Organizational Reputation can have multiple definitions. In a recent article, Lange et al. (2011) reviewed the management literature discussing reputation.

In their review, they categorize definitions of reputation into three general ideas:


Social Capital

Social Capital is defined as the goodwill available to individuals or groups.

As depicted in the figure above, the source of social capital lies in the structure and content of a actor’s social relations. The most appropriate theory to examine social capital is Social Network Theory because of its focus on relationships.


Spinoffs and Spawning

This stream of research looks at how organizations, or more specifically the people working in those organizations, create spinoffs.  Some of the questions in this stream include:

  • What types of employees are likely to start a spinoff.
  • What types of firms are more or less likely to generate spinoffs
  • What effect does generating a spinoff have on the parent firm?
  • What similarities do parent and progeny firms share?  How do they differ?
  • Does the parent firm of a progeny firm matter?  How?
  • What strategies do spinoffs pursue?  Do they differ from the strategies of de novo firms?
  • How do spinoffs ultimately perform?  Is this any different from de novo firms?
  • Are there characteristics that predict spinoff success and failure?


Financial Markets

Just in case it needs explanation, financial markets are the markets where people trade financial securities. This is an interesting area for research since it has such a big impact on publicly traded organizations.

There are several research questions and ideas that can be examined in this setting (and many fields comment on them including finance and economics). In management, we are concerned with things such as strategy, top management, corporate governance, etc. This is a small sampling on this research:


Exploration and Exploitation

Exploration and Exploitation is related to Firm Knowledge and learning. This perspective deals with the decision a firm makes to either seek new knowledge or to use current knowledge.  It is related to learning in that this decision represents the presence or absence of learning. This perspective came about with March (1991) where he points out an inherent tension between exploration and exploitation in adaptive processes.


Firm Knowledge and Learning

Previous posts discussed how the Resource-Based View of the Firm (RBV) and Dynamic Capabilities were two theories that emerged from strategic management. A third theory is the Knowledge-Based View.

This theory consists of viewing knowledge as the most important resource of the firm. Naturally, this theory is based on RBV as initially described by Penrose (1959) and expanded by Wernerfelt (1984) and Barney (1991).


Top Management

Just as Corporate Governance is concerned with the characteristics of Boards of Directors,  Top Management research is concerned with the characteristics of top managers.

In their 1984 paper, Hambrick and Mason lay the foundations of top management research, or what they call Upper Echelons Theory. This theory explores how the strategies and effectiveness of firms are related to the characteristics of their top managers.

The basic argument states that complex decisions cannot be economically optimized, and behavior dominates. Sot, the more complex the decision the more idiosyncrasies of decision makers matter. In their argument, they note that the composition of the entire top management team (TMT) matters, not just the CEO.  It makes sense to examine the team as a whole and to not just focus on the chief executive; in particular, heterogeneity in the TMT, and power differentials, can have a substantial effect on outcomes.