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Corporate social performance (CSP) is an elusive concept for managers and a difficult one to measure. Part of the challenge lies, as with the CSP–corporate financial performance literature, in the operationalization of the relationship between CSP and overall organizational performance that provides insights for both researchers and practitioners. In this paper, we look at a component of CSP—corporate reputation (CR)—to assess how different stakeholders measure and evaluate CR in an industry context and provide a workable approach for managers trying to understand how to measure CRs. We recognize that some will argue that CSP is part of CR or that CR is part of CSP. Our focus here is on the development of an initial approach to measurement that can be utilized by managers to make decisions, used by external groups to assess CR, to allow for comparisons of firms within the same industry and to suggest new avenues of research. We look at five to eight companies in each of nine leading industries across a 3-year time span. We believe the results provide the basis for a deeper insight into more rigorous measurement and analysis of both CR and CSP using external, stakeholder generations of CR to assess relative performance of firms in an industry over time. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.