Strategic Responses to the Reputation Commons Problem

ORGANIZATIONS, POLICY, AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: INSTITUTIONAL AND STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES, A. Hoffman and M. Ventresca, eds., pp. 393-406, Stanford University Press, 2002

15 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2004

See all articles by Andrew A. King

Andrew A. King

Questrom School of Business- Boston University

Michael Lenox

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Michael L. Barnett

Rutgers Business School, Newark & New Brunswick

Abstract

Firms within an industry often find themselves tarred by the same brush. When accidents occur, stakeholders often punish both the offending firm and the entire industry. In this way, a firm's reputation may be tied to other firms, and so reputation may be a common resource shared by all members of an industry - what we term a reputation commons. As with many shared resources, an industry's reputation may be overexploited. A firm can benefit from the favorable reputation of an industry even as it takes individual actions that may harm this shared reputation. In this chapter, we explore when a reputation commons is likely to occur and discuss how firms individually and collectively respond to the problems associated with it. We propose that firms can solve the reputation commons problem by reducing the sanctioning ability of stakeholders and by privatizing reputation.

Keywords: Tragedy of the commons, reputation, collective action

Suggested Citation

King, Andrew A. and Lenox, Michael and Barnett, Michael L., Strategic Responses to the Reputation Commons Problem. ORGANIZATIONS, POLICY, AND THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: INSTITUTIONAL AND STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES, A. Hoffman and M. Ventresca, eds., pp. 393-406, Stanford University Press, 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=624201

Andrew A. King

Questrom School of Business- Boston University ( email )

Boston, MA 02215
United States

Michael Lenox

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.darden.virginia.edu/LenoxM/index.htm

Michael L. Barnett (Contact Author)

Rutgers Business School, Newark & New Brunswick ( email )

NJ
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.rutgers.edu

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