Executives and organizations seeking to portray an image of competence and integrity should be careful what they wish for, given the state of modern media. Rather than being a passive conduit for one's image, today's media is much more activist and exerts substantial influence over the construction, reconstruction, and destruction of image. In studying the media's rapid transformation of one such glowing image in the wake of a scandal, we identified three key processes by which the media transforms image. These processes are relevant to a wide range of contexts. Perhaps most intriguing is the discovery that the media can leverage an existing, recessive narrative and convert it into a dominant one. This intriguing finding suggests that the pursuit of a glowing image might inadvertently sow the seeds of future destruction. In the heat of a scandal, executives and organizations are likely to struggle with countering the media's image-altering processes. Our findings imply a need for more careful, nuanced, and engaged image management both during a scandal and before scandal hits.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management