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CR Business & Finance


Managers also must pay attention to the ‘ones that care.’ These stakeholders are reputational reflectors (e.g., customers), whose awareness and relevance cause spillovers to occur. Relationships with these stakeholders should be managed well, so that spillovers can be controlled to a greater extent. When it comes to information management, transparency and traceability, cyber-attacks can significantly damage and compromise a company’s reputation and, thus, create new risk factors. Similarly, companies along the supply chain can jeopardize CR if they do not perform due diligence or do not comply with the legal regulations that are in place for the enforcement of human rights and sustainability. The primary focus of companies is understandably often on their customers, but given the interlinked nature of CR, they also need to understand their suppliers’ behavior just as well. The pressure on companies to create more transparency regarding the origin of raw materials and the nature of production processes is, therefore, increasingly substantial (Gualandris et al., 2021; Mollenkopf et al., 2022; Roy, 2021).

  • This influenced the work of Staw and Epstein (2000) on how CR emerges in organizational interactions.
  • We divide the research questions into ten different themes, indicating distinct research directions.
  • In response, many researchers focus on the social and ethical values of the corporation (Bundy et al., 2022).
  • Increasingly, topics from the field of social media marketing and digital marketing attracted attention, such as a consideration of e-reputation (Chun & Davies, 2001).

Overall, organizational strategists consider CR a competitive and, thus, strategic asset to distinguish a company from its competitors (Rindova & Fombrun, 1999). The origins of research on CR are mostly USA-based, with the stock market crash of 1929 laying the foundations for an awareness of CR on a broader scale (Jones et al., 2000; O’Neill, 1977; Stevens, 1975). During the following decade, due to several corporate scandals based on discrimination against women, cost behavior analysis Jews, African Americans, and other minorities, the US government began to curtail unethical behavior and to restrain the power of corporations (O’Neill, 1984). Consequently, in the 1930s, a new system of regulations and regulating institutions emerged in the US. Following US military occupation after World War II, several regulatory standards were transposed and influenced standards for transnational companies across Western Europe (Maier, 1977; Majone, 2002).

Corporate Reputation as a Research Field

Referring to the theoretical concept of CR, CSR, and stakeholder theory, Mitchell et al. (1997) mapped out the connection between CR and CSR. The aim was to demonstrate how corporate social performance is linked to different corporate performance indicators, i.e., CR (Brammer & Pavelin, 2006; Turban & Greening, 1997). In the SLR, the impact that others have on CR is particularly noticeable in the supply chain context.

Many companies worldwide ran into difficulties, due to supply chain bottlenecks, as experienced, for example, at seaports, trade centers, and entire specialized economic zones (Phillips et al., 2022). Supply chains without any resource buffers, that were purposely designed for lean management, just-in-time, and cost optimization, showed little resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic (Phillips et al., 2022). Supply chain disruptions apparent during the pandemic were further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Examples of Debits and Credits

While, secondly, CR is influenced by multiple images perceived by a company’s stakeholders. Many authors of this school (Bromley, 2001; Fombrun, 1996; Fombrun & Shanley, 1990; Gray & Balmer, 1998; Rindova, 1997; Saxton, 1998) argue that CR reflects a firm’s image over time perceived by its stakeholders. In addition, Fombrun (1996) suggests that CR is essentially backwards looking, characterized by customers experiences created in the past. We begin with outlining CR and its connection to supply chain aspects, continue with the methodology section, before moving on to the evolution of CR as a research field and a conceptualization of CR.

CR in Business Meaning

Consequently, this paper introduces a research agenda connecting these the two traditionally separated research fields. Research from Cluster 3—Individualistic Perspective considers the impact of reputational crises on a company’s market offering and the value co-creation process. Here, researchers call for further attention to be paid to risk management strategies (Arora et al., 2021; Dhingra & Krishnan, 2020; Pérez-Cornejo et al., 2019).

For this purpose, the SLR allows us to define CR more comprehensively and the subsequent bibliometric mapping provides strategic research directions that are rooted in four literature clusters. Based on the analysis, we identify and map out future directions for the academic study of CR with a supply chain focus, linked to recent articles in each of the four CR research clusters. We hope that our assessment will motivate researchers to consider how CR is created, maintained, and destroyed in a wider supply chain context.

From the mid-1960s onwards, a slowly increasing number of publications on the topic indicate a rising awareness in academia—CR turned into a public issue. Figure 1 shows the distribution of peer-reviewed publications on the topic of CR, from 1975 until 2021. Given that the number of publications continues to rise, it seems unlikely that the research field has yet reached a peak, especially given the growing public awareness about CR and its media coverage (Fragouli, 2020; Gatzert, 2015; Money et al., 2017; Veh et al., 2019). There are a number of ways organisations report their CR/CSR activities, although most can be split into four key themes covering Community, Workplace, Marketplace and Environment, or aspects of them.

This could include an assessment of how CR activities differ in international versus national supply chains and how CR affects assessments of whether a particular supply chain is regarded as sustainable or not. This paper addresses two major research gaps regarding the interplay between supply chain management (SCM) and CR research. The first gap originates from the traditionally separated fields of CR and supply chain research, which have been treated as two different units of analysis, often in isolation and without understanding the linkages between them (Blom & Niemann, 2022). The second gap concerns the absence of a research agenda connecting these two fields of research, including the most pressing topics to be explored. Consequently, this paper aims to provide an agenda for future research on the combination of CR and in supply chains, derived from a systematic literature review.

Authors and Affiliations

Taking this further, Blom and Niemann (2022) argue that reputational risks along the supply chain have a predominant influence on a firm’s CR. However, despite the importance of this topic for practitioners and academics, the above authors found little literature on the topic. Reflecting on recent calls, further research is necessary to explore the topic of reputation in a supply chain context more holistically, including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and environmental risks as influencing factors. In addition to CR, we acknowledge that other intangible assets are strongly relevant in a supply chain context too, such as relational capital, collaboration skills, and network capabilities, among others. It is important to differentiate intangible assets in a supply chain context, study their connections as well as their effects on the supply chain.

The company records that same amount again as a credit, or CR, in the revenue section. When you increase assets, the change in the account is a debit, because something must be due for that increase (the price of the asset). Conversely, an increase in liabilities is a credit because it signifies an amount that someone else has loaned to you and which you used to purchase something (the cause of the corresponding debit in the assets account). There are a few theories on the origin of the abbreviations used for debit (DR) and credit (CR) in accounting. To explain these theories, here is a brief introduction to the use of debits and credits, and how the technique of double-entry accounting came to be.

Communication styles, company actions, and strategies in such a context also warrant further research (Ajayi & Mmutle, 2021; Busse et al., 2017; Ingenhoff et al., 2018; Singh & Misra, 2021). A blind spot in the assessed literature is the lack of studies considering CR in a multinational context, along truly global supply chains (Abugre & Anlesinya, 2020; Aguilera-Caracuel et al., 2017; Swoboda & Hirschmann, 2017). An accurate examination of the influence of cultural dimensions on the generation and transfer of CR is warranted (Swoboda & Hirschmann, 2017). For instance, the effects of cultural dimensions could be conceptualized and measured based on cultural dimension theory and cultural context theory (Hofstede, 1980). We aim to identify the emerging research gaps relevant in the current literature, formulating a CR agenda that can guide future CR research. To ensure a sustainable supply chain, all stakeholders of a company will increasingly demand information, transparency, and traceability, seeking greater control.

For example, suppliers adjust their behavior and management ethics toward their downstream customers to ensure that they are in the position to make the value proposition for their buyers stronger. Consequently, CR parallels the flow of micro-interactions and exchanges of offerings serve like a tier-to-tier baton that contributes to the competitive advantage of an entire supply chain. When the offering is ‘in use’ (e.g., a tier 1 supplier obtains raw material), a new offering becomes created (e.g., for the manufacturer).

Barney (1986) and Dierickx and Cool (1989) developed CR theory from a Resource-Based-View (RBV) perspective. Accordingly, CR is used for developing an advantage over competitors, and Hall (1992) emphasizes that CR can differentiate a company from its competitors. Shielding reputational barriers can hinder competitors’ entry to a market or an industry where an existing company’s reputation is strong.

The perception represents the aggregated opinion of the stakeholder community and is co-created by the interplay of organizations, their stakeholders, and the competitive environment. They explored the connection between social constructs, such as rankings and reviews, and considered their influence on relationships between organizations and their stakeholders. Granovetter (1985) and White (1981) point out how social rankings and reviews strongly influence stakeholders’ perceptions of CR.