Sub-theme 11:

The Works of Branding: Shaping Organizational Identities and Practices

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Martin Kornberger, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Dan Kärreman, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and Lund University, Sweden

Majken Schultz, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Call for Papers

Inspired by EGOS' 2011 theme Reassembling Organizations, we propose a track that explores and exploits a new form of organizational assemblage ? the brand. The proposed track invites scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds to present ideas on the work of branding as it unfolds in private and public organizations. We suggest a holistic approach towards brands: brands are aesthetic expressions of organizational identity; increasingly, especially in service and knowledge intensive organizations, the brand is linked back to the organization's culture. Simultaneously, brands relate organizations to their external environments: they are the building blocks of lifestyle-driven consumer society. In so doing, brands link the sphere of production and consumption, transforming both management practice and society at large.

While we are interested in exploring the practices of branding, and follow their traces as they traverse the organization and its relationships to its multiple stakeholders, we are curious to learn how brands emerge from and impact on organizational identity, culture and other key concepts of organizational theory. Doing so we push an interdisciplinary agenda: we attempt to explore how organization theory can contribute to our understanding of brands and how branding can contribute to organization theory, with the aim to facilitate an interdisciplinary dialogue. Following this approach we propose to explore some of the following research questions:

  • How do brands impact on both production (organization) and consumption (lifestyle)? How are external and internal affects of branding related?
  • How can we describe practices of branding? How is branding work accomplished? Who are the people involved in branding work? What are the tools, techniques and theories-in-action that they use? How do they perform their work?
  • How does the relatively new practice of brand management impact on other organizational structures and practices? How does branding interact with other organizational functions such as strategy, marketing or HRM? How does the brand interact with networks and other more fluid organizational structures?
  • How does the brand impact on and emerge from organizational and other collective identities (e.g. professional and occupational)? How does the management of meaning, accomplished, negotiated and contested in the brand, shape sensemaking of internal and external stakeholders?
  • How are external stakeholders involved in the co-creation of the brand? What are the implications for brand management of increasing stakeholder involvement in branding processes?
  • How does branding work in a global setting, where multiple identities assemble and connect to create brand meaning? What is the role of the heritage of brands in shifting cultural contexts?
  • How can we study brands critically to find out in how far they exercise power upon their internal and external environment by using and manipulating symbols and perceptions? How can branding be mobilized for managerial control and how can this be resisted?

We are looking for theoretically innovative and/or empirically interesting papers that are inspired (but not confined) by the research questions above. We would like to encourage submissions that provide answer to the question: how can the concept of brand re-invigorate the debate in organization theory? What new avenues for research does the concept delineate? We hope that contributions from diverse fields of scholarships including identity theory, corporate communication, design, discourse analysis, cultural studies, marketing, organization theory and others, will help to question taken for granted assumptions and offer surprising perspectives. In doing so, we want to ensure a truly interdisciplinary discussion that will open up new avenues for research.


Martin Kornberger?received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Vienna in 2002. Currently he works as Associate Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, where he holds a joint appointment between the Faculty of Business and the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. He is Research Director for the newly established Creative Industry Innovation Centre which is funded by Australia?s federal government with $17 million until 2012. Martin is also a Visiting Professor at Copenhagen Business School. His latest book is called "Brand Society" and will be published by Cambridge University Press early 2010. In his previous life, Martin co-founded the branding agency PLAY and was director from 2003 until 2008 when he exited the company. PLAY has delivered brand strategies and experiences for clients including PricewaterhouseCoopers, MINI, Adobe, GlaxoSmithKline, Kellog's, Jaguar, The Sydney Opera House and others. In 2008, it was awarded the two most recognized Australian marketing awards (Adnews and B&T) in the category "Brand Experience Agency of the Year".

Dan Kärreman?is Professor in Management and Organization Studies at Copenhagen Business School. He has previously held positions at the School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Sweden ? were he still is affiliated ? and the School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg University. His research interests include critical management studies, knowledge work, identity in organizations, leadership, organizational control, innovation and research methodology. His work has been published in Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, Journal of Management Studies, Organization, Organization Science, and Organization Studies, among others.

Majken Schultz?is Professor at Copenhagen Business School. Her research is located at the interface between culture, identity and image, corporate branding and reputation management. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including Academy of Management Journal; Academy of Management Review, Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, European Journal of Marketing, Organization Studies, Human Relations, Journal of Management Inquiry, British Journal of Management, Corporate Reputation Review, International Studies of Management & Organization, Strategic Organization. She has most recently published "Taking Brand Initiative: How Companies can Align Strategy, Culture and Identity Through Corporate Branding" with Mary Jo Hatch. For more see:

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