Corporate Reputation Review

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 27–39 | Cite as

Understanding a Leader’s Behaviour: Revisiting the Role of Reputation Management in Leadership Research

  • Christian SchneeEmail author


This paper argues for the adoption of reputation as a conceptual prism to discern patterns in political leadership behaviour. The author intends to reach a judgement about the concept’s value for our understanding of leadership by offering a fuller appreciation of reputation itself that is grounded in a recognition of its role in managing followers and entrenching power structures, which makes it critical both to the incumbent leader and challengers. Methodologically, for this analysis both theoretical and descriptive materials have been selected and discussed in order to fully appreciate reputation’s applicability in leadership research. In light of the evidence reviewed one may infer that what renders a leader decisive or passive is essentially a reflection of reputational strength or weakness. In turn this leads us to conclude that concern with reputation engenders and shapes activity we observe in leaders and at the same time guides our interpretation of political decisions and phenomena. Eventually, we may come to see reputation as a concept that serves as a lens through which we view leaders’ responses to challenges. The rationale for this approach is leaders’ own focus on their respective reputation that may at times incentivise action or, alternatively, administrative and political immobility.


reputation leadership politics 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd & Reputation Institute 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Old Royal Naval CollegeUniversity of GreenwichLondonUK

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