Relating word-of-mouth to corporate reputation

Martin Williams, Francis Buttle, Sergio Biggemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the relationship between customer-generated word-of-mouth (WOM) and corporate reputation. After a concise literature review, we present several insights from case study analysis of three organizations. Our main finding is that customer dissatisfaction and negative word-of-mouth (NWOM) are thought to have strong downside consequences for corporate reputation. Yet, positive WOM does not appear to have equivalent upside significance for corporate reputation. NWOM often occurs as customers express dissatisfaction because of substandard customer service. However, it is when these issues or other negatively connoted stories find their way into the public domain with the potential of wider electronic WOM spread through the Internet that reputation suffers. Fear of reputational damage causes great anxiety to the organizations' senior management. Reputations are shown to be fragile. Damage limitation strategies are implemented in all three organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalPublic communication review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s). Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


Dive into the research topics of 'Relating word-of-mouth to corporate reputation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this