Strauss-Kahn Arrest (2). Impact on IMF Reputation. Comparison with World Bank, United Nations and Other International Organizations

In the precedent post about media coverage of Dominique Strauss-Kahn assault and arrest we showed the profile of initial media reaction. We found out a strong association of both Strauss-Kahn and IMF to negative brand reputations vectors, in terms of “Scandal” and “Tragedy”.

We show here the specific contribution of Strauss-Kahn current scandal to IMF negative reputation. We check the media perception of news in English about IMF during May 2011. We monitor the content of some 8,000 diferent news articles about IMF. We compare it will news about IMF, but excluding all that mention its managing director, Strauss-Kahn.

The differences between both variables will show us the negative impact of the personal scandal in the media reputation of the institution, and its evolution in time.

Results reflect the impact of Strauss-Kahn in IMF reputation. At this point, the impact is not only linked to the assault scandal, as we cover news from the beginning of May 2011. They reflect also the impact of Strauss-Kahn presence and leadership in the ongoing crisis where IFM is intervening and attracting media coverage: Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Ivory Coast interventions.

The results concerning vector “Scandal” show that Strauss-Kahn is harming IFM reputation concerning the vector components scandal, embarrassing and harm. In the other side, news without DSK are more associated to worrying, which reflect the economic and financial crisis tasks where IMF is involved.

As for the vector “Tragedy”, we find that the presence of Strauss-Kahn in IMF news is increasing the association of IMF to components tragedy and horrible.

Coming days will show us to which extent the individual scandal is tarnishing IFM reputation in the vector components idetifyed in the graph. The longer the police and judicial case it takes, the more it will affect negatively to the institutional reputation. pleading not guilty will represent a problem for IMF.

Our results show that IMF news related to Strauss-Kahn increase the association to negative reputation. But the impact is right now just marginal. To which extent the intrinsic media reputation of IMF is positive or negative? Reputation crisis are critical to companies and organizations with excellent reputation and where reputation is a key intangible asset ascompetitive tool. Reputation is a key issue for international organizations.

We can provide some elements of answer concerning IFM media reputation. As always, the answer is a  matter of comparison.

IMF media reputation compared to other international organizations

By comparison to the reputation of other brands showed in precedent posts in this blog, we can observe a relative high degree of association of IMF to vectors “Scandal” and “Tragedy”. Is this a common feature of international organizations dealing with economic and financial problems?

In order to answer this question, we shoe the comparative media percpetion of some international organizations concerning these negative reputation vectors, and we pick also some selected positive brand vectors as example.

We compare first IMF to other international organization also dealing directly to economic and financial issues. First case is World Bank.


Our results indicate that World Bank presents a slighly better reputation in terms of “Excellence”

As for negative reputation, we find that IFM presents a worse reputation, both concerning association to “Scandal” and “Tragedy”.

Second international organization tested is World Trade Organization (WTO).


Very similar results, like World Bank: WTO presents a lower degree of association to “Scandal” and “Tragedy” in terms of international media reputation.

We complete the analysis of IFM reputation by comparison with other international organizations showing the example of another four international organizations in the United Nations family delivering specific services not primarily linked to financial or commercial issues.


First we compare IMF to UNDP and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) media reputation. As example of positive brand vector we have chosen “Leadership, Commitment”. We find that UNDP presents a much better mark than IMF in terms of relationship to commitment values in all areas. FAO is better perceived than IMF in some vector components like awareness, inspiring and recognition.

Concerning negative reputation brand vectors we find that IMF is doing worse than FAO and UNDP in some components like scandal, mistake and corruption linked to vector “Scandal”. As for the vector “Tragedy”, IMF related news are again more associated to this vector than FAO and UNDP, except for component awful and harm, which is equivalent to all.

Now we compare IMF reputation to UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO)

Association to positive brand value “Leadership, Commitment” is substantially higher for Unicef than for IMF. WHO presents an even poor result than IMF.

Negative reputation vector “Scandal” is once again more prominent with IMF than with the other international organizations UNICEF and WHO. IMF presents a poor profile especially in terms of scandal, worrying, mistake and corruption.

For the vector “Tragedy”, we find that negative reputation is higher for IMF when referring to failure and worst. Unicef is more associated than others to harm and tragedy. WHO, is more associated to awful.

Deriving a comment and conclusion from an overall analysis of all results presented in this post, we consider that International Monetary Found loses the media reputation battle against all other international organizations. It presents lower degree of association than others to positive brand values like Commitment, Leadership or Excellence. And it is much more associated to negative reputation vectors “Scandal” and “Tragedy” than almost all other international organizations. Remember that this negative reputation should not be assigned to Strauss-Kahn current scandal, as we are performing this analysis with news about IMF where there is no mention at all to its Managing Director.

This post raises a logical additional question: This current negative media reputation of IMF is due to misconduct and poor institutional peformance by IMF? Or this bad perception is mainly driven by the events and issues that IMF has to deal with, that deserve a critical media attention by themselves?

We will study this crucial question for reputation management and crisis management in a future post.

Other posts:

The Reputational Curse of Political Sex Scandals: The Impact of Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn Scandals on Bill Clinton (and Monica Lewinsky) Reputation

Strauss-Kahn Assault Allegations (1). Initial Media Perception and Reputation Impact

AFLAC Media Reputation: Impact of Jokes About Tsunami in Japan

Risky Business: When T-Mobile Dances with the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton

Companies Reputation and Wikileaks: Bank of America Case

Mourinho Reputation. The Impact of UEFA Disciplinary Case in Real Madrid Image

Bin Laden Killing News Storyline 1. Pakistan Media Coverage versus International Media (Ex USA)


3 thoughts on “Strauss-Kahn Arrest (2). Impact on IMF Reputation. Comparison with World Bank, United Nations and Other International Organizations

  1. Pingback: Strauss-Kahn Assault Allegations. Initial Media Perception and Reputation Impact | Crisis, Media, Reputation (and Wikileaks)

  2. Pingback: The Reputational Curse of Political Sex Scandals: The Impact of Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn Scandals on Bill Clinton (and Monica Lewinsky) Reputation | Crisis, Media, Reputation (and Wikileaks)

  3. Interesting article. However, the vectors you choose often are not entirely appropriate for the comparisons, or they inherently disadvantage the IMF. For instance, for the ones for “leadership, commitment”, the words in the vector are limiting. If you included words like “expertise,” “knowledgeable,” “reliable” (data), “transparent”, I predict the IMF would get better marks.
    Similarly, in the negative vectors, UNICEF will get a seemingly poor mark, because it helps children that are in “harm”‘s way, not because it does harm itself.

Comments are closed.