Branded Lives

Branded Lives

The Production and Consumption of Meaning at Work

Edited by Matthew J. Brannan, Elizabeth Parsons and Vincenza Priola

Branded Lives explores the increasingly popular concept of employee branding as a new form of employment relationship based on brand representation. In doing so it examines the ways in which the production and consumption of meaning at work are increasingly mediated by the brand. This insightful collection draws on qualitative empirical studies in a range of contexts to include services, retail and manufacturing organizations. The contributors explore the nuances of employee branding from various disciplinary standpoints such as: organization studies, marketing, human resource management and industrial relations. They take a critical perspective on work and organizations and document the lived experience of work and employment under branded conditions. In investigating the extent to which a variety of organizational strategies seek to mould workplace meanings and practices to further build and sustain brand value and the effectiveness of these in terms of employee responses, the authors question whether the attempt to ‘brand’ workers’ lives actually enhances or diminishes the meaning and experience of work.

Preface

Paul Willis

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, marketing, organisation studies, research methods in business and management, research methods, research methods in business and management

Extract

Cad-dill-lac… Cad-dill-lac… the Lac… I saw you drive up… De-ville se-dan, ’79!... Last of the great ones… Did you see Goodfellas?... Cad-dill-lac… hmm. The syllables rolled around his mouth and off his tongue as if he were tasting them or feeling them for size like bits of broken-up gobstopper in his mouth. Humbert Humbert did not have more fun rolling ‘Lo-lee-ta’ around his mouth, neither was he more obsessed with syllables of a name, nor with its fetishized object. I had just bought a 79 Cadillac Deville from a car drive in Princeton, New Jersey. It was part of the estate of a woman who had died at the age of 99 and had been in her garage from new. It had 70,000 miles on the clock and there was a wheelchair in the trunk, honest! I had driven it down to a classics motor centre in Philly to get an idea of its place in the pantheon of the US golden age. The 72-year-old owner, Steve, owned and ran the place, 500 American antiques from the 1940s to the 1970s piled in line on a shabby lot, most of them in reasonable condition, some very well preserved in a big old shed, some mint-condition gleaming in a small showroom. It was not just the Cadillac name that rolled off his tongue, he seemed to like saying Olds-mob-ile too; there were many models he recited, a bit like a poem, or Chuck Berry or Johnny Cash rattling off place...