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Reputational risk as a logic of organizing in late modernity

By Michael Power, Tobias Scheytt, Kim Soin and Kerstin Sahlin


This paper argues that it is useful to regard `reputational risk' as a pervasive logic of organizing and organizational attention. First, we suggest that the risk management agenda has expanded from its roots in technical analysis to become a cornerstone of good governance and responsible actorhood. We illustrate this claim in the context of English universities. Second, we suggest that this expansion in the reach and significance of risk management has increased organizational orientations to reputational risk and to more defensively and legalistically framed forms of asset management. Specifically, organizations are responding to the growth of external bodies which evaluate and rank, and thereby generate reputational risk. In the context of universities, we argue that this leads both to specific transformations in organizational practices in response to ranking systems, and also to an increased generalized concern with reputational risk, which is a symptom of late modern insecurity

Topics: HD61 Risk Management
Publisher: Sage Publications in association with European Group for Organizational Studies
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0170840608101482
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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