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Faculty Responses to Business School Branding: A Discursive Approach

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Allanah Johnston, Professor Andrea Whittle



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Emerald Publishing, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The branding of universities is increasingly recognized to present a different set of challenges than in corporate, for-profit sectors. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how faculty make sense of branding in the context of Higher Education, specifically considering branding initiatives in business schools. The paper is based on qualitative interviews with faculty regarding their responses to organizational branding at four business schools. Discourse analysis was used to analyse the interview data. The study reveals varied, fluid and reflexive faculty interpretations of organizational branding. Faculty interviewed in the study adopted a number of stances towards their Schools’ branding efforts. In particular, the study identifies three main faculty responses to branding: endorsement, ambivalence and cynicism. The study contributes by highlighting the ambiguities and ambivalence generated by brand-management initiatives in the higher education context, offering original insights into the multiple ways that faculty exploit, frame and resist attempts to brand their organizations. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for branding in university contexts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Frandsen S, Gotsi M, Johnston A, Whittle A, Frenkel S, Spicer A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Marketing

Year: 2018

Volume: 52

Issue: 5/6

Pages: 1128-1153

Print publication date: 01/05/2018

Online publication date: 12/02/2018

Acceptance date: 04/01/2018

Date deposited: 03/01/2018

ISSN (print): 0309-0566

ISSN (electronic): 1758-7123

Publisher: Emerald Publishing


DOI: 10.1108/EJM-11-2016-0628


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