Learning about reputational risk in the era of Covid-19: disinformation as corporate risk

Aprendizajes sobre el riesgo reputacional en época de Covid-19: la desinformación como riesgo corporativo

doxa.comunicación | 31, pp. 19-39 | 19

July-December of 2020

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

How to cite this article:

Mut Camacho, M. (2020). Learning about reputational risk in the era of Covid-19: disinformation as corporate risk. Doxa Comunicación, 31, pp. 19-39.


Magdalena Mut Camacho. PhD in Business and Institutional Communication from Universitat Jaume I. She is also a graduate in Information Science from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Lecturer in the department of Communication Sciences and in the official Master’s Degree in New Trends and Processes of Innovation in Com-munication at Universitat Jaume I de Castelló. In addition, Professor Mut Camacho is co-director, together with Professor Joan Costa, of the International Master’s Degree in Communication Management for the Latin Ameri-can public. Her teaching and research activity are focused on the management of intangibles of an organisation and corporate communication. She has been a winner of the 1st Prat Gaballi Award of the Catalan Association of Advertisers and Public Relations, as well as a researcher with ENCOM –Engagement and Communication re-search group. Professor Mut Camaho also works as a researcher at the Cotec Foundation for Innovation and is a founding member of the Forum for Knowledge and Communication Research.

Universitat Jaume I, Spain

[email protected]

ORCID: 0000-0002-1456-8567


When communication professionals were still asking themselves how companies could survive and prosper in the era of hyper-transparency while keeping all reputational risks under control, an unexpected situation appeared that is now generating two problems that were still in the process of being addressed in terms of how to integrate such risks into corporate reputation management. One difficulty is incorporating reputational risk into the corporate risk architecture; the other involves addressing the risks induced by disinformation, which is a new setback for corporate reputation. This study investigates the planning that takes place in Spanish companies regarding the effects of media disinformation on corporate reputation and the perception of such disinformation as a corporate risk to be included among all other reputational risks. As such, our intention is to confirm the extent to which Spanish companies accept the danger of disinformation, and the degree to which they consider the latter to be a new reputational risk that may be more urgent and serious when a situation such as the current worldwide pandemic occurs without warning. The main conclusion is that the risks related to disinformation reinforce the gap between professional perception and organisational priorities.


Corporate reputation; reputation risk; fake news; disinformation; Covid-19.


Cuando los profesionales de la comunicación aún se preguntaban cómo deben las empresas sobrevivir y prosperar en la era de la hi-pertransparencia, teniendo controlados todos los riesgos reputa-ciones, ahora sobreviene una situación inesperada que alienta dos problemas que todavía se estaba dirimiendo cómo integrarlos en la gestión de la reputación corporativa. Por un lado, lograr recoger el riesgo reputacional en la arquitectura de riesgos corporativos; y por otro, enfrentarse a los riesgos que genera la desinformación, como nuevo contratiempo para la reputación corporativa. Este trabajo indaga sobre la planificación en la empresa española de los efec-tos de la desinformación mediática en la reputación corporativa, y su concepción como un riesgo corporativo a incluir con el resto de riesgos reputacionales. De forma que, comprobaremos hasta qué punto la empresa española asume el peligro de la desinformación y lo considera un nuevo riesgo reputacional que puede ser más ur-gente y grave cuando sobreviene una situación como la alerta por pandemia mundial. La principal conclusión es que los riesgos deri-vados de la desinformación confirman la brecha entre la percepción profesional y las prioridades de la organización.

Palabras clave:

Reputación corporativa; riesgo reputacional; fake news; desinfor-mación; Covid-19

Received: 04/05/2020 - Accepted: 23/11/2020

Recibido: 04/05/2020 Aceptado: 23/11/2020