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Relationships Between Productivity, Reputation, And Strategy

1787 words - 8 pages

Relationships Between Productivity, Reputation, and Strategy 
 
Abstract: 
Businesses seek to maximize productivity because it increases efficiency, motivates 
employees, and can help firms compete on the strategic elements of time, cost, and quality. 
Productivity has been shown to be positively correlated with reputation such that firms with good 
reputations tend to have higher productivity.  Reputation can be improved through corporate 
social responsibility initiatives that seek to enhance social and environmental wellbeing. 
Improved reputation can provide a sustainable competitive advantage and increase the perceived 
quality of a firm’s goods or services.   
 
 

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  Stuebs and Sun hypothesized that reputation would not only 
increase productivity but would reduce labor costs and therefore improve labor efficiency in 
regards to both of its determinant variables (i.e. productivity and cost).  However, the results of 
the study showed that a firm’s reputation does not determine the cost of labor or affect it 
significantly. 
A company’s reputation is of great importance since it is a key element of a 
successful marketing strategy and it has been found to impact productivity.  Firms have ways of 
influencing and changing their reputation such as through corporate social responsibility (CSR) 
efforts.  This essay will first define CSR and show how it can be used as a tool for businesses to 
improve their reputation, and then it will examine issues pertaining to the study done by Stuebs 
and Sun, as well as related research in the fields of productivity, efficiency, and firm reputation, 
and the relationship that these elements have in regards to strategic objectives.   
 

Corporate Social Responsibility and Reputation 
Corporate Social Responsibility is the philosophy that businesses should operate in 
accordance with not only legal, but also ethical  and social standards in regards to the community 
and the environment.  CSR is often associated with sustainability efforts and includes an 
“[o]​
rganizations’ efforts to address a wider variety of social and environmental problems” 
(Lindgreen and Swaen 2010)​
.  There is some debate on what specifically constitutes CSR and 
how it is defined.  An accepted and established summary of CSR is that it “​
represents a 
continuing commitment by an organization to behave ethically and contribute to economic 
development, while also improving the quality of life of its employees (and their families), the 
local community, and society at large” (Watts and Holme 1999). 
Page 2 

Oftentimes companies that go above and beyond in terms of social and sustainability 
efforts are rewarded by increased loyalty among customers.  Indeed, this is often the motivation 
for implementing many CSR initiatives.  Different studies have tried to show a correlation 
between CSR and improved financial performance, but CSR is more easily linked to firm 
reputation as Charles Fombrun and Mark Shanley outline in their articled entitled “What’s in a 
Name? Reputation Building and Corporate Strategy.”  CSR can aid firms in “differentiating 
themselves from competitors and building a better image and reputation” (Fombrun and Shanley 
1990).  Differentiation and reputation have important strategic implications for creating a 
sustainable competitive advantage.  A good reputation can be an invaluable asset in the 
marketplace.  Therefore, from a strategic standpoint, firms can use CSR as a tool to improve 
their reputation and thus improve the perceived quality of their goods and services. 
 

Reputation and Productivity 
...

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