Extending the holistic research on corporate reputation (CR), the authors examine whether and how single CR dimensions affect consumers' intentional loyalty toward multinational corporations (MNCs) across nations. They study the dimensions of the predominant customer-based CR scale of Walsh and Beatty (2007): customer orientation, product range quality, social/environmental responsibility, good employer and reliability/financial strength. Furthermore, important country-level moderators – embeddedness and country development – are studied.
The authors refer to hierarchical data on 32,811 consumer evaluations of a MNC in 44 countries using the still novel method of multilevel structural equation modeling.
The results underscore a strong relationship between CR in general and consumers' loyalty but identify different effects for the CR dimensions (e.g. product quality, social/environmental responsibility dominate). The important national institutions reinforce or diminish some – but not all – effects of the CR dimensions.
The results are of importance for finer-grained cross-national reputation management. Studying both national culture and country development shows that MNCs face tradeoff decisions. Accordingly, the authors provide a country portfolio, which offers options for standardized operations in groups of countries with similar country characteristics and CR effects.
Disentangling the five CR levers emphasizes that CR is not a pure signal of quality. Two main levers emerge: one stable across countries and one strongly depending on a country's degree of country development, for example. A finer-grained management of CR signals across nations is possible, especially in emerging countries, with increasing importance for MNCs.
Swoboda, B. and Batton, N. (2020), "Cross-national roles of perceived reputation dimensions for MNCs", International Marketing Review, Vol. 37 No. 6, pp. 1051-1081. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-07-2019-0180Download as .RIS
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