Branded Lives
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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.
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Chapter 11: Placing Branding within Organization Theory

Matthew J. Brannan, Elizabeth Parsons and Vincenza Priola


Matthew J. Brannan, Elizabeth Parsons and Vincenza Priola The aim of this volume has been to contribute to the emerging discussion surrounding employee branding with a series of studies focusing upon the realities of ‘living the brand’ for workers at the point of production. The chapters in this volume provide a rich insight into the experience of employee branding in various organizational contexts and in keeping with our aim, the approach taken by our contributors has focused on the lived experience of branding and its wider resonance for sociological debates on work. In this final chapter we seek to explore some of the key emergent themes and issues and call for more empirical work to critically explore the scope and limitations of employee branding from a socioeconomic perspective. We also seek to place employee branding into a wider theoretical debate informed by a sociological understanding of the role of branding in contemporary organizations and society. While we think this contribution does much to explore the experience of branding, there is a notable absence, both here and elsewhere, of systematic survey level work that might be used to explore the extent and scope of branding and its impact as an employment strategy for the macroeconomy. In considering the impact of branding at a micro level, we have provided an initial attempt to establish the wider importance of brand value in contemporary capitalism and the first and final chapters consciously ‘bookend’ the case study material, accounting for the significance of branding for...

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