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 10: Employer Branding and Diversity: Foes or Friends?

Martin R. Edwards and Elisabeth K. Kelan

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


Introduction Martin R. Edwards and Elisabeth K. Kelan In this chapter we explore whether employer branding and diversity are diametrically opposed to each other or whether they could support the same aims. We argue that employer branding aims at creating a coherent employment brand but in the process of achieving this it can introduce pressures that lead to a homogenization of the workforce. Employer branding is a relatively new idea that has received a flurry of interest in recent years (Martin, 2008; Edwards, 2005); interest which ranges from HR practitioner literature (CIPD, 2008; Martin and Beaumont, 2003) to literature more oriented towards the marketing field (Ind, 2006; Sartain and Schumann, 2006). Although employer branding can take a number of forms (see below), in general, programmes designed to strengthen an organization’s employer brand will tend to present a uniform set of organizational values that represent both the characteristics of the organization’s corporate brand and a set of beliefs that employees ostensibly share; often employees are actively encouraged to share these values. Employer branding aims at creating a coherent and recognizable brand which, it is argued here, can potentially lead to the introduction of pressures that encourage a homogenization of the workforce. Diversity, in contrast, aims to bring out and make use of the differences between employees. This chapter discusses the tension that exists between employer branding and diversity. To begin with, the growing interest in employer branding is examined, along with a discussion of the differing positions on employer branding that...

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