Ethics is entwined with reputation management in two ways. First, organizational rhetors attempt to legitimize an organization’s image by linking its actions, policies, and procedures to the dominant moral expectations and ethical systems of the societies in which they operate. The resulting organizational images and identities in turn create guidelines and constraints that validate some actions and preclude others, and make some rhetorical strategies credible and others implausible. Consequently, there is a responsibility and weight that accompany these strategic moves. Organizational rhetoric creates expectations regarding organizational policies, performance, and actions, and a company’s reputation depends in part on how well it lives up to those expectations, which ironically is an ethical issue in and of itself.

Conversely, organizational rhetors attempt to mold societal values and value ...

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