University reputation management: experimental study of the influence of identity and image on reputation and behavioral intentions
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This study viewed parents of prospective college students as a primary target of university reputation management efforts and explored their perception about university identities and images as their supportive condition. Building on the theoretical argument that organizational identities and images influence consumer perception and attitude toward the organization, the central research questions are whether 1) organizational identity (internal perception of organizational strengths), 2) organizational image (external perception of organizational strengths), and 3) congruity between organizational identity and image influence parents' attitude, reputation, supportive intentions and intentions to apply to a university. To answer the questions, this study conducted a web-based experiment with 40 parents. The results showed that parents perceived both identity and image to be an important condition of a university's reputation and were related to their behavioral intentions. One of the significant findings is that university identity can be understood as an important factor for parents, particularly when a university's identity and image are incongruent. In examining the effect of organizational brand management efforts on attitudinal and behavioral outcomes, reputation appears to serve as a mediator between identities, images and behavioral intentions. This study suggests that parents' perception about both university identities and images would be related to their willingness to support and choose a university in the future.
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