Lens or prism? How organisations sustain multiple and competing reputations

William S. Harvey*, Marwa Tourky, Eric Knight, Philip Kitchen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to challenge singular definitions, measurements and applications of corporate reputation which tend to be reductionist. The authors rebuff such narrow representations of reputation by showing the multiplicity of reputation in the case of a global management consulting firm and demonstrate how it has sustained such reputations. 

Design/methodology/approach: Using a large cross-country qualitative case study based on interviews, focus groups, non-participant observations, workshops and a fieldwork diary, dimensions of reputation are highlighted by drawing on perceptions from multiple stakeholder groups in different geographies.

Findings: The authors find significant differences in perceptions of reputation between and within stakeholder groups, with perceptions changing across dimensions and geographies.

Originality/value: The theoretical implications of the research indicate a plurality of extant reputations, suggesting that a prism is more suited to representing corporate reputation than a singular, lens-like focus which is too narrow to constitute reputation. This paper offers theoretical and practical suggestions for how global firms can build and sustain multiple and competing corporate reputations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-844
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Case study
  • Corporate reputations
  • Geographies
  • Prism
  • Professional service firms
  • Stakeholders

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