Co-created Reputation in a Nonprofit Context: A Mixed-method Study of SACC-DC (Management Project)

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Reputation has been the subject of marketing research throughout recent years, and it was found to be an important measure of how organizations are perceived. The theory of co-creation, where organizations interact and deliver value through the involvement of customers, has also shown positive effects on performance.

The main purpose of this thesis is to gain a deeper understanding of how reputation and co-creation are managed internally.  Furthermore, this study aims to investigate the impact of brand image, satisfaction, perceived quality, and brand experience on co-creation and reputation by evaluating the external perceptions of members of a nonprofit membership organization, the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce of Washington, D.C., Inc. (SACC-DC). For a nonprofit membership organization, both reputation and co-creation can be of importance, as they do not compete by financial means, but instead by how the members perceive the networking service that they provide.

We could identify a research gap, since there is no study that examines co-creation in relation to reputation. Furthermore, there is a need to conduct more research on co-creation in the nonprofit context. We could also see that more in-depth studies need to be done on reputation in order to understand the underlying factors of the internal management of the reputation.

In order to fulfill the purpose of the thesis, a mixed-method study has been conducted. In the qualitative study, we have conducted eight semi-structured interviews with board members and employees of SACC-DC. Through the interviews, we gained a deeper understanding of how the reputation is managed by exploring how the organization works with co-creation, identity, desired identity and perceived quality.

From the interviews, four themes were derived to explain how the organization co-creates their reputation together with their members. The themes were brand identity, brand delivery, value, and mutual responsibility. Our qualitative findings resulted in a table, showing that the reputation could benefit from being co-created in nonprofit membership organizations.

In order to advance an understanding of how members of SACC-DC perceive the reputation and co-creation, a quantitative study was conducted. We assessed the effects of brand image, brand experience, satisfaction and perceived quality on co-creation and reputation. Our regression analyses showed that brand image and brand experience had positive significant effects on both co-creation and reputation, and that perceived quality had a positive significant effect on reputation. We could also conclude that co-creation had a positive significant effect on reputation.

From our qualitative interviews together with the results of our quantitative study, we could conclude that there are perceptional differences regarding the reputation between board members and members of SACC-DC. We can also conclude that the reputation of SACC-DC is indeed co-created by board members together with other members, which implies that both management and customers take part in the process of creating the best possible reputation. In addition to our theoretical contributions, we also made practical recommendations for both managers of nonprofit organizations in general and for SACC-DC in particular, on how to enhance the co-creation process of the reputation.
Source: Umeå University
Authors: Ampuero, Denise | Holmberg, Sophie

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