Reputation

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Sam Beebe, Ecotrust.

Why Boards Need to Change

Many companies have initiated sustainability and corporate social responsibility programs that represent good first steps toward improving the impact of their organizations on the environment and society. However, unless boards change, many of the initial sustainability efforts launched in corporations are likely to be temporary. For organizations to achieve sustainable effectiveness, they need a corporate board that is designed to lead in a sustainably effective way.

Image courtesy of Flickr user kenjonbro.

What Really Happened to Toyota?

Consumers were surprised in October 2009 by the first of a series of highly publicized recalls of Toyota vehicles in the United States. Citing a potential problem in which poorly placed or incorrect floor mats under the driver’s seat could lead to uncontrolled acceleration in a range of models, Toyota announced that it was recalling 3.8 million U.S. vehicles. The article discusses two root causes for Toyota’s quality problems.

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Sustainability: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage

This report on the second annual Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study by MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group reveals two distinct camps of companies: “embracers” — those who place sustainability high on their agenda — and “cautious adopters,” who focus more on energy cost savings, material efficiency, and risk mitigation. The report identifies seven practices exhibited by embracers, which together begin to define sustainability-driven management.

Image copyright of BP p.l.c.

How to Save Your Brand In the Face of Crisis

When bad things happen, companies need the right strategy for talking their way out of a mess and avoiding a calamitous pummeling of their corporate image. Choosing the best response can spell the difference between a brand’s survival — even enhancement — and its irreversible tarnishing.

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The Hidden Costs of Organizational Dishonesty

When companies act dishonestly, the psychological costs outweigh any short-term gains. Dishonesty ultimately decreases repeat business and increases worker turnover and employee theft. Degradation of a company’s reputation, adverse effects on employee values and increased surveillance of workers through expensive new systems eat at an organization’s health. The authors offer proof that honesty is still the best policy.

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Understanding Customer Delight and Outrage

Delivering quality to customers in a competitive marketplace dictates the need to continually enhance a customer’s experience and satisfaction. However, evidence indicates that satisfying customers is not enough to retain them because even satisfied customers defect at a high rate in many industries.

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Recovering and Learning from Service Failure

Effective service recovery is vital to maintaining customer and employee satisfaction and loyalty, which contribute significantly to a company’s revenues and profitability. Yet most customers are dissatisfied with the way companies resolve their complaints, and most companies do not take advantage of the learning opportunities afforded by service failures. The authors provide a research-based approach for helping managers develop a comprehensive service recovery system.

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Do Customer Loyalty Programs Really Work?

The contention that loyal customers are always more profitable is a gross simplification, according to the authors. They posit that such schemes do not fundamentally alter market structure and, instead, increase market expenditures without really creating any extra brand loyalty. Dowling and Uncles suggest ways to design an effective program.

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Strategic Innovation

How can a company successfully attack an established market leader? How can it find new ways to compete that everyone else has missed? By breaking the rules of the game in its industry to find new sources of innovation, says this author. In a study of thirty successful attackers, he identified five ways that they think about and develop a new game plan.

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Returns Policies: Make Money by Making Good

ALTHOUGH RETURNS POLICIES HAVE BEEN WIDELY USED FOR MANY YEARS, THEY CONTINUE TO BE A SOURCE OF CONTROVERSY. THE AUTHORS present a framework that explains when and how to adopt returns policies. They analyze the benefits and costs of accepting returns from distributors, and also compare returns policies to alternative ways of coordinating the distribution channel.

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The Nonmarket Strategy System

Why do some well-formulated competitive strategies run into roadblocks or end up being stalled by government inaction? Why do some strategies produce unintended consequences inconsistent with a company’s core values? Why are strategies sometimes criticized by the public and threatened by government action? The causes of these problems are frequently

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