Reputation on the line: the Starbucks cases

Roger W. Hutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose – The paper aims to increase the understanding of reputational-risk management by examining company responses to potentially reputation-damaging incidents. Design/methodology/approach – Incidents with potential for damaging Starbucks Corporation’s reputation were described and summarized as were the company’s responses to those incidents. Findings – It was observed that the complexity of resolving a reputation-damaging incident was inversely related to its closeness to the company’s core business. Also, the longevity of incidents suggests the persistent influence of past events. Research limitations/implications – Limitations are that findings are not generalizable beyond this case study and that the bulk of the information collected pertained to one of the five incidents examined. Potential hypotheses for future research are suggested. Practical implications – Findings provide reference points and a context for managers responding to reputation-damaging incidents. Originality/value – The paper illustrates how reputation-damaging incidents can be complex and difficult to resolve the more removed they are from the company’s core business.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Strategy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 18 2016


  • Core business
  • Corporate communication
  • Corporate strategy
  • Hysteresis
  • Reputation management
  • Reputation risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Strategy and Management


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