chapter  13
14 Pages

Corporate Reputation and the News Media in Switzerland


This chapter examines the relationship between media reputation-defi ned as the overall evaluation of a company presented in the media (Deephouse, 2000)—and the corporate reputation of the 39 largest Swiss companies amongst the general public. This lends our study a pioneering character, because research into agenda setting in Switzerland has hitherto found application only within the context of political communication. There has so far been a lack of studies in the fi eld of business communication. Our study will examine both fi rst-and second-level agenda-setting effects (Carroll, 2004; Carroll & McCombs, 2003; McCombs & Shaw, 1972). It draws on data from a comprehensive content analysis on coverage of corporations in 13 key Swiss media (newspapers, television) as well as on a representative opinion poll among the general public. Both the content analysis of the media and the opinion poll covered the awareness (salience of the company), the issue involvement, as well as the evaluation of these companies in order to examine fi rst-and second-level agenda-setting effects. Among other things, the study confi rms a signifi cant effect of awareness and evaluation (positive/negative) of the analyzed companies in the media on their corporate reputation. However, a strong agenda-setting effect is also seen when the media cover these companies on crisislike occasions that generate a high intensity of reporting. Before describing the results of the empirical studies, the chapter gives an overview of Swiss research into reputation and agenda setting.