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What are they saying about business?

A dissertation presented at LUMSA addresses the issue of corporate reputation

Good business practice, including in the imaginations of those involved in it. That is, of course, as long as the image of a company corresponds with the content and substance of its actions. This has always been the case, and even more so today. A company’s reputation is important, and must of course be looked after and cultivated, but before that even, it must be understood. Because the reputation of a production organisation can be the foundation for the development of a company, but can also lead to its downfall.

Reading ‘Comunicazione reputazionale: metodologie e strumenti di valutazione della reputazione aziendale’, (‘Reputational communication: methodologies and tools for assessing corporate reputation’), Davide Emanuele Nappi’s dissertation, is a good way to get a greater understanding of a core aspect of any company’s reputation: communication.

Nappi explains that the ‘economy of reputation’, which is founded upon the credit mutually attributed by the various players involved in market interactions, can represent a different economic and financial model, and one that responds fully to the focus on new ways of conducting relationships. As such, reputation and results go hand in hand. And in this context, the reputation of a company refers increasingly to something that can become a certificate of guarantee of the latter’s expertise and willingness to do business in the right way, respecting the expectations of all those who come into contact with it at various levels, with different levels of interest, with the entrepreneurial system; the stakeholders.

The goal of Nappi’s research is to assess the current state of the art in the most interesting literature on this subject, drawing from multidisciplinary contributions borrowed from studies in the psychological, sociological, economic, financial, pure communication, marketing and business organisation and management fields. Because, as a matter of fact, the reputation of a company is exactly this: the end result of a set of different elements which interact with each other on a deep level. Accordingly, the thesis begins with a clarification of the definition of corporate reputation, before moving on to discuss the relationship between corporate reputation and stakeholders, and then addressing the issue of measurement and evaluation. Nappi then goes on to test his theory on a real-life case: that of Uber.

The author writes in his conclusions: ‘A company’s reputation has very little to do with business. It relates to the company, of course, but it does not belong to it: the company does not have the power to modify it at will, there and then. It is an asset that implies sharing, because it is in part user-generated. It is not the prerogative of the company, but the determination and shaping of the latter’s reputation is – together with many other variables – dependent on the behaviour, actions and decisions taken within the organisation.’

Comunicazione reputazionale: metodologie e strumenti di valutazione della reputazione aziendale

Davide Emanuele Nappi

Dissertation. Master’s Degree in Business Communication, Marketing and New Media – Public Relations and Digital Business Communication, LUMSA, 2019