The Production and Consumption of Meaning at Work
Edited by Matthew J. Brannan, Elizabeth Parsons and Vincenza Priola
Chapter 10: Employer Branding and Diversity: Foes or Friends?
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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