Grahame Dowling is one of Australia's leading researchers and writers on marketing and its importance in today's successful corporations and organizations.
1997 ANZMEC (Australian and New Zealand Marketing Educators Conference) Distinguished Marketing Researcher - for the best academic paper published by a member of an Australian or New Zealand university in the period 1992-1996.
1999 ANBAR Citation of Excellence for the paper "Information Control and Influence in Emergent Buying Groups" Journal of Marketing (1998) with P. Dawes and D. Lee.
2003 Emerald Management Reviews selected the article "Customer Relationship Management: In B2C Markets Often Less is More", appearing in the California Management Review as one of the Top 50 articles for 2002 published in 400 world-wide management publications.
2003 Classified as one of the Top 10 authors in marketing for the period 1991-2000 in all Asia-Pacific universities.
2005 Emerald Literati Award for "Customer Loyalty and Customer Loyalty Programs", with Mark Uncles and Kathy Hammond appearing in the Journal of Consumer Marketing as one of the most downloaded articles.
An Inernational Research Fellow of the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputations (since 2015).
Professor Dowling's research work can be divided into four main areas.
(a) Starting in the late 70s and concluding in the late 90s, a stream of research on the adoption and diffusion of innovations that included related work on perceived risk (i.e., inhibitors to adoption).
(b) How organisations buy (with a particular emphasis on buying the services of professional service firms).
(c) Marketing management - with a recent emphasis on customer relationship management and loyalty programs.
(d) Corporate reputations – their creation and use (since 1980 to the present).
According to Google Scholar his books and papers have been cited more than 15,000 times and have an h-index of 33.
A selection of some of his more recent publications can be seen by selecting the'Publications' tab. A full CV showing around 100 publications is obtainable from the Discipline Group's web site coordinator.
Professor Dowling has been a grant reviewer for the Australian Research Council and a reviewer for a number of academic journals:
Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, Corporate Reputation Review (editorial board)
Australian Journal of Management, California Management Review (occasional reviewer)
Marketing Letters, Journal of Brand Management, Journal of Consumer Research, International Journal for Research in Marketing, Journal of Marketing (ad hoc reviewer)
Marketing professional service firms
Adoption and diffusion of innovations
Customer Relationship Management programs
What does a company have to do to be admired and respected? Why does Apple have a better reputation than, say, Samsung? In Winning the Reputation Game, Grahame Dowling explains. Companies’ reputations do not derive from consultant-recommended campaigns to showcase efforts at corporate transparency, environmental sustainability, or social responsibility. Companies are admired and respected because they are “simply better” than their competitors. Companies that focus on providing outstanding goods and services are rewarded with a strong reputation that helps them gain competitive advantage.
Dowling, who has studied corporate reputation–building for thirty years, describes two core strategies for creating a corporate reputation that will provide a competitive advantage: to be known for being Best at Something or for being Best for Somebody. Apple, for example, is best at personal technology products that enhance people’s lifestyles. IKEA is best for people who want well-designed furniture at affordable prices.
Dowling covers such topics as the commercial value of a strong reputations—including good employees, repeat customers, and strong share price; how corporate reputations are formed; the power of “being simply better”; the effectiveness of corporate storytelling (for good or ill; Kenneth Lay of Enron was a master storyteller); and keeping out of trouble.
Drawing on many real-world examples, Dowling shows how companies that are perceived to be better than their competitors build strong reputations that reflect past success and promise more of the same. Companies that artificially engineer a reputation with irrelevant activities but have stopped providing the best products and services available often wind up with mediocre—or worse—reputations.
Burke, PF, Dowling, G & Wei, X 2018, 'The Relative Impact of Corporate Reputation on Consumer Choice: Beyond a Halo Effect', Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 34, no. 13-14, pp. 1227-1257.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Previous work suggests that corporate reputation generates a ‘halo effect’ where products from companies with better reputations are more likely to be chosen. We argue that corporate reputation plays a more expansive role, proposing that consumers will be less price-sensitive to offerings endorsed by companies with good reputations and that it moderates the marginal utility of product features with high clarity. We also propose that an individual’s knowledge of a company increases the likelihood its products will be purchased. Using a choice model incorporating an individual SEM-based reputation measure, we find support for these hypothesised effects in the context of television choices. The results suggest that corporate reputation warrants more attention by marketing managers to increase preferences for their products through these mechanisms.
The glass ceiling is a metaphor used to characterize the gender inequality of women at the top in most large western organizations. This situation has prompted many business organizations, NGOs and governments to encourage large organizations to promote more women into the executive suite and onto boards of directors. While there is little controversy about this initiative, this paper argues that there should be because it directly challenges the principle that merit should outweigh diversity. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
This paper reviews research that purports to show that women are unfairly under-represented in the most senior positions in large western organizations. It also reviews the arguments that more senior women would improve the performance of these organizations. This research is then used to develop a model of why there are markedly fewer women than men at the top of large organizations.
This study finds that most of the research studies purporting to show that there is a bias against promoting women to the top of large western organizations are unsound because they are poorly designed and/or fail to accommodate alternative explanations for this effect. Thus, the current number of women who run these organizations may be a good reflection of their contribution to the management of these organizations. These findings suggest that many of the policies that are promoted to help women break through the glass ceiling are misguided.
Large organizations should think carefully about following the advice of special interest groups who vigorously promote this social cause.
Social policy advocates need better research from which to advance their cause that there are currently too few women in senior management positions of large organizations.
This is one of only a handful of papers that challenges the current orthodoxy that artificial gla...
© 2016 European Academy of Management.Corporate reputation is a construct that has gained widespread recognition in the disciplines of strategy, corporate social responsibility, management and marketing because a good reputation is thought to be more commercially valuable than a bad reputation. However, recent reviews of the scholarly literature suggest that because the construct of corporate reputation has been defined in a wide variety of ways it is difficult to understand the antecedents and consequences of the construct. To illustrate this problem 50 different definitions of corporate reputations are reviewed. This analysis suggests that some of the most prominent measures are not grounded in the definitions that are thought to underpin them. This phenomena presents a challenge to anybody wanting to meta-analyze findings and to build new theories of corporate reputation. To help advance the field a framework is presented to guide the refinement of scholarly definitions so that they are well constructed and thus capable of guiding the development of valid measures of the construct. To illustrate this framework a new definition and some new measures are provided.
Wilden, R, Devinney, TM & Dowling, GR 2016, 'The architecture of dynamic capability research', The Academy of Management Annals, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 997-1076.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The dynamic capability view (DCV) of the firm has become one of the leading frameworks aimed at identifying drivers of long-term firm survival and growth. Yet, despite considerable academic interest, there are many questions about what dynamic capabilities (DCs) are, how they relate to other organizational operations, and how they relate to firm performance. In this article, we provide a unique and comprehensive examination of the DCV literature that goes beyond past reviews by combining text-based analysis with surveys of,and interviews with, researchers in the field. With this approach, we are able to examine the evolution of the DCV in written literature and identify missing research themes. Based on this review, we argue that future research will benefit from integrating the DCV with configuration theory and the recent micro foundational thinking. We encapsulate this discussion via an architectural model of the DCV (entitled “House of Dynamic Capabilities”) that combines micro foundations underlying DCs at the varying levels of analysis (individual, business unit, and organizational) while also accounting for important enablers of DCs and firm strategic orientation. We also show how this logic requires a completely different set of methodological approaches to those currently in use
Auger, P, Devinney, T, Dowling, G & Eckert, C 2016, 'Inertia and discounting in the selection of socially responsible investments: An experimental investigation', Annals in Social Responsibility, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 29-47.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Socially responsible investment (SRI) funds have grown dramatically as an investment alternative in most of the developed world. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
This study uses a structured experimental approach to determine if the decision-making process of investors to invest in SRIs is consistent with the process used for conventional investments. The theoretical framework draws on two widely studied concepts in the decision making and investment literature, namely, inertia and discounting.
The authors find that inertia plays a significant role in the selection of SRI funds and that investors systemically discount the value of SRIs.
The results suggest that SRIs need to be designed to cater to the risk/return profiles of investors and that these investors need to be better informed about the performance of SRIs vs conventional investments to reduce their systematic discounting.
Unique experimental approach applied to investment alternatives in a manner that captures individual level variation.
Dowling, GR 2014, 'Playing the citations game: From publish or perish to be cited or sidelined', Australasian Marketing Journal, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 280-287.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2014 Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy. The availability of automated citation counting software has made it easy for citation metrics to be used in the performance appraisal of many academics. This is most evident in decisions about promotion, research funding and salary supplementation. At present, many marketing academics seem to have only a passing interest in how their citations may impact on these decisions. Notwithstanding their limitations, citations can play an important role in building a case for the career advancement of most academics. The questions addressed in this paper are twofold. First, is seeking more citations a somewhat distracting game to be played across one's career or do they provide a reasonably valid measure of research recognition? Second, given that their use is becoming more widespread, how can a scholar's citation profile be linked to their research strategy so that it enhances rather than obscures their contribution? In the language of branding the task is how best to use citations as a point-of-proof of research contribution. Data from the Australian marketing community is used to illustrate how this can be achieved.
Auger, P, Devinney, TM, Dowling, GR, Eckert, C & Lin, N 2013, 'How much does a company's reputation matter in recruiting?', MIT Sloan Management Review, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 79-88.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
How much does a company's reputation matter in recruiting?
While there is widespread support for the notion that organizations with better reputations outperform their rivals, there is uncertainty about how to create such a reputation, especially among the managers responsible for this task. For example, organizations often give money to worthy causes or create social responsibility programs in the hope that this will appeal to their stakeholders. When approaches such as these are only loosely coupled to the strategy of the organization they appear to be "bolted on" rather than "built in." Thus, they are likely to foster a reputation that is less consistent with the principal actions of the organization and be less credible. They are also easy for competitors to imitate. Because of this, a reputation grounded in the strategy of the organization has a better chance of providing a sustainable competitive advantage. We present a normative framework that illustrates a strategy-led approach to reputation building. It is illustrated with numerous corporate examples
Many researchers have expressed frustration with the current state of scholarship about corporate and organizational identity. There are multiple definitions and confusion about the antecedents and consequences of each type of identity. Also, given the amount of scholarship involving these constructs, there are surprisingly few measures of either construct. We propose that each type of identity is an important and related construct. To clarify the relationships between and among the constructs, we review their use in three literatures. We then develop a model of how the two identity constructs relate to each other to influence how stakeholders trust and engage with their chosen organizations. To guide further research, we suggest how better measures of each construct can be developed.
Purpose: Now more than ever, businesses need to understand what the media is saying about them. The authors describe three types of media analysis: salience and sentiment analysis; theme and contradiction analysis; and problem and solution analysis, the
Devinney, TM, Dowling, GR & Perm-Ajchariyawong, N 2008, 'The Financial Times business schools ranking: What quality is this signal of quality?', European Management Review, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 195-208.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
We suggest that the annual rankings of business schools have acquired a legitimacy that unduly defines the organizational field in a manner that makes it difficult and risky for most schools to manage to this measure of business school quality and positional status. To illustrate this we analyze the annual rankings produced by the Financial Times. This analysis illustrates that (a) these rankings are driven in large part by structural factors that many schools cannot change, (b) the ranks of the top schools are quite stable over time, and (c) the ranks of the bottom schools are quite dynamic. These effects provide a competitive advantage for the early entrants into the top ranks. Our research builds on the idea that the rankings are a social statistic that plays a crucial role in defining business school competition
An important but often overlooked aspect of executive leadership is the creation of a good corporate reputation and the use of this asset to enhance organizational performance. There is accumulating evidence that a company's reputation influences both its operational and financial performance. Because corporate reputations reside in the heads of people rather than as tangible assets, one of the key factors determining the various reputations of a company is the coverage it receives in the media. The power of the media comes from its reach and prominence, its role in certifying some companies as legitimate and important players in the market and peoples beliefs that it has superior access to information and expertise in evaluating companies. In this way, what the media says has a real impact on the business fortunes of companies.
With the recent loss of public confidence in firms in America, Australia, Britain, and other countries, more companies are being forced to promote themselves to their internal and external stakeholders in order to maintain and protect their reputations. Advises firms to communicate their reputation message in the form of a corporate story--a narrative that speaks about the company's mission, morality, and modes of operation--and then provides guidelines for creating and evaluating these stories
Corporate Boards, CEOs, CFOs, consultants, investors and academics are all interested in the question of if and how corporate reputations create financial value for companies. To date, much of the research that tests the claim that a good corporate reputation directly creates such value has produced conflicting findings. This paper illustrates how a good corporate reputation can enhance the market value of a company. This discussion also suggests that it is premature to try to put an accurate financial value on a company's brand/reputation.
Much has been written about the working relationship of advertising agencies and their clients. This paper examines whether advertising agency and client managers use the same mental models to evaluate the creative execution of print advertisements. It is found that while each group uses a different mental model to evaluate four such advertisements, they agree on the most preferred advertisement. Conflict is present but it does not reach a dysfunctional level.
Dowling, GR 2004, 'A commentary on Hunt and Arnett's paper: Market segmentation strategy, competitive advantage and public policy: Grounding segmentation strategy in resource-advantage theory', Australasian Marketing Journal, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 30-31.
Dowling, GR 2004, 'Journalist's evaluation of corporate reputations', Corporate Reputation Review, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 196-205.
Uncles, M, Dowling, GR & Hammond, K 2003, 'Customer loyalty and customer loyalty programs', The Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 294-316.
Dowling, GR 2001, 'The alpha, beta, gamma approach to measuring change and its use for interpreting the effectiveness of service quality programs', Australian Journal of Management, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 55-67.
Carson, S, Devinney, TM, Dowling, GR & John, G 1999, 'Understanding institutional designs within marketing value systems', Journal of Marketing, vol. 63, pp. 115-130.
Devinney, TM & Dowling, GR 1999, 'Getting the piper to play a better tune: Understanding and resolving advertiser-agency conflicts', Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 19-58.
Dowling, GR & Uncles, M 1997, 'Do customer loyalty programs really work?', SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 71-&.
Dowling, GR, Lilien, GL & Soni, PK 1994, 'A Business Market Segmentation Procedure for Product Planning', Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 31-62.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This paper demonstrates a market segmentation procedure that responds to the information needs associated with business product marketing. We outline several important criteria that such a procedure should meet, and then propose a procedure that addresses those criteria. We illustrate use of the procedure by applying it to the US information processing market with considerable success. We close with a discussion of the uses and limitations of the procedure and the need for further research. © 1993 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Midgley, DF & Dowling, GR 1993, 'A Longitudinal Study of Product Form Innovation: The Interaction between Predispositions and Social Messages', Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 611-611.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Dowling, GR & Walsh, PK 1990, 'Describing the new product adoption behavior of countries using a new product growth model', Behavioral Science, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 269-280.View/Download from: Publisher's site
MIDGLEY, DF, DOWLING, GR & MORRISON, PD 1989, 'CONSUMER TYPES, SOCIAL-INFLUENCE, INFORMATION SEARCH AND CHOICE', ADVANCES IN CONSUMER RESEARCH, vol. 16, pp. 137-143.
DOWLING, GR 1985, 'THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ADVERTISING EXPLICIT WARRANTIES', JOURNAL OF PUBLIC POLICY & MARKETING, vol. 4, pp. 142-152.
Dowling, GR & Gardberg, NA 2012, 'Keeping score: the challenges of measuring corporate reputation' in Barnett Michael, L & Pollock Timothy, G (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Reputation, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 34-68.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
While corporate reputation's (CR) benetlts arc known and lauded, its nat ure as an intangible asset causes its measurement to remain elusive. We describe methodological issues faced by CR researchers, including the thorny issues of construct definition, conceptualization as a formative and/or reflective construct, item breadth, sampling frames, scales' psychometric properties, and their appropriateness for measurement across industry, national, and ownership contexts. We also discuss the appropriateness of various methodologies such as survey, content analysis, and archival data. Vie then review the most visible academic and practitioner quantitative measures of CR from Fortune's "America's Most Admired Companies" to the Reputation Institute's RepTrak Pulse that have been published by consultants or business media outlets in over fifty countries. Overall, CR measurement has improved, providing better tools for both academic research and practice. We emphasize the need for multiple methodologies to facilitate triangulation, and conclude with suggestions for future operationalizations of corporate reputation.
BrÃ¸nn, C & Dowling, GR 2011, 'Corporate Reputation Risk: Creating an Audit Trail' in Helm, S, Liehr-Gobbers, K & Storck, C (eds), Reputation Management, Springer, Heidelberg, Germany, pp. 239-255.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Bronn and Dowling focus on the actual management of reputational risks. They demonstrate how the general awareness of reputation threats should be transferred into a formalized Corporate Reputation Risk Audit allowing a sound identification, prioritization, and management of reputational dangers. The authors provide reasons why reputation should be integrated into a companys risk assessment and present an example of an audit process.
Dowling, GR & Weeks, W 2011, 'Measuring media corporate reputations' in Helm, S, Liehr-Gobbers, K & Storck, C (eds), Reputation Management, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany, pp. 111-125.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Dowling, GR 2008, 'Creating better corporate reputations: An Australian perspective' in Melewar, TC (ed), Facets of Corporate Identity, Communication and Reputation, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 178-196.
Wilden, RM, Devinney, TM & Dowling, GR 2013, 'The architecture of dynamic capability research: A scientometric investigation', Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Orlando, USA.
Wilden, RM, Devinney, TM & Dowling, GR 2013, 'The evolving DNA of dynamic capabilities: A scientometric investigation', Proceedings of the European Academy of Management Conference, European Academy of Management Conference, European Academy of Management, Istanbul, Turkey, pp. 1-40.
Auger, P, Devinney, TM, Dowling, GR, Eckert, C & Perm-Ajchariyawong, N 2011, 'The value of a corporate, workplace & social reputation to potential executive employees', Academy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting - West Meets East: Enlightening. Balancing. Transcending, AOM 2011, Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Academy of Management, Texas, USA.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
It has been readily accepted that prospective employees, including MBA students seeking jobs after graduation, put great stock in a potential employer's reputation - particularly that relating to its social responsibility and workplace practices. However, other than potentially biased results from self-report surveys we have little information as to whether or not job seekers would actually tradeoff salary and other utilitarian aspects of a job contract to work at firms with supposed greater reputational standing. In the present study we use a structured experimental approach to determine the extent to which the facets of reputation - corporate, social and workplace - drive job contract choice. We discover that while some aspects of corporate and workplace reputation matter marginally, MBA job seekers appear to put little value on social reputation. Even in the specific cases where we can discern individuals who do value social reputation, this is unrelated to their stated preferences revealed using standard survey methods. The implication is that firms seeking to entice potential executives should focus on utilitarian aspects of the employment contract that may impact their reputation rather than attempting to manipulate that reputation directly.
Dowling, GR & Gardberg, NA The Conference Board 2014, Measuring corporate reputation, in How Sustainability Can Enhance Corporate Reputation, pp. 64-69, New York.
Auger, P, Devinney, TM, Dowling, G, Eckert, C & Lin, N 2012, 'Winning the War for Talent: Back to Basics'.
Auger, P, Devinney, TM, Dowling, GR, Eckert, C & Perm-Ajchariyawong, N 2011, 'Being in Good Standing: The Value of a Corporate, Workplace & Social Reputation to Potential Executive Employees'.