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.

Chapter 6: Internalizing the Brand? Identity Regulation and Resistance at Aqua-Tilt

Stephanie Russell

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


Stephanie Russell Introduction This chapter explores empirically the process of employee branding and seeks to explore the various ways in which employees are encouraged to internalize the brand. In particular it examines the ways in which the brand can be harnessed to encourage individual–organizational identification. The data are drawn from an ethnographic investigation of Aqua-Tilt, a global manufacturer in the passive fire industry. This industry covers the manufacturing and installation of fire protection products, such as ceiling panels, fire doors and cavity wall barriers. The headquarters of Aqua-Tilt are located in the north of England, where I undertook research as part of a wider investigation into the impact of deregulation and voluntary compliance in the private sector. The concept of employee branding highlights how organizations seek to shape employees’ behaviour so that they are more inclined to externalize the organization’s brand through their everyday work behaviour. The increase in interest surrounding the process of employee branding is widely considered to include a range of aspects such as work on training and development (Miles and Mangold, 2004; Callaghan and Thompson, 2002) and décor and artefacts (Chugh and Hancock, 2009; Hancock and Tyler, 2000). Acknowledgement has also been made to the role of customer-orientated discourses on encouraging organizational identification (du Gay and Salaman, 1992) and how this can result in increased forms of control which employees actively seek to resist (Wallace and de Chernatony, 2009). The account provided in this chapter will seek to acknowledge the ways in which cultural...

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