Building reputation through organisational values: A case study of a private hospital in Malaysia
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To publish papers from the thesis.
Theories within organisation and management studies have offered several concepts and models which indicate that organisational values are important factor for organisational success, including reputation building. Nevertheless, existing theory is still inadequate to explain the link between organisational values and organisation’s reputation because it does not account for the enabling factors that underlies the two concepts. This study argues that the implementation of organisational values is an important organisational action for acquiring positives perceptions of organisational values which influences employee behaviour and shapes organisational reputation. It specifically shows and elucidates the enabling mechanisms that reinforce organisational values to impact on employee perceptions and behaviour. This is important because when employees share and exemplify the values in their work, they are likely to behave in ways that support the organisation’s strategy which impacts on external perceptions and build reputation. This study employed a qualitative approach through a single in-depth case study. It reflects that the understanding of ‘what is going on’ within organisation is most appropriately achieved by building concepts and constructs from empirical studies. By using semi-structured interviews, focus groups and non-participant observations, the data develops and evolves through the responses and behaviours of participants. Employees were selected through purposive sampling and the snow-balling technique was used to reach customers. The data were structured and coded using thematic analysis. The findings revealed that the process of aligning organisational values and employee values is significant for understanding how organisational values influence employee behaviours, which in turn enable the organisation to build its reputation. The data suggest that four remediation phases: aware, articulate, accept and act, are important for explaining how a gap between organisational values and employee values can be reduced. This remediation process enabled the senior management team and employees to understand how their perceptions and reactions towards the implementation of organisational values impact upon attitudes and behaviours. The findings suggest that organisational values can be reinforced through various social influences. Social interactions can occur in different forms including the involvement of leaders of the management team in creating, exampling and communicating values as well as through expanding the employee’s role in enacting values through empowerment and trust building. However, the findings emphasise that the process of cascading and instilling values through a top-down or hierarchical is no feasible. Instead, it is a hybrid approach that requires employee buy-in and involvement especially in communicating and enacting organisational values. This is an important insight because employees regularly interact with each other which provide a valuable platform to persuade and influence other colleagues to embrace organisational values. Additionally, the findings also build on the reputation literature by demonstrating the role of reciprocity and mimicking in behaviour as the consequences of social interactions within the organisation. The opportunity to regularly interact with colleagues enables employees to want to reciprocate in return for what they have received in the workplace. This tacit understanding of reciprocity for mutual benefit and the tendency to imitate other’s behaviour improves employee perceptions of organisations which in turn contribute towards reputation building. The study advances current understandings in the organisational reputation literature by providing a unique theoretical and empirical insight into how organisational values can impact on reputation building. It also highlights the important role of internal mechanisms for shaping both internal perceptions and behaviour as well as external perceptions of organisations.
Harvey, William S
PhD in Management Studies