Corporate Reputation Review

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 299–315 | Cite as

Under What Conditions Do the News Media Influence Corporate Reputation? The Roles of Media Dependency and Need for Orientation

  • Sabine A Einwiller
  • Craig E Carroll
  • Kati Korn
Academic Research


Previous research has assumed uniform effects of the news media's influence on corporate reputation. This study uses theories of media system dependency and ‘need for orientation’ to examine contingent conditions affecting the degree of the media influence. Our integrated measurement approach gauging media coverage and stakeholder evaluations on the same dimensions of reputation furthered the methodological approach to this research area. We found that stakeholders depend more on the news media to learn about reputation dimensions that are difficult to directly experience or observe and for which the news media are the main source of information.


corporate reputation media effects agenda-setting theory media system dependency theory need for orientation 


  1. Atwood, L.E., Sohn, A.B. and Sohn, H. (1978) ‘Daily newspaper contributions to community discussion’, Journalism Quarterly, 55 (3), 570–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bagozzi, R. (1980) Causal Models in Marketing, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Bagozzi, R. and Baumgartner, H. (1994) ‘The evaluation of structural equation models and hypothesis testing’, in R. Bagozzi (ed.), Principles of Marketing Research, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 386–422.Google Scholar
  4. Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (1985) ‘The origins of individual media system dependency: A sociological framework’, Communication Research, 12, 485–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ball-Rokeach, S.J. and DeFleur, M.L. (1976) ‘A dependency model of mass-media effects’, Communication Research, 3, 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bromley, D.B. (1993) Reputation, Image and Impression Management, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.Google Scholar
  7. Carroll, C.E. (2004) ‘How the mass media influence perceptions of corporate reputation: Exploring agenda-setting effects within business news coverage’, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas, Austin, TX.Google Scholar
  8. Carroll, C.E. and McCombs, M. (2003) ‘Agenda-setting effects of business news on the public's images and opinions about major corporations’, Corporate Reputation Review, 6, 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coombs, W.T. and Holladay, S.J. (2002) ‘Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets: Initial tests of the situational crisis communication theory’, Management Communication Quarterly, 16 (2), 165–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dawkins, J. (2005) ‘Corporate responsibility: The communication challenge’, Journal of Communication Management, 9, 108–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deephouse, D.L. (2000) ‘Media reputation as a strategic resource: An integration of mass communication and resource-based theories’, Journal of Management, 26 (6), 1091–1112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Demers, D.P., Craff, D., Choi, Y.-H. and Pessin, B.M. (1989) ‘Issue obtrusiveness and the agenda-setting effects of national network news’, Communication Research, 16, 793–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DeFleur, M.L. and Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (1989) Theories of Mass Communication, 5th edn., Longman, White Plains, NY.Google Scholar
  14. DeFleur, M.L., Davenport, L., Cronin, M. and DeFleur, M. (1992) ‘Audience recall of news stories presented by newspaper, computer, television, and radio’, Journalism Quarterly, 69 (4), 1010–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dutton, J.E. and Dukerich, J.M. (1991) ‘Keeping an eye on the mirror: Image and identity in organizational adaptation’, Academy of Management Journal, 34 (3), 517–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eagly, A.H. and Chaiken, S. (1993) The Psychology of Attitudes, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, Fort Worth.Google Scholar
  17. Efron, B. and Tibshirani, R.J. (1993) An Introduction to the Bootstrap, Chapman & Hall, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fazio, R.H. and Zanna, M.P. (1981) ‘Direct experience and attitude-behavior consistency’, in L. Berkowitz (ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 14, Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 161–202.Google Scholar
  19. Fishbein, M. and Ajzen, I. (1975) Belief, Attitude, Intention and Behavior: An Introduction to Theory and Research, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.Google Scholar
  20. Fombrun, C.J. (1996) Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  21. Fombrun, C.J. and Gardberg, N. (2000) ‘Who's tops in corporate reputation?’, Corporate Reputation Review, 3, 13–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fombrun, C.J. and Shanley, M. (1990) ‘What's in a name? Reputation building and corporate strategy’, Academy of Management Journal, 33, 233–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fombrun, C.J., Gardberg, N. and Sever, J. (2000) ‘The reputation quotient: A multi-stakeholder measure of corporate reputation’, The Journal of Brand Management, 7, 241–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fornell, C. and Larcker, D.F. (1981) ‘Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error’, Journal of Marketing Research, 18, 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fry, D.L. and McCain, T.A. (1983) ‘Community influentials’ media dependence in dealing with a controversial local issue’, Journalism Quarterly, 60, 458–463 542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gotsi, M. and Wilson, A.M. (2001) ‘Corporate reputation: Seeking a definition’, Corporate Communications, 6 (1), 24–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hair, J.F., Anderson, R.E., Tatham, R.L. and Black, W.C. (1992) Multivariate Data Analysis, 3rd edn., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.Google Scholar
  28. Helm, S. (2007) ‘One reputation or many? Comparing stakeholders’ perceptions of corporate reputation’, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 12, 238–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Homburg, C. and Giering, A. (1996) ‘Konzeptualisierung und Operationalisierung komplexer Konstrukte’, Marketing ZFP, 1, 5–24.Google Scholar
  30. Huber, F., Herrmann, A., Meyer, F., Vogel, J. and Vollhardt, K. (2007) Kausalmodellierung mit Partial Least Squares. Eine anwendungsorientiere Einführung, Gabler, Wiesbaden.Google Scholar
  31. Katz, D. and Stotland, E. (1959) ‘A preliminary statement to a theory of attitude structure and change’, in S. Koch (ed.), Psychology: A Study of a Science, Vol. 3, McGraw-Hill, New York, pp. 423–475.Google Scholar
  32. Kiousis, S. and McCombs, M. (2004) ‘Agenda-setting effects and attitude strength. Political figures during the 1996 presidential election’, Communication Research, 31, 36–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kiousis, S., Popescu, C. and Mitrook, M. (2007) ‘Understanding influence on corporate reputation: An examination of public relations efforts, media coverage, public opinion, and financial performance from an agenda-building and agenda-setting perspective’, Journal of Public Relations Research, 19, 147–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lavidge, R.J. and Steiner, G.A. (1961) ‘A model for predictive measurements of advertising effectiveness’, Journal of Marketing, 25, 59–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meijer, M.M. and Kleinnijenhuis, J. (2006) ‘Issue news and corporate reputation: Applying the theories of agenda setting and issue ownership in the field of business communication’, Journal of Communication, 56, 543–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nelson, P. (1970) ‘Information and consumer behaviour’, Journal of Political Economy, 78, 311–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pasquay, A. (2007) Zur Lage der Zeitungen in Deutschland 2007, Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger [On-line]. Available:
  38. Petty, R.E. and Krosnick, J.A. (1995) Attitude Strength: Antecedents and Consequences, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ.Google Scholar
  39. Post, J.E., Preston, L.E. and Sachs, S. (2002) Redefining the Corporation. Stakeholder Management and Organizational Wealth, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.Google Scholar
  40. Ray, M.L. (1973) ‘Marketing communications and the hierarchy-of-effects’, in P.B. Clarke (ed.), New Models for Mass Communication Research, Sage: Beverly Hills, CA, pp. 147–176.Google Scholar
  41. Rindova, V.P., Williamson, I.O., Petkova, A.P. and Sever, J.M. (2005) ‘Being good or being known: An empirical examination of the dimensions, antecedents, and consequences of organizational reputation’, Academy of Management Journal, 48 (6), 1033–1049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ringle, C.W., Wende, S. and Will, A. (2005) SmartPLS (Version beta) [Computer software].Google Scholar
  43. Rosenberg, M.J. and Hovland, C.I. (1960) ‘Cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of attitudes’, in C. I. Hovland and M. J. Rosenberg (eds.), Attitude Organization and Change: An Analysis of Consistency among Attitude Components, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, pp. 1–14.Google Scholar
  44. Sheafer, T. (2001) ‘Charismatic skill and media legitimacy: An actor-centered approach to understanding the political communication competition’, Communication Research, 28 (6), 711–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sternthal, B., Phillips, L.W. and Dholakia, R.R. (1978) ‘The persuasive effect of source credibility: A situational analysis’, Public Opinion Quarterly, 42, 285–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tidd, J., Bessant, S. and Pavitt, K. (2005) Managing Innovation: Integrating Technological, Market and Organizational Change, 3rd Ed., Wiley, Chichester, UK.Google Scholar
  47. Weaver, D.H. (1980) ‘Audience need for orientation and media effects’, Communication Research, 7 (3), 361–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wold, H. (1989) ‘Introduction to the second generation of multivariate analysis’, in H. Wold (ed.), Theoretical Empiricism, Paragon House, New York, pp. VII–XI.Google Scholar
  49. Yoon, Y. (2005) ‘Legitimacy public relations, and media access: Proposing and testing a media access model’, Communication Research, 32 (6), 762–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zucker, H.G. (1978) ‘The variable nature of news media influence’, in B.D. Ruben (ed.), Communication yearbook 2, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Books, pp. 225–245.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine A Einwiller
    • 1
  • Craig E Carroll
    • 2
  • Kati Korn
    • 3
  1. 1.University of MainzMainz,Germany
  2. 2.University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, School of BusinessOltenSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations