Cultural selection and its influence on perceptions of reputation within organisations

Johnston, Kim A. & Everett, James L. (2009) Cultural selection and its influence on perceptions of reputation within organisations. In Bledcom 2009 - 16th International Public Relations Research Symposium : Public Relations and Culture, 3-4 July 2009, Vila Bled, Lake Bled, Slovenia.

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The capacity to identify, interpret, and prioritise environmental issues is critical in the management of corporate reputation. In spite of the significance of these abilities for corporate reputation management, there has been little effort to document and describe internal organizational influences on these capacities. Contrary to this state of affairs in the discipline of public relations, a long history of ethnographic research in cultural anthropology documents how sets of shared environmental perceptions can influence and moderate environmental factors in cultural populations (see for example, Durham, 1991 ). This study explores how cultural “frames of reference” derived from shared values and assumptions among organizational members influence organizational perceptions, and consequently, organizational actions. Specifically, this study explores how a central attribute of organizational culture--the property of cultural selection-- influences perceptions of organizational reputation held by organizational members. Perceptions of reputation among organizational members are obvious drivers to both the nature of and rationale for organizational communication strategies and responses. These perceptions are the result of collective processes that synthesise (with varying degrees of consensus) member conceptualisations, interpretations, and representations of the environmental realities in which their organization operate. To explore how cultural selection influences member perceptions of organizational reputation, this study employs ethnographic research including 20 depth interviews and six months of organizational observation in the focal organization. We argue that while external indicators of organizational reputation are acknowledged by members as significant, the internal action of cultural selection is a far stronger influence on organizational action.

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ID Code: 26538
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: organizational culture, cultural selection, communication strategy, public relations
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 29 Jul 2009 03:44
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:05

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