شهرت شرکت در جمهوری خلق چین: چشم انداز B2B
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23796||2010||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7984 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 5, July 2010, Pages 728–736
How B2B firms in the People's Republic of China [PRC] view, value and manage their corporate reputation has received little research attention. Drawing on multiple case studies, our findings confirm that firms are utilizing certain Western conceptualizations of corporate reputation, including the leveraging of intangible forms of corporate reputation. However, many of the firms were also using the hitherto underemphasized elements of firm–government relationships and government regulatory policies to create positive assessments of a firm's reputation among key stakeholders. Notwithstanding our findings that corporate reputation is valued as a means of gaining competitive advantage and dispelling perceptions that Chinese products/services are low-cost and low-quality, concern remains that building reputation capital among stakeholders may result in a loss of price competitiveness. Finally, unlike the framework proposed by Barnett, Jermier, and Lafferty (2006), our results suggest that B2B firms in China do not impose clear boundaries between reputation and ‘corporate reputation capital’. Nor does there appear to be an emphasis on disaggregating the constructs of identify and image from that of reputation.
Irrespective of domicile, firms today generally recognize the importance of corporate reputation (Bennett & Kottasz, 2000, Devine & Halpern, 2001, Dolphin, 2004, Kitchen & Laurence, 2003 and Pharoah, 2003). Nevertheless, Lines (2004) has suggested that compared to their North American counterparts, Asian executives place greater emphasis on the linkage between corporate reputation and such tangibles as stock prices, sales figures, and the formation of strategic partnerships. This more tangible orientation is also present in Asian approaches to brand management (Ewing, Napoli, & Pitt, 2001). Conversely, European and North American executives place greater emphasis on identifying ways that corporate reputation can be leveraged to deliver intangible outcomes, particularly the recruitment and retention of employees (Lines, 2004). In understanding such differences, it is important to consider the context in which firms operate. Johns (2001) eloquently argues that context is a critical variable to consider in seeking understanding of the nexus between a person and their situation. Moreover, Tsui (2007) has expressed concerns that an overemphasis on prevailing North American management research paradigms may in fact thwart the development of ‘global management knowledge’ by overlooking the valuable insights that can be gained from examining novel contexts. Taken together, contextual factors may help to explain differences in the emphasis given to corporate reputation among Asian CEOs and those in the West. Furthermore, studies focusing on context may help concretize whether boundary conditions exist in the minds of senior management when they conceptualize and utilize strategies to build their firm's reputation. This has theoretical implications given the divergent definitions of the reputation construct (see Barnett, Jermier, & Lafferty, 2006). The influence of context-specific factors on the adoption and utilization of strategies to build and/or maintain corporate reputation in China is of particular importance for a number of reasons. First, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has been experiencing an unprecedented industrial boom across multiple industry sectors (see OECD [Organization for Economic & Cooperation Development], 2005 and Schott, 2008). For example, in 2007 China's real GDP increased by 11.4%, the most rapid rate of annual growth since 1994 (Morrison, 2008). Second, indigenous Chinese firms are increasingly becoming important players in local and international markets. As such, keeping abreast of their approaches to developing and/or leveraging corporate reputation is of strategic importance, especially in a tightening economic climate where firms are under increasing pressure to maintain competitive advantage. Third, firms’ understanding of corporate reputation in China remains under-researched (Fombrun & Pan, 2006 and Zyglidopoulos & Reid, 2006). Specifically, little is known about whether firms in China perceive, build, manage, and/or measure corporate reputation in a more traditional Western-centric manner or whether they have developed their own context-specific approaches. This issue is particularly important given the tendency for existing research literature on China to be homogenized to US-centric norms (Tsui, 2004 and Tsui, 2007). In response to Tsui's (2007) call for more culturally specific and culturally validated management research in China, we undertake a ‘grass-roots’ examination of how firms in the Chinese B2B sector manage their reputations. Specifically, the study seeks to contribute to the existing literature by identifying whether B2B firms in China are approaching corporate reputation in ways that are different to existing Western-centric views of this construct (see Fig. 11). As Whetten (2009) has argued, there is a need to apply theoretical constructs to contexts other than the ones in which they were developed. Such a process enables elucidation of potentially useful contextual differences. As such, it is anticipated that the lessons learned from China will broaden our understanding of the ways in which corporate reputation can be conceptualized. Of particular interest is whether B2B firms are adopting novel approaches to corporate reputation that may lead to new avenues for research or modify existing definitions of this construct. Furthermore, applying a contextual lens to the issue of building and maintaining reputation among B2B firms in the PRC may help to identify practical insights for assisting businesses that seek to establish/strengthen links with Chinese firms.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In response to Tsui's (2007, p. 1354) call for a “[s]erious pursuit of type 3 studies (indigenous, or context-specific) …for a fair debate on the value of universal versus local theories to explain management phenomena around the world”, the present study examined how corporate reputation is being operationalized among B2B firms in the PRC. We found evidence that firms are not only utilizing Western-centric conceptualizations of corporate reputation, but they are also leveraging hitherto underemphasized elements of this construct. First, findings that aligned with existing understandings of corporate reputation included recognition that stakeholder assessments of reputation are based on the behavior, products, and/or service actions of the company over time. As such, the firms were prepared to invest in strategies designed to foster positive perceptions, including marketing their reputation to customers. Furthermore, the B2B firms’ conceptualized corporate reputation as an asset, in the sense that a good reputation could be leveraged to gain/sustain competitive advantage. Second, international firms may still be clinging to the idea of China as a source of cheap manufacturing. However, we provide evidence suggesting that some B2B firms are actively investing in new technologies to improve product quality to improve their company's reputation and dispel perceptions that their products are low-cost and low-quality. Beneficial outcomes from joint ventures are therefore more likely to arise if incoming firms are able to recognize and respond to local firm's aspirations to improve their production qualities. Third, our results suggest some progress is being made with respect to Lines’ (2004) recommendation that Asian CEOs place greater emphasis on leveraging intangible forms of corporate reputation. We found evidence that B2B firms in China are investing in intangible sources of corporate reputation, including initiatives to foster employee work-life balance. This development has been facilitated by the Government policy of ‘harmonious society’, which provides a holistic view of economic growth that takes into account employee satisfaction as well as more traditional sales profits and market share. However, given the relative scarcity of skilled labor in China (Bowring, 2006, Farrell & Grant, 2005 and Yang, 2005), the managers of many firms will need to place greater focus on the recruitment and retention of skilled staff. Fourth, the results draw attention to the important role that Government can play in building/maintaining corporate reputation. In the current study, senior firm members emphasized that fostering good relationships with Chinese Government officials enhanced the reputation of the firm in the eyes of customers, future employees, and the wider community. A review of academic papers on corporate reputation suggests that this particular theme has not received a great deal of attention (see Devine & Halpern, 2001, Dolphin, 2004 and Hutton et al., 2001; compared with Gray & Balmer, 1998 and Mahon, 2002). Finally, a cultural element that was explicitly referred to in the case studies was the way in which Confucian philosophy can facilitate the uptake and adoption of strategies designed to leverage corporate reputation among firms operating in China. This finding is in line with previous research, which has found that elements of Confucianism can influence the decision-making processes of Chinese management students (Whitcomb, Erdener, & Li, 1998). The decade between the current findings and those reported by Whitcomb et al. (1998) lends support to the notion that Confucianism is an enduring factor in business operations in China and a variable that should be considered in future research.