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Failing the Reputation Management Test: The Case of BHP, the Big Australian


Hanson, DJ and Stuart, H, Failing the Reputation Management Test: The Case of BHP, the Big Australian, Corporate Reputation Review, 4, (2) pp. 128-143. ISSN 1363-3589 (2001) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1057/palgrave.crr.1540138


© 2001, Palgrave Macmillan. This paper explores the decline in the corporate reputation of the Australian company BHP (Broken Hill Propriety Ltd), ‘The Big Australian’, which occurred as a result of the company's involvement in the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea. We argue that the problems of BHP stemmed primarily from the inability of the company to recognize and respond to the changing societal expectations of companies which occurred during the period of the operation of the mine in the 1990s. These societal changes were evident in two media ities. The first was the general trend of increased media attention to business activities. The second media activity, which impacted on BHP specifically, was the reframing by the media of the activities of BHP from a ‘commercial success’ to an ‘environmental and social crisis’. BHP's corporate reputation suffered as a result of the media attention on the performance of a company relative to new expectations and norms of corporate social responsibility. We conclude that BHP needed to change its strategic direction from a narrow conceptualization of its corporate identity as ‘a mining company’ (‘The Big Australian’) to a broader view of itself as ‘a company that undertakes mining in relation to environmentally and socially complex interactions with land and people’.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Other commerce, management, tourism and services
Research Field:Other commerce, management, tourism and services not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Economic Framework
Objective Group:Management and productivity
Objective Field:Management
UTAS Author:Hanson, DJ (Dr Dallas Hanson)
ID Code:22323
Year Published:2001
Deposited By:Management
Deposited On:2001-08-01
Last Modified:2002-06-25

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