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How does organizational task matter for the reputation of public agencies?
Regulation & Governance  (IF5.4),  Pub Date : 2021-10-25, DOI: 10.1111/rego.12441
Koen Verhoest, Jan Boon, Stefan Boye, Heidi H. Salomonsen

The study of organizational task for understanding how organizations behave and evolve has been one of the classic topics in organization theory and public administration. Reputation scholarship has appeared as a promising perspective to understand internal and external organizational dynamics. Reputation scholars, too, emphasize the critical importance of task. Despite this recognition, the literature is characterized by a lack of theorization, and large-scale comparative analyses on how task characteristics are related to reputational dynamics. This study aims to address these concerns, relying on an extensive longitudinal dataset on the media reputation of 40 agencies in two countries to explain organizations' likelihood of attracting reputational threats (both in general and targeting specific reputational dimensions) through different task characteristics. Our main finding is that as agencies perform tasks of a more coercive and authoritative nature (regulatory tasks and, to a lesser extent, redistributive tasks), they are more likely to attract reputational threats (both in general and to all dimensions).