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Bronwen Harrison

First Name: Bronwen
Surname: Harrison
Department Dept of Marketing and Management
Supervisor(s): Denise M Jepsen , Leigh Wood

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Paper Title

Developing a taxonomy of awards for individuals in business


The use of awards as signals of performance excellence


Awards are ubiquitous in modern business (Best, 2008). It is not unusual to see organisations or individuals signalling (Spence, 1973) their expertise by referring to an award win either in their marketing material or their resumes. However little is known about the quality or value of specific awards and how an individual came to win an award. While an award may be seen as a signal of performance excellence (English, 2002), in business there is no guidance available for a reader to interpret that signal. This study proposes a taxonomy of work-related awards. The purpose of the taxonomy is to facilitate the interpretation of the quality of a business award won by an individual.


Preliminary findings from content analysis and semi-structured interviews have provided evidence to support the creation of a framework for the assessment of awards.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are limited to the Australian context and individual national award winners.

Practical and Social implications

A taxonomy may be valuable for recruiters and business managers who need to understand the quality and value of specific awards, especially when recruiting new staff.


awards, taxonomy, signals, performance excellence