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A recent series of reputational crises underscores the importance of building a strong corporate identity and reputation. The building of Corporate Ethical Identity, a process referred to as “ethicalization,” is an important strategic imperative in today’s world and an integral part of a firm’s attempts to build a strong corporate identity across its various stakeholders. In this process we focus on ethicalization on the part of SAB Ltd, a large South African brewer that is part of the global SABMiller plc, and the impact of its efforts on supplier perceptions. Our findings show that leaders and managers must consider six factors that drive the formation of ethical identity namely, the forming of trusted relationships with stakeholders, having sustainable organizational citizenship, making sure those ethical policies are developed and enforced and the ethical management of procurement contracting, administration and information. We use these findings to infer a model for senior managers to build ethical identity across an organization’s stakeholders.


This is a pre-print version of an article published by Sage, available at