Being branded by the business school
Book chapter, 2017
This chapter focuses on the relatively neglected domain of branding and the academic labour process, in particular in business schools. It is increasingly accepted that brands are not only marketing tools, they also potentially instruct and direct organizational members. In other words, branding is a means by which managers or leaders can exert control in the labour process through targeting employee subjectivities. Employer branding entails the alignment of employees, typically in service occupations, with how they profile themselves outwards to customers. Successful image management and branding tends to interact with identity. Kärreman and Rylander argues that branding activities can more fruitfully be seen as the management of meaning rather than as benign marketing tools. Professional labour in academia is both simultaneously consuming the brand and producing it. Accordingly, much of the performance of academic labour can be understood as branding work, that is, doing things to market the business school or university brand to an external audience.