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Exploring academic reputation – is it a multidimensional construct?

Ana Tkalac Verčič (Faculty of Economics and Business, Marketing Department, Universtiy of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Dejan Verčič (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Krešimir Žnidar (Prizma CPI, Zagreb, Croatia)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 4 April 2016




The purpose of this paper is to explore the possible congruence of an academic organization’s reputation among various stakeholder groups. A potential measure of reputation that can be applied across multiple stakeholder groups gives an opportunity to compare their perceptions and therefore work toward a consistent reputation. The authors also tested the model of academic reputation as a multidimensional concept.


The qualitative stage included 25 in-depth interviews with members of key stakeholder groups. In the quantitative stage, the initial questionnaire was based on the reputational quotient of academic institutions, comprised of 26 items representing eight dimensions of reputation. It was administered among three key stakeholder groups, the general public (n=400), employees of the business school that was the focus of the study (n=154), and fourth year students of the school (n=446).


Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that criteria applied by various stakeholder groups were similar, but the model of academic reputations as a multidimensional concept was not confirmed. The theoretical assumption of an eight factor solution for the concept of academic institutions was not supported. It seems that, in this particular case, only one main dimension emerged. Theoretically, that implies a general factor determining overall reputations across stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should apply a new, reduced questionnaire in multiple academic organizations and try to avoid some of the limitations such as differing methods of data collection, and ensure complete anonymity for all respondents.

Practical implications

This study offers input for the development of a robust and general questionnaire that could be developed to be used across organizations and their publics.


The study demonstrates that reputation is a unidimensional construct and that it should also be measured as such.



This study was a part of a project named “Measurement and management of University of Zagreb’s reputation” and was funded by the University of Zagreb.


Verčič, A.T., Verčič, D. and Žnidar, K. (2016), "Exploring academic reputation – is it a multidimensional construct?", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 160-176.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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