Can Organizational Stigma Rub Off?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In any given year, there are several scandals that impact major organizations. They may be privacy breaches, personal failings of senior executives, product failures or any number of other issues. They become newsworthy events because of the size of the organization and the brand recognition they enjoy—and usually result in damage to that reputation that may take a while to recover from.

Similar things happen with small companies as well, but those aren’t as newsworthy (although local impact may still be significant). There are also companies that are controversial because of the industry they operate in—alcohol producers and gambling services are a mild example of that (although that may be more severe in some parts of the world), while firearms manufacturers and companies in the adult entertainment business are more universally recognized as potentially controversial.

These are issues—temporary or permanent—that impact organizations, but do they also affect employees of those organizations? If you are employed by an organization that receives bad publicity (or if you work for a business that operates in a controversial industry), does it impact how you are perceived? There’s no single answer to that question, but it is something that I feel is worth exploring.

Conscious choice or wrong place, wrong time
On the face of it, these …

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