Sections of the book

Reputational matrix

Reputational matrix describes an object in a coordinate system: past-future; material-spiritual; personal-global
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Reputation is the manifestation of a reputational core, subject’s mindset, in cooperation with external world.

To describe reputation in volume (and inner core and external spectrum) it’s appropriate to use a three-dimensional coordinate system: axis of time, material-spiritual axis, personal-global axis.

The position “I’m self-aware inside a group now” is an assemblage point.

This way we are working with three-dimensional 21-position matrix or with three two-dimensional 9-position matrixes.

Three horizons: personal – “me”; collective – “we: me inside a group”; global – “we and the whole world”. In every horizon there are nine positions on two axes: past-future; material-spiritual.

Matrix allows visualizing interrelations of subject’s main positions and helps to formulate its dimensional description. At the same time it’s important to understand that this matrix (as any other rationing) is just a partial projection of reality.

Matrix is used in reputation design in following ways:

  • to uncover (diagnose) inner self-definition of a subject (carrier) of reputation;
  • to uncover (diagnose) the perception of reputational core of a subject by external observers (respondent groups);
  • to design “a perfect reputation spectrum” of a subject: how its reputation should be perceived from the point of view of external observers and which inner changes are needed for this.

“To be and to seem are two different states” – this quiet famous quote describes the traditional approach to reputational management and its external manifestation (image) very adequately (in my opinion).

Normally people are trying to seem someone or something else (“to build an image”), even if this image is in conflict with the inner substance (“to be”). This approach can’t be called effective. The more efficient approach is “to know whom to be and to know how you are seen”.

In other words, the first step towards the system reputation management is to formulate the inner substance and to define its perception by external observers (respondent groups).

And it’s important to have a tool that allows you to diagnose inner state and external manifestation of reputation, and also to formulate “a perfect state” – and attractor of a design work. This tool was developed in Reputation Lab – it’s the reputational matrix this chapter is dedicated to.

The “skeleton” of the matrix is represented by three basic conflicts: past and future, material and spiritual, personal and global. In practical work it looks like three horizons of two-dimensional matrixes, each one of them consisting out of nine states.

This simplification is driven by the necessity to lead multidimensional systems to the familiar two-dimensional format (piece of paper, computer screen). At the same time we realize that real reputation space of a subject is not even three-, but N-dimensional. Meaning that except for previously described three axes there are other, based upon different conflict positions.

Nine-positional “flat” matrix looks the following way (fig. 1):

  • time axis: past – present – future;
  • inflation axis: matter/surroundings – knowledge/skills – faith/spirituality.

Three-dimensional matrix is created by overlay of two-dimensional matrixes in three horizons: personal – collective – global. Such a three-dimensional description is mostly used while working with high-energy subjects: countries, big companies, non-governmental organizations, politics and community leaders (fig. 2).

In “everyday work” the two-dimensional nine-position matrix in “collective” horizon is quiet enough. While working with multicomponent (group) subjects of hierarchal type reputation (companies, NGOs, parties) in the format of the inner diagnostic a slightly different “dimensional division” appears. The following horizons of inner influence are used: operational, managerial, strategic. Generally for each of those horizons that form vertically integrated dimension (from operational to strategic)*, their own nine-position matrix is defined. The data of the inner diagnostic also allow to define how precisely and how deeply strategic meanings are entering hierarchal layers of a group subject.

Since in the diagnostic situation its more important to unravel a spontaneous reaction to questions, matrixes are proposed to be filled individually in quiet a restricted time frame (up to 15 minutes for a nine-position matrix). Then data from every position of the matrix in every respondent group are being integrated: the most typical and extreme opinions and marks are defined. Following the receipt of consolidated matrixes according to “inner” ad “outer” respondent groups they are being compared.

The goal of comparison is to unravel the differences between inner self-awareness and external perception. The same way you can carry out a comparison study on reputational spectrums of other objects. As the result of work a “perfect reputational matrix of an object” appears and it can be used to design channels and substance of inner and outer communications.

* For heterarchical and chaotic group systems a new diagnostic method is being developed.