Being in good standing: The value of a corporate, workplace & social reputation to potential executive employees

Pat Auger, Timothy M. Devinney, Grahame R. Dowling, Christine Eckert, Nidthida Perm-Ajchariyawong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


It has been readily accepted that prospective employees, including MBA students seeking jobs after graduation, put great stock in a potential employer's reputation - particularly that relating to its social responsibility and workplace practices. However, other than potentially biased results from self-report surveys we have little information as to whether or not job seekers would actually tradeoff salary and other utilitarian aspects of a job contract to work at firms with supposed greater reputational standing. In the present study we use a structured experimental approach to determine the extent to which the facets of reputation - corporate, social and workplace - drive job contract choice. We discover that while some aspects of corporate and workplace reputation matter marginally, MBA job seekers appear to put little value on social reputation. Even in the specific cases where we can discern individuals who do value social reputation, this is unrelated to their stated preferences revealed using standard survey methods. The implication is that firms seeking to entice potential executives should focus on utilitarian aspects of the employment contract that may impact their reputation rather than attempting to manipulate that reputation directly.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • job choice
  • reputation
  • social responsibility


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