| Universität St. Gallen|
A Firm's Reputation as a Regulatory Tool
Bachmann, David Matthias
Unternehmen; Prestige; Regulierung; Anreiz
DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification)
Recht - 340
Freie Stichwörter (deutsch)
Freie Stichwörter (englisch)
Reputational sanctions; corporate reputation; reputational costs
Die Dissertation setzt sich mit der Frage auseinander, unter welchen Bedingungen die Reputation von Unternehmen einen Verhaltensanreiz für diese darstellt und als Sanktionsinstrument genutzt werden kann.
The question of how to achieve behavior modification of firms and make them comply with certain rules or standards is a subject at the interface between law and economics.
This thesis examines the behavior modifying capacity of threatening a firm's reputation and investigates the conditions that have to prevail in order for reputational sanctions to be effective regulatory tools.
The thesis is organized in three chapters:
The first chapter gives an overview of the regulatory landscape and seeks to present the essential characteristics and functions of regulation. A broad definition of regulation that allows us to consider the behavior modifying effect of structures outside the direct effect of law is established and the premises on which this thesis is built are introduced. In particular, it is demonstrated that there has been a shift in practice and theory from state-centered and hierarchical forms of regulation to alternative forms: these contemporary forms of regulation are characterized by the interaction of a variety of actors and instruments, and an increasing reliance on dispersed mechanisms.
The second chapter turns to the actual research question and examines the conditions that have to exist in order for threatening a firm's reputation to be an effective regulatory tool. Not only can reputational loss that has effectively occurred have a behavior modifying effect but already the deterrent effect of threatening a firm's reputation. Theory and practice suggest that this deterrent effect is due to the negative financial impact (reputational costs) reputational loss can have on a firm's business, caused by the reactions of a firm's stakeholders. Based on this finding, the conditions under which a firm's non-compliant behavior is likely to cause reputational loss and when this loss of reputation is likely to lead to the occurrence of reputational costs are analyzed. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the emergence of digital technologies, particularly the internet, and the increased availability and transmission of information on a global scale, has raised the probability significantly that both reputational loss and costs will occur.
The findings of the second chapter are summarized in the formula of reputational costs, stating that the behavior modifying potential of this regulatory tool depends on three factors: a firm's stakeholders' expectations regarding the firm's behavior, the observability of a firm's effective (possibly non-compliant) behavior and a firm's stakeholders' potential to react to the occurrence of reputational loss caused by a firm's non-compliant behavior.
In the third chapter the practical and legal constraints of threatening a firm's reputation are highlighted. A brief model, based on the findings of the second chapter, is introduced allowing potential regulators to assess whether firms in a certain setting are likely to respond to this regulatory tool. Furthermore, attention is drawn to the legal constraints state and private actors face when they provide information about firms' effective behavior that is likely to cause a reaction of firms' stakeholders, which might again lead to the occurrence of reputational costs.
van Aaken, Anne (Prof. Dr.)
Meckel, Miriam (Prof. Dr.)
Erweitertes Diss. Komitee
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