Title

How Do General Evaluations of Corporations Develop? Test of an Impression Formation Model

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Psychology/Industrial-Organizational

First Advisor

Scott Highhouse, PhD (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Michael Zickar, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Carolyn Tompsett, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Daniel Bragg, PhD (Committee Member)

Abstract

Despite the importance of corporate reputation, little is known about how reputation develops. The main purpose of the current study was to begin to understand the formation of corporate reputation by investigating the antecedents of general evaluations of corporations. Specifically, an impression formation model (Highhouse, Brooks, & Greguras, 2009) was tested with a sample of working professionals, using two companies from two different industry sectors (Microsoft and Disney). This study investigated the fit of the overall model, as well as specific relations among corporate images, corporate impressions, and general evaluations of companies. Results indicated that relations among different corporate images (e.g., social image, market image) and general evaluations of corporations were mediated by impressions of company respectability and impressiveness. Hence, results showed that the impression formation model received support, but that it might be better to include direct paths from images to general evaluations to better predict general evaluations of some corporations. Results also showed that respectability was more strongly related to general evaluations than was impressiveness, suggesting that corporations interested in managing their reputations should focus relatively more on company respectability. Findings also suggested that market image may be the most important driver of impressions of respectability and impressiveness.