C-Suites’ Reputation Risk

Michael D. Moberly    July 21, 2014   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!


The intent of this post is certainly not to suggest there should be a greater sense of dismissiveness directed toward the various origins, motives, or consequences to materialized reputation risks, which companies and organizations with unfortunate and often times unnecessary frequency, encounter and ultimately are compelled to address.

What is reputation risk…

Responsibility for materialized reputation risk events is frequently and variously attributed to unfettered and barrier free entry to social media and/or blog platforms by agenda driven individuals or groups to communicate adverse views about what a company (a.) may have done, (b.) intends to do, or (c.) continues to do. This includes acts such as the use/application of products or services with known design or operational flaws or substandard contents in which there is public consumption, as well as litanies of other forms of neglect or indifference to potential adverse affects which any of the aforementioned can have on reputation.

An internationally respected colleague, Dr. Nir Kossovsky, characterizes (a company’s) reputation, and I agree, as equating with client and/or consumer expectation.

Logically, I would assume, corporate c-suites globally, have no argument with Dr. Kossovsky’s characterization because I routinely observe them stressing the importance which they and their company attach to accommodating and sustaining customer-consumer expectations and goodwill which leads me to draw several, albeit subjective, conclusions, i.e., there…

  1. There is a rather obvious disconnect between c-suites’ often robust and eloquent treatment of the necessity to meet or exceed customer expectations when those expectations and trust are sullied by a lack of consistent oversight.
  2. There is frequent and awkward ineptness demonstrated by company some c-suites when they endeavor to mitigate reputation risks which have become public.
  3. There are, what reasonable consumers would likely regard as genuine reputation breaches when a corporate c-suite is operating on either misplaced guidance or assumptions that the act or omission underlying the materialization of a reputation risk event must rise to some preconceived (ill-conceived) metric as a requisite to public and apologetically toned acknowledgment.
  4. If there is such a metric, aside from legal (liability) or insurance rationales, it may well be that the adverse event is resonating in a manner that leaves decision makers with no further ‘cover’ options.
  5. Presumably, some c-suites believe they have achieved a level of reputation risk awareness and countermeasure sophistication to effectively thwart prospective or even some materialized risks in that they can be localized or compartmentalized to sufficiently avoid or mitigate any far reaching adverse affects.
  6. So, should the above conclusions approach reality, which I believe they do, a final conclusion may well be that c-suites’ find safeguarding their company’s reputation to be a particularly troublesome category/type of risk to consistently sustain and effectively address, regardless of the origin or reason for a reputation risk to have materialized.
  7. Ultimately, I suspect that there are numerous c-suites have arrived at a point (in the context of business and economic globalization) in which manifestations of reputation risk appear indistinguishable insofar as those which can – will transcend a company’s headquarters to adversely affect their entire global presence?

Again, it may be little wonder then why reputation risk is often characterized as being the most difficult and challenging type/category of risk to manage!

As always, I welcome your comments.

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