Are Conduct – Reputation Risks Inevitable?

For me, the distinctions and outcomes of behaviors, events, and/or circumstances which can adversely affect a business’s reputation, frequently materialize as inattentive and/or misogynistic leadership enabling an operating culture embedded with carelessness, breakdowns in, or the absence of, quality control in product-service development and application.

It’s now approaching an inevitability that anyone of the above can-will surface and found to be collusive negligence, disregard for fiduciary responsibilities, and/or violations law, e.g., sexual harassment and assault, preludes to – causes of specific human disease-harm, or perhaps produce temporary – repetitive technological glitches which manifest as personal inconveniences and/or costly, possibly irreversible, business slowdowns. 

Presently, minimizing or wholly alleviating the materialization and adverse effects of business reputation risk, be it rooted in (a.) the conduct of individual(s), (b.) an enterprise-wide culture, or (c.) leadership, I am confident, many observers – experts in this arena would agree, positive change is, at best, minimal. 

Interestingly, a new dimension to the ‘reputation – conduct risk arena’ has emerged in this decade, i.e., thousands of ‘public relations practitioners’ have aggressively morphed – tweaked – re-directed their skill sets to advise on matters related to business reputation risk. 

Seldom however, do I find such skill sets, standing alone, allow these new practitioners inside a client’s business to identify, assess, and ferret out specific personnel or structural challenges that influence-enable reputation – conduct risks to occur and surface. 

Instead, their role – services largely focus on proactive monitoring, advisories, and in some instances, countering the ever-expanding sources globally in which company – business – employee specific reputation – conduct risks originate, escalate, and exacerbate, which, in many instances, as well they should!

Of course, some sources – platforms, socials, or otherwise, are legitimate, well documented, and reasonable accurate summations – representations of a business’s realities versus ‘flame throwing – hand-me-downs’, or no source theories manufactured and presented as being legitimate for audiences receptive – inclined to believe.  

Distinguishing such content and its motivations – drivers, be it deliberative and legitimate opposition domestically, or, initiated by well masked state sponsored entities and/or economic – competitive advantage adversaries, all, for nefarious reasons. 

Either though, in today’s go fast, go hard, go global business transaction environments, requires practitioners to engage in rapid, meticulous and objective unraveling content and distinguishing the (likely) ‘real’ source(s) and their origins and sponsors, as possible, before assessments-advisories are offered.  Otherwise, it becomes merely an exercise in ‘re-tweeting guesswork’.

Of course, the patience and experience necessary to unravel adverse content and possibly its sources (a.) is obliged to be done with credibility and ethics, (b.) not be merely on substance, but also (c.) address the myriad paths which content, could-will resonate in other platforms irrespective of their legitimacy and/or intentions.    

Michael D. Moberly January 3, 2019  St. Louis  [email protected]  ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ since May 2006   600+ posts  ‘where one’s attention span, intangible assets, and solutions converge’!

Readers are invited to review other blog posts, books, and briefing papers at addressing a range of issues-matters related to intangible assets.

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