there is a primal drive to be
associated with such individuals. In an experiment with primates, Deaner, Khera, and Platt (2005)
found that monkeys would rather view a photo of a higher status monkey than gain a physical reward
(i.e., a serving of juice that the monkeys were shown to enjoy). Similarly, Helm (2011) found that
employees’perceptions of corporate reputation positively predicted their pride in being afﬁliated with
the corporation. Findings such as these suggest that there exists a willingness to make sacriﬁces in order
to be around those who we perceive to be socially superior to us. It could be argued that this desire to
be near those with power is one of the driving mechanisms behind basking.
When considering organizations, one can suggest that similar beneﬁts can be gained from the
personal reputations of its members. Organizational basking results in an audience reassessment
of the organization to now include the reputation of the individual who is part of that group. The
organization is then seen in a more favorable light by the audience. This can manifest itself in several
positive manners such as through stock price increases or, if the basking is conﬁned to a speciﬁc
department within the organization, through the allocation of additional resources to that department
(Ferris et al., 2008). For this reason, organizations may often be involved in ‘purchasing’an individual’s
This phenomenon is perhaps most readily illustrated in the arena of professional sports. For example,
when Michael Jordan left basketball and joined a minor league baseball team, the team was not only
purchasing his skill as a baseball player (which was widely acknowledged to be far below his skill
as a basketball player through which he attained his fame), but also his fame as a sports ﬁgure in
general. The famous basketball player, Michael Jordan, became part of the product that was the minor
league baseball team. This organizational basking resulted in increased ticket and product sales
In sum, when an organization takes in an individual with a powerful reputation, that individual
becomes part of how that organization is perceived (Wade, Porac, Pollock, & Grafﬁn, 2006). Thus, a
positive perception of an individual may be transferred to the perception of the organization. The
potential beneﬁt that an organization may receive from such transference is limited only by the
boundaries of the reputation of the individual. The more powerful the reputation of the individual,
the more powerful the reputation of the organization may become. Moreover, this basking is not
limited solely to the organization as a whole but may also be reﬂected within particular departments of
Proposition 10: Established reputations may lead to an enhanced reputation for the organization
via basking in reﬂective glory.
We propose that signaling is yet another beneﬁt of reputation building that is shared by both indi-
viduals and the organization as a whole. Like individuals, organizations may signal their intentions
though actions. For example, the entry of an individual with a positive reputation into the organization
sends a positive signal to the audience. In the marketing arena, positive signaling communicates a
message to consumers and competitors that the organization is responding to market expectations.
To illustrate, when Apple sales were slumping in 2005, the company brought back Steve Jobs, and the
market responded positively, owing to the message that Apple was sending by rehiring Steve Jobs. Jobs
was known as an innovator, a reputation that Apple was losing. By associating themselves with Jobs,
Personal reputation and the organization
JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION 231
Apple was able to signal their intent to return to innovation (Simon & Young, 2005). Such signaling,
over time will build an organization a positive reputation (Herbig & Milewicz, 1993).
Proposition 11: Organizations may signal intent to external audiences via the reputations of their
An examination of personal reputation across ﬁelds reveals several common themes that are appropriate
for uniﬁcation. The model presented in this paper is an effort to begin that process. It proposes that
there is a complex set of dynamics that underlie personal reputation in organizations. Contextually,
organizations are shown to be essential frameworks within which individuals realize or attain their
personal reputations. Within this framework, organizational gossip is used to disseminate information
about individuals and create or enhance a member’s personal reputation. For those individuals who
enter into the organization already in possession of powerful personal reputations, the organization may
attempt to leverage that reputation to improve its own standing with audiences. The organization is
able to use the personal reputation of the new member to signal a speciﬁc positive message to its target
audience. When considering the beneﬁts for the individual as well as the organization signaling is an
Although this examination of reputation links together themes across ﬁelds, it is in no way
exhaustive of the nuances and ﬁndings contained within speciﬁc areas of study. Rather, the ﬁndings
presented in this study are offered as a framework for future research into personal reputation. Further
study regarding the subject matter is necessary to better understand the construct. The following
section discusses the limited scope of this review as well as offers guidance for future inspections.
Limitations and future research
In this review, only the positive aspects of reputation and its potential beneﬁts for the individual and
his/her organization have been discussed. The association between a negative personal reputation and
that of the organizations has yet to be fully explored. An examination of this relationship could provide
a signiﬁcant contribution to the ﬁeld because an individual’s personal reputation may adversely impact
both the individual and his/her organization.
In addition, the possibility that a synergistic relationship may develop between powerful individuals
and powerfully reputed organizations when the individual becomes a member of the organization also
represents an area ripe for research. In such a situation, it may well be that both the individual as well as
the organization reap rewards, or perhaps one reputation may overshadow the other. An example of
this overshadowing may occur when an individual considered a superstar or a ‘big ﬁsh in a small pond’
at one organization joins an organization of superstars. That individual may no longer reap the rewards
that were available at his/her previous organization because those same qualities are not considered
special or extraordinary at the new organization.
An exploration of the manner in which different dimensions of an individual’s reputation affect his
or her organization may also be worthy of examination. Although this review only addressed reputation
as a general concept; in actuality, there may be several dimensions. For example, individuals may be
known in an organization for their level of work (e.g., being an expert in a speciﬁc task), but also for
social aspects (e.g., being the superstar of the company’s softball league). It is also possible that an
individual may have both negative and positive dimensions to his reputation. Determining which
dimensions contribute to a positive organizational outcome could provide a signiﬁcant advance in
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232 JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT & ORGANIZATION
Although we address one’s personal reputation online, as what is considered ‘online’is still being
developed, so too must our examination of online reputation. Indeed, the migration from such
networks as Myspace onto Facebook and LinkedIn, then to Twitter and Snapchat offers a continuous
development of not only social platforms, but also tools for developing reputations. Furthermore, with
the speed at which information is now shared, will the building of reputations also become faster? The
implementation of technology in the development of reputation will also have to address the issue of
how much an audience trusts the source of the information that is made available. Indeed, audience
members hear about a deviation from the norms via others. Typically, this is a trusted colleague (Zinko
et al., 2007). As technology becomes more a part of our lives, it will become more important to
empower individuals to make valid appraisals about the trustworthiness of the sources of information
that they are accessing.
An additional issue, one that plagues many constructs in the organizational sciences, is the parallel
existence of similar concepts across the different ﬁelds. The ﬁrst few pages of this article were spent clarifying
the differences and similarity between constructs such as impression management, fame, branding, etc.
As personal reputation is still relatively new in the management literature, much can be learned by
examining similar constructs and ﬁndings from other ﬁelds. Indeed, the area of corporate reputation, while
different in many ways, may hold the answer to several questions regarding personal reputation. Likewise,
the relationship between corporate reputation and personal reputation is worthy of examination. Although
this article outlines a general relationship between the two, further scrutiny is warranted.
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