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Unveiling Research Trends for Organizational Reputation in the Nonprofit Sector


Public scrutiny and the need for funds in a more competitive environment are pressuring nonprofits to be more consciously aware of their reputation. This study used automated analysis with text mining and topic modeling of 177 articles directly linked to nonprofits’ reputation and published up to 2016. After identifying the most salient topics and conducting an in-depth, critical review of the most significant articles within each topic, four theoretical and managerial implications were identified. First, managers need to develop skills to deal with risk, the Internet, and social networks. Second, risk management is an emergent, still tentative, but important topic waiting for more contributions. Third, researchers can apply lexicons developed and validated by experts to uncover knowledge relevant to the entire nonprofit sector’s organizations. Last, the trends and topics highlighted can help scholars and practitioners make better decisions in research or responses to management challenges.

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This work was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, grants UID/MULTI/4466/2016 and UID/GES/00315/2013. The authors also would like to thank the valuable suggestions made by the Editor and the Anonymous Reviewers during the peer-review process.

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Correspondence to Márcia R. C. Santos.

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Appendix: Search Query

Appendix: Search Query

(Reputation OR image OR identity OR opinion OR judgment OR evaluation OR estimation OR belief) AND (“nongovernmental org*” OR “ngo*” OR “charities” OR “nonprofit*” OR “npo*” OR “foundations” OR “association*” OR “civic org*” OR “social org*” OR “religious congregation*” OR “faith based org*” OR “volunteer promotion org*” OR “advocacy org*” OR “labor union*” OR “cooperatives” OR “mutuals” OR “social enterprise*” OR “voluntary sector” OR “independent sector” OR “third sector” OR “civil society sector” OR “tax-exempt sector” OR “not-for-profit” OR “philanthropic sector” OR “social sector” OR “voluntary org*” OR “public interest group*” OR “public benefit entit*” OR “donee org*” OR “membership org*” OR “professional org*” OR “social org*” OR “civic org*” OR “social economy”).

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Santos, M.R.C., Laureano, R.M.S. & Moro, S. Unveiling Research Trends for Organizational Reputation in the Nonprofit Sector. Voluntas 31, 56–70 (2020).

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