Do Social Interaction Mechanisms Affect University Reputation: Evidence from the UK Higher Education Sector

Rasha Ashraf Abdelbadie*, Nils Braakmann, Aly Salama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the influence of skilful utilisation of social interaction dynamics on creating reputations for UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) during public funding cuts and scrutiny. The paper employs a content analysis method and follows an empirical design with a unique sample of 148 UK HEIs. To gauge reputation, we rely on participatory data from the 2014–15 Guardian Journal's environmental and ethical performance ratings for the 'People & Planet University League (PPUL)'. Multiple regression analysis is applied to address the research hypotheses. The results indicate that open, accountable, and transparent sensemaking in sustainable development (SD) practices over the years is the predominant dynamic for enhancing HEIs' reputation. This paper underscores the need to consider the institutional logics perspective as a theoretical foundation for a comprehensive understanding of the link between sustainability disclosure and an institution's reputation, image, and public goodwill within the Higher Education (HE) context. HEIs' leadership should invest in SD and its associated disclosure practices. Policymakers and accounting regulators should establish consistent and comparable reporting requirements for sustainable performance within the HE sector. This paper is the first to empirically examine the direct impacts of HEIs' compliance with sustainability duties on organisational performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Feb 2024

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