What Were They Thinking? Exploring the Cognitive Underpinnings of How Stakeholders Assess Firms
IABS Conference 2011
10 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2014 Last revised: 27 Jan 2017
Date Written: July 11, 2011
Aggregated reputation scores and rankings have been rightly criticized for lacking a theoretical basis by which to weight the individual perceptions that form them. The resulting product can be a score or ranking that fails to represent the perceptions of many or even most stakeholders. Little attention has been paid, however, to the reverse. Rather than focus on how individual perceptions can be represented at an aggregate level,herein we focus on how an aggregated reputation can influence individual perceptions. We hypothesize that ratings have a significant influence on stakeholder perceptions,especially where other information is lacking. Through experiments, we find that exposure to reputation ratings provides stakeholders with an anchor point – information about what others think – and their perceptions of the firm are adjusted relative to this anchor. We suggest future work on reputation delve into the heuristics and biases boundedly rational stakeholders deploy when assessing firms.
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