Responding to identity and reputation dissonance in a management consulting firm
Harvey, William S.
Mueller Santos, Milena
Academy of Management
Research on reputation building suggests that it is linked to an organization’s identity. For example, Fombrun (2012) argues that companies with strong identities are more likely to gain attention and appreciation. While it is accepted that identity and reputation differ, we know little about how organizations manage the tensions that this may create. How, therefore, do organizations respond when identity claims are inconsistent with reputation? To examine this question we focus on a large management consulting firm. We contribute to reputation theory by identifying three mechanisms focused on work winning and execution that, collectively, help employees to bridge the gap between claimed identity and reputation. We suggest that these mechanisms help sustain the organization’s identity in the face of conflicting reputational evidence.
75th Academy of Management (AoM), Vancouver