As the recent recall woes of Toyota Motor Corp. have shown, companies flourish or flounder largely on reputation. A high-profile recall -- or series of recalls, as in Toyota's case -- can sully an otherwise polished and carefully crafted public image. That hurts not only a company's business but can also take a toll on employee morale.
Recalls aren't the only events that can tarnish a company's reputation, of course. Corporate scandals and recent bailouts of banks and automakers have given many Americans reason to view some U.S. firms in a negative light.