Firm authenticity: the construct, research propositions, and managerial implications
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Firm authenticity is conceptualized as a dual-component hierarchical model, suggesting that authenticity is manifested at different organizational (employee, leadership, and strategic management) levels, as well as in the organization’s marketplace presence (products, brands, and corporate identity). Firm authenticity is distinguished from trustworthiness, corporate social responsibility, and market orientation, providing insight into the strategy’s theoretical boundaries. Drawing on signaling and stakeholder theories, a mediated conceptual model capturing a series of research propositions is advanced. Signaling theory suggests that signaling authenticity can be effective, and stakeholder theory proposes that firm authenticity appeals to all stakeholders, resulting in increased shareholder value and potentially shielding the firm from negative consumer reactions, whereas signaling theory proposes that it positively influences consumer related outcome variables (loyalty and purchase intentions). Managers are encouraged to integrate authenticity into their organizations, while research extensions that operationalize the construct and test its nomological validity, using latent variable modeling, secondary data analysis, or a combination thereof are recommended.
KeywordsAuthenticity Firm authenticity Positioning strategy Stakeholders
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