(De)construction of pharmaceutical industry reputation through material practices regulation
Lambrix, Hélène (2014-06), (De)construction of pharmaceutical industry reputation through material practices regulation, 4th Organizations, Artifacts and Practices (OAP) Workshop, 2014-06, Rome, Italie
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference title4th Organizations, Artifacts and Practices (OAP) Workshop
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract (EN)In this empirical paper, I am looking at how individuals make reputational judgement of pharmaceutical companies when they prescribe a medicine, and, how the Mediator’s scandal in France has changed rules, material practices and the institutional logic. The literature review explores first the origins of corporate reputation in organization studies. It is defines as « a perceptual representation of a company's past actions and future prospects that describes the firm's overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared with other leading rivals» (Fombrun, 1996: 67). However, studies on corporate reputation have mainly focused on the organizations efforts to communicate efficiently to an audience their past actions and their capacity to deliver values (e.g. Weigelt & Camerer, 1988; Rao, 1994; Fombrun, 1996; Rindova, Pollock and Hayward, 2006). Recently, scholars have argued that the concept of reputation has been misunderstood by embedding both antecedents and consequences of reputation within the reputation construct itself. In an effort to understand deeply social interactions with material practices during reputation construction and deconstruction process, I believe that focusing my study in one major institutional field and especially in one practice would help to improve the knowledge of reputation construction and deconstruction process. This research inquiry is based on neo-institutionalism theories (DiMaggio et Powell, 1983; Scott, 1998, 2008; Suchman, 1995, 1998). Scholars claim that cognitive systems and social interaction between actors in the organization environment lead to new collectives’ believe (Berger et Luckman, 1967; Goffman, 1973; Suchman, 1995, 1998; Deephouse, 2010). Based on this reading grid, I use qualitative methods to collect data such as interviews, digital ethnography and archives, and perform a grounded theory analysis to deliver findings (Glaser, 1979). My research design could be qualified as inductive as soon as the findings and theorization guide the definitive theoretical framework. The major case study takes place in the pharmaceutical industry. I am focusing on the practice “prescribe a medicine”. Before 2011 (year of Mediator scandal), the whole process of prescription have been led by the pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical activities include research, development, production, sell, supply, information and training, eventually network platforms, and sponsoring. They enter in relationship with other actors like for example government (both coercive functions, and client), General Practitioners (GPs) (indirect clients) and specialised physicians (researchers, opinion leaders), regulators (coercive functions), or patients (direct clients). They are sharing informations and resources together to make the right decisions when they prescribe a medicine (directly to patients, or indirectly when they give the green light to a medicine to enter the market). To make use of their choices, trust and reputation are efficient strategies to pharmaceutical companies. In fact they would rather manage their links with actors through reputation activities, also qualified as lobbying or/and influence activities to maintain their position in the market. For example, through physical artefacts representatives offer to GPs detailed information about medicines face to face, they deliver samples to them for free, invite them and their peers to the restaurants for lunch or dinner, or provide them free tickets for symposiums. It reveals that practices come through non-physical information artefacts (language, information, rumours, word of mouth), physical information artefacts (packaging, newspapers, rankings), and non-physical information artefact technologies (social media networks, online press comments). Moreover, they have different status as soon as they have been created by the organization or not (Giddens, 1984, Orlikowski, 2007; Leonardi, 2012). However, the whole process is controverted since medicines have jeopardized the life of many people. Scandals (Thalidomide, Vioxx, Mediator) make stakeholders completely disagree with the fact that pharmaceutical industry makes money with health. They were quiet few in the 90’s. But regarding the new coercive and social rules, this group of opponents is getting bigger and bigger. To opponents, a GP should not have any affiliation with an industrial, he/she should be informed and trained with independent documents or organizations (Prescrire, Formindep), he/she won’t receive any representatives or receive a present from them, and he/she would prefer to prescribe few medicines etc. Those new behaviours are natural for young as soon as they have considered this social rules as taken for granted in their practices. In fact, the youngest GPs have been taught to not consider any influence sources in their practice, but rather be more critique about it and be more scientific oriented. They do believe that new technologies such as Twitter, blogs and forums are making them better GP. They have changed their material practices, and have defined a new way to prescribe medicines and a new institutional logic (Friedland & Alford, 1991; Thornton and Occasion, 1999; Jones, Anthony and Boxenbaum, 2012). Institutional logics refers to organizing cognitive frameworks that provide social actors with ‘‘rules of the game’’ (Thornton & Ocasio, 1999) and that operate, often implicitly, as practical guides for action (Rao, Monin, & Durand, 2003). Since 2011, official coercive rules have changed the practice. But a small group of opponent hasn’t wait for laws to show what is accepted or rejected in their everyday practices.In this working paper, I hope to contribute to neo-institutionalism theories by illustrating how material practices are constructing and deconstructing corporate reputation. My expected findings result on typologies that identify inherent information used for reputation construct (physical, non-physical, with or without technologies). It would also figures out the importance of social rules and material practices in corporate reputation construction. Instead of seeing corporate reputation only as a strategic resource (capacity to differ with others); I would rather perceive - like cognitive legitimacy - as a constructive social judgement which is constructed by external stakeholders.
Subjects / KeywordsIndustrie pharmaceutique; Médicaments; Prescription; Entreprises; Image; Pharmaceutical industry; Pharmaceutical companies; Process of prescription; Corporate reputation; Reputation activities; Reputational judgement; Reputation construction and deconstruction process; Information artefacts; Rules; Neo-institutionalism theories; Material practices; Institutional logic
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