Source from:
October 2016 Business SCAN

While public relations and communication professionals have often focused on how to repair a damaged reputation, October’s Guest Expert, Dr. Thomas Roulet, looks beyond defensive perspectives with his statement: “there may be no point repairing a bad reputation when it is actually an asset for an organisation and a driver of change.”

Power of Being Divisive. How a Bad Reputation Can Foster a Stronger Corporate Culture

Companies that invest time in explaining the virtue of their own activity to their employees benefit from an increased level of internal bonding that helps to motivate employees.

For example, if companies that face strong public hostility can persuade employees that what they and their organisations do is right, it can create a culture amongst their employees of “us against the rest of the world”, which is resistant to public hostility as well as triggering a spark for employees to work as a joint team. 

People are motivated towards consistency and congruence in their attitudes and beliefs, and in many cases, this corporate culture of “us against them” relies on cognitive dissonance: the idea that individuals will refuse to accept the truth (“my company is an awful devilish organisation”) when it is in conflict with well-anchored beliefs (“I joined this firm because it’s the best”).

How to foster corporate culture Strongly disagree Disagree Agree Strongly agree
Reputation, opportunities and risks, are factored into business strategy effectively
Sufficient resources are invested in explaining the virtue of your company’s activities
My company has a high level of internal bonding - what we do is right
My company has high resistance to potential public hostility

Guest Expert: Dr. Thomas Roulet, King’s College
Sources: [email protected] (2014) 2014 Global survey on reputation risk, Deloitte. Oct; Eccles R.G., Newquist, S.C., Schatz R. (2007) Reputation and Its Risks, HBR, Feb.; Pfeffer J. (2016) Why We Absolve Successful People - and Companies - of Bad Behavior, SBI, June 6.

Action Point

Use the table to evaluate your company’s handling of reputation risk by rating to what extent you agree or disagree with the statements.

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Power of Being Divisive. How a Bad Reputation Can Foster a Stronger Corporate Culture
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