Building and sustaining reputation in UK social enterprises: A multiple case study analysis
It is recognised that reputation is a valuable asset that contributes to a sustainable competitive advantage. Yet, reputation is also a fragile resource, which takes a long while to build up and can be squandered, devalued or damaged easily. Hence, building and sustaining a strong and favourable reputation is a crucial and complex task for organisations. However, studies have largely neglected the phenomenon of a ‘reputation collider’, which means that an organisation may have multiple and even conflicting reputations. This phenomenon is relevant for hybrid social enterprises given their competing institutional logics (combining both social and commercial objectives). Thus, exploring reputation in the context social enterprises provides a unique opportunity to develop a more sophisticated and dynamic understanding of organisational reputation, the social and cognitive processes surrounding its formation, and dynamic strategy to sustain reputation. In this study, a qualitative approach is chosen to describe, explain, and understand how reputation is built and sustained in the context of social enterprises. Specifically, two research strategies are adopted: grounded theory (for theory generation) and multiple-case study (for research design) to achieve the objectives.