Re-creating Organizational Reputation Using Social Media: Not quite outdated ideas

by cv harquail on January 14, 2011

As much as I love academic writing, conducting studies and developing theories, all of this work shares one acute problem — it takes forever to get from first draft to print.

My just-published journal article with Adelaide King took about 8 years from idea to print, while the germinal paper on Organizational Identity & Identification with Jane Dutton and Janet Dukerich took a bit longer than 5 years.

When you’re working on ideas to contribute to ‘the literature’, that cycle time of 3, 4, or 8 years is awful, but still somehow bearable. In part, it’s bearable because in the interim you are sharing working paper versions with colleagues, influencing their thinking and developing your own. And, it is made bearable by knowing that not so much is changing (except the theory & knowledge itself) that makes you worry that the ideas are becoming obsolete.

Not so, though, with writing directed towards practitioners. The passage of time really matters. The time lag between idea and print is even worse when you are writing about a fast-moving phenomenon… like social media, for example. Practitioners could actually put to use the ideas that are shared in academic research, if only they have access to them (which they don’t until the ideas are in print).

A Blue Bench

This is all a big wind-up to say: Here’s a draft of a chapter I wrote 14 months ago, that won’t be published in hard copy until this spring. (That would be a total cycle time of 18-20 months– fast in the world of academics, but glacial for practitioners.) A better, more perfect version will appear in print, but in the meantime here are some ideas to enjoy– if they are not already obsolete!

Send me back your comments, suggestions, etc.

Re-creating Reputation Through Authentic Interaction: Using Social Media to Connect with Individual Stakeholders

Celia V. Harquail, PhD


Organizations have a new opportunity for creating dialogues with individual stakeholders in which organizations can demonstrate their authenticity and earn a positive reputation. Social media tools, with their interactivity, constant stream of data, and easy sharing, make two-way symmetrical communication between individuals and organizations technically possible. And, strategies for making the organization socially present (i.e., more human) (Biocca, Harms, & Burgoon, 2003) online put the ultimate goal of authentic communication within reach of organizations.

To take advantage of these opportunities, organizations and reputation management practitioners will need to reconsider the roles of distinct, distributed interactions and individual stakeholders on creating reputation. Organization scholars will want to reconsider the relational approach to stakeholder management, and develop cross-disciplinary research to combine investigations of computer-mediated interaction with our evolving understanding of reputation management.

December 2009.
Forthcoming as a chapter in an edited book on Corporate Reputation, in Spring 2011.

ReCreating Reputation Harquail

(it does eventually download)


Bret Simmons January 14, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Congratulations, CV! Wow, I never knew you had an ASQ – that is amazing. Keep up the great work! Bret

davidburkus January 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

As a young doctoral student who started first in social media, I lament the slow pace of academic writing. Your chapter is solid and makes me wonder if we shouldn’t start dialogue on how social media and speed up peer-review. Keep up the good work.

(By the way, I had to look up ASQ to remember that it was a FT40…Bret is right, nicely done.)

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