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Reputation Renting

Reputation renting is the action of an organization with a lower reputation forming a mutually beneficial relationship with an organization of a higher reputation such that the organization with the lower reputation is able to enhance its reputation, while the organization with the higher reputation receives other considerations (e.g., financial payments).

Reputation renting is based on the same psychological processes as the individual phenomenon of “basking in reflected glory.” For example, when a local sports team wins the “big game,” fans often wear clothing featuring the team’s logo or name to associate themselves with a winner. Basking in the reflected glory is rooted in social identity theory, which provides the theoretical rationale as to how a person’s self-esteem can be enhanced by another’s success, even though ...

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