When we think about other people, we do so in terms that can be boiled down to five discrete personality dimensions: extraversion, introversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness and agreeableness (known as the Big Five factors). A new study suggests that a similar process is at work in our perception of companies and corporations. Google and Apple have personalities too, it seems.
Philipp Otto, Nick Chater and Henry Stott quizzed thousands of people about their perception of hundreds of companies and they’ve found that our view of companies is encapsulated by four fundamental dimensions: honesty, prestige, innovation and power. These perceived characteristics correlate with traditional economic measures of company performance, but they offer something more.
Otto, P., Chater, N., and Stott, H. (2011). The psychological representation of corporate ‘personality’. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25 (4), 605-614 DOI: 10.1002/acp.1729
Cite this in my book: institutions are much like a person sometimes.