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Reputation Risk Management, Ethics, and Values: An International Debate

Reputation Risk Management, Ethics, and Values: An International Debate (Paperback)

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Synopsis

REPUTATION RISK is an increasingly recognised and valued area of risk management. It may be considered as a strategic, as opposed to operational, aspect of risk. As reputation is based on perception, emotions, and behaviour, it is largely intangible and its impact is indirect. Although some consider that reputational risk cannot be measured, many observers agree that a good reputation is a major business asset. Taking into account the recent and growing influence of Internet technology applications, and their impact on the speed with which reputations can be damaged or lost, it is important to understand the many and serious ways in which reputational value can be affected today - and to incorporate such considerations into any risk management system. As corporate reputation drives stakeholder behaviour, understanding and assessing reputational risk is vital for any organisation. Understanding of reputation risk has evolved over at least the last decade. Recent risk management surveys carried out by Aon around the globe have highlighted loss of reputation as one of the most significant threats to a business after business interruption.1

These surveys have also pointed out that the key areas of concern for brand management are ethics, corporate governance, compliance, and product quality. It now takes more than just good public relations and a clever advertising campaign to secure financial success - ongoing reputational due diligence and corporate governance exercises are needed. If a company commits to an idea, it does so in public and will therefore be subject to public scrutiny and examination. Indeed, ongoing consultation with stakeholders is the best way to ascertain stakeholder perceptions and expectations about building credibility. Times and business priorities are changing at a rapid pace. No longer do organisations aspire to profit for shareholders alone; they are increasingly answerable to other stakeholders. This gives an impetus to the international debate on reputation risk and integrated reputation risk management. As a result of regulatory and media pressure, in particular, transparency, openness, and fair play are needed to be successful and sustainable in business today. While traditional concepts are still relevant, and are referred to in this report, new meanings are also developing.

It is a constant evolutionary process which few organisations can avoid, regardless of size, sector, or location. Corporate reputation is now very much defined in stakeholder terms. One definition of corporate reputation describes it as the 'aggregate perceptions of multiple stakeholders about a company's performance'.2 A helpful guide is that a good reputation is attained when stakeholders' expectations and experiences of the company are aligned. Stakeholder expectations represent the expectations of all conceivable parties interested - or in some way involved - in the workings and development of a company, private entity, or organisation. Moreover, the stakeholders that really appear to matter to the private sector are invariably customers, employees, and investors. Others may include regulators, strategic partners, suppliers, and the local community. Risks a company faces include having a product boycotted, considered unfashionable, of poor quality, or not purchased because of bad press.

In order to minimise these risks, it is sensible to address stakeholders' concerns and interests and thereby influence their perceptions, encouraging purchasing decisions and investment, whilst also ensuring reduced exposure to liabilities. This will also give a business the opportunity to recognise market trends faster, change more rapidly, and predict the social effect on the economic aspect of their business. Therefore a wider range of research should be undertaken with regards to stakeholder groups, and an example of this is the stakeholder analysis provided later for discussion or debate.

The following are the most significant areas where a risk to reputation may arise: ?? Brand damage; ?? Communications and crisis management; ?? Corporate governance, leadership, and board competency failures; ?? Corporate responsibility (CR) and corporate sustainability (CS) issues; ?? Delivering customer promise; ?? Financial performance and long-term investment value irregularities, restatements, profit warnings, or missed targets; ?? Illegal activities, such as fraud, or poor regulatory compliance; ?? IT disruptions that result from business continuity and IT security failures; and ?? Workplace talent and culture. It is more and more evident that businesses cannot afford to ignore risks related to their reputation and brand. This report is not intended to deal with every element or aspect of reputation risk management: the objective is to consider reputational issues having regard to corporate governance, risk management, due diligence, and related drivers.

The report combines traditional business strategies with recent trends in these areas in an accessible manner that enables business representatives and their advisers to operate in a more proactive and responsible way. A further objective is to provide an overview of the key concerns and offer some practical tools in the form of checklists and case studies that can assist with raising awareness and business planning. The reader should appreciate that this report regards reputational risk management as an ongoing exercise. It extends to areas of business activity that go well beyond a crisis, disaster, or events such as transactions or deals with which it is usually associated to embrace many other aspects of business operations and performance. References: 1. Aon Risk Solutions, 'Global Risk Management Survey 2013', available at www.aon.com/2013GlobalRisk. 2. Fombrun, C., Gardberg, N., and Sever, J., 'The Reputation Quotient: A multi-stakeholder measure of corporate reputation', Journal of Brand Management, Volume 7, 2000.

BusinessBusiness & managementManagement & management techniquesLawJurisprudence & general issuesLegal profession: general Publisher: Ark Group Publication Date: 14/05/2014 ISBN-13: 9781783581276  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

DR. LINDA S. Spedding holds an LL.B. (Hons), LL.M., and Ph.D. She is qualified as a solicitor (England and Wales), an advocate (India) and an attorney (USA). She has been an international adviser and author - and activist for positive change - for over 27 years. She has also been a friend and supporter of the NGO community over this period, assisting many such organisations and raising awareness of their contribution through her writing and advisory activities. In addition to larger organisations, Dr. Spedding has assisted many SMEs, business associations, and chambers with their proactive risk strategies and has worked to encourage good communication between the responsible parties: public, private, and NGO. She has been committed to the debate on improving ongoing due diligence, corporate governance, and ethical conduct, as well as appropriate risk management; she has advised, trained, and published extensively in these areas. She also provides the ideal mix of experience as an international legal practitioner with her specialist understanding of international environmental law, and has achieved a substantial reputation as an author and lecturer (for more information, see www.lindaspedding.org). Dr. Spedding has been an international adviser to many commercial and professional bodies both in the private and public sector. From the outset she has been committed to corporate social responsibility, often termed CSR, and corporate responsibility. She is a trustee and officer of various NGOs internationally. Throughout her career Dr. Spedding has assisted a small international multicultural charity as part of her work-life balance. She serves on several committees of non-profit organisations, including the SCI Business Strategy Committee, the ABA CSR International Committee, and the NAWL International Committee. She is also International Adviser to SAARCLAW and the BCCCF. In her non-profit activities, she has led training sessions and roundtables on governance and NGOs, and has worked with the International Department of the UK Charity Commission to improve regulation and best practice among the NGO community through improved communication and relevant tools. In her professional life Dr. Spedding is well known for her contribution to ethical and environmental concerns, sustainable development, and appropriate investment developments, including the global environmental and energy debates. She has been part of the gender and leadership debate and is founder of Women in Law and Women in Law International (www. womeninlawinternational.com). Dr. Spedding's international professional, voluntary, pro-bono, and charitable activities have been well respected for many years.

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