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3.3 Conceptual Framework

To date, the RepTrak™ model has been used to study only customer perceptions. The robustness and flexibility of the framework, however, suggest a wide range of research applications and a wealth of testable hypotheses across a range of stakeholder groups, making it a valuable starting point for the conceptual model of SME industry reputation introduced here. Moreover, as the framework has only been used to measure the reputation among private sector firms, applying it to the small and medium enterprise context can significantly expand its potential (Fig. 3.2).

3.4 Results and Discussion

The discussion will include finding the respondents' demographic background, the level of customers' perception on three key dimensions (product and services, governance, and financial performance), and Secret Recipe's reputation as well as the relationship between customers' perception on seven key dimensions (product and services, governance, and financial performance) and the Secret Recipe's reputation. The questionnaires have been completed by 280 respondents. Out of the 280 respondents surveyed, 50.7 % were males while 49.3 % were female. Majority of the respondents (36.4 %) were in the age group of 30–39 years old, while only 6.8 % of the respondents were aged more than 50 years old.

The main objective of this study is to examine the relationship between the customers' perception and the corporate reputation of Secret Recipe by using the seven key dimensions of the RepTrak™ model. The seven key dimensions of reputation are referred to as Secret Recipe's product and services, innovation, workplace environment, governance, citizenship, leadership, and financial performance.

Results of this study demonstrate that customers' perception on Secret Recipe's product and services, innovation, workplace environment, governance, citizenship, leadership, and financial performance were significantly related to the Secret Recipe's reputation. These findings complement with existing studies of the relationship between reputation and products/services, innovation, workplace environment, governance, citizenship, leadership, and financial performance by explicitly articulating the dynamic implications of good reputations. The study signifies that an excellent corporate reputation can lead to a positive impact on customers' purchasing tendencies [7], vendor relationships [23], and sustainability. It can possibly enhance leadership and employee recruitment as well as retention. Conclusively, an outstanding reputation will also be able to boost the market value of a company [17].

Overall, the study has identified the level of customers' perception toward Secret

Recipe's product and services, innovation, workplace environment, citizenship, governance, leadership and financial performance, and Secret Recipe's reputation. Based on the overall mean score in Table 3.1, it indicates that the financial performance dimension has the highest level of customers' perception with an overall mean score of 4.03, followed by governance with a mean score of 4.02. In contrast, workplace environment has the lowest level of customers' perception with an overall mean score of 3.50 (Table 3.2).

The analysis illustrates that among the seven key dimensions, financial performance showed the highest strength of relationship and Secret Recipe's reputation. The strength of relationship among the seven key dimensions was positive, between low and moderate relationship. The result from this study was aligned and relevant with the previous studies which agreed that financial performance can affect a company's reputation. This is definitely relevant due to the fact that positive reputations as well as customer satisfaction are usually associated with positive financial returns [27]. A satisfied customer has a tendency to have intensive purchase behavior along with customer retention [28]. This is the fundamental key element for gaining long-term sales revenues as well as business profits. Besides, as stated by Neville et al. [29], a company's financial performance is likely to be directly and significantly linked to corporate reputation.

The dimension of governance that has the lowest association with the Secret Recipe's reputation shows significantly less importance to most customers as compared to other reputation dimensions. The Secret Recipe's customers might have less information toward the transparency, on how the company fairly deals with the stakeholders and either the company behaves ethically or not, and find that this information is less important in their experience in the company. Gertsen et al. [22] mentioned that building and sustaining a solid corporate reputation require high levels of transparency.

Table 3.1 Distribution of customers' perception toward Secret Recipe's seven key dimensions

Table 3.2 Relationship between the seven key dimensions and Secret Recipe's reputation

Reputation

Pearson correlation coefficient (r)

Significant value ( p)

Financial performance

0.548**

p < 0.01

Product and services

0.387**

Leadership

0.305**

Workplace environment

0.272**

Citizenship

0.259**

Innovation

0.241**

Governance

0.217**

**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2 tailed)

From the previous studies, it has been predictable that product and service dimensions would have the highest mean score as well as the strongest relationship with the reputation of Secret Recipe as this company is based on product and services. However, the finding of this study revealed that the strength of the relationship between the customers' perception and Secret Recipe's product and services toward the Secret Recipe's reputation is low relationship. Therefore, this study did not support the finding of Cravens et al. [21] when they claimed that the product presents the essential interface with the customers and as a key driver of the corporate reputation.

The results from this study showed that the financial performance dimension has the highest mean score and moderate relationship compared to other dimensions. Therefore, as stated in the statement of the research problem section and aligned with the results, the variety of dimensions of corporate reputation can be perceived in different ways by different stakeholders. The different stakeholders may incorporate different weights to these particular dimensions and also use the various elements to assess a company.

Therefore, the management team of Secret Recipe needs to give more attention to the different dimensions in order to increase the strength of the Secret Recipe's reputation among the customers. Overall, the finding indicates that financial performance is mostly perceived by the customers with moderate strength of relationship toward the Secret Recipe's reputation.

 
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