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U.S. News & World Report College Rankings: Modeling Institutional Effects on Organizational Reputation

University of MichiganUniversity of Notre Dame

Processes of certification and evaluation are some of the most powerful institutional forces in organizational fields, and in the higher education field, rankings are a primary factor in assessing organizational performance. This article explores the institutional effects of the U.S. News & World Report undergraduate rankings on the reputational assessments made by senior administrators at peer universities and liberal arts colleges. In the estimation of structural equation models, we found that published college rankings have a significant impact on future peer assessments, independent of changes in organizational quality and performance and even of prior peer assessments of reputation.