Arbiters, entrepreneurs, and the shaping of business school reputations

Michael Sauder*, Gary Alan Fine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


How are organizational reputations established? Expanding on recent work that emphasizes the construction of reputations rather than their cultural content, we explore how forces in the organizational environment define organizational reputation. Specifically, we demonstrate how two types of mediators - reputational arbiters and reputational entrepreneurs - influence the development of reputations by organizing and managing the information on which reputations are built. Buttressing our theoretical claims with 30 interviews of business school administrators, we find that these mediators play a central role in determining organizational reputations by engaging in three processes of information manipulation: synthesis, selection, and simplification. In addition to specifying the key role that the manipulation of information by outsiders plays in the development of reputation, this approach suggests the importance of the interrelationships among these mediators in the determination of reputational standing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-723
Number of pages25
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


  • Markets
  • Organizational fields
  • Organizational status
  • Rankings
  • Reputation
  • Third parties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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