How do academic staff and managers perceive internal branding in UK business schools? Exploring internal branding understanding, support and leadership in universities

Frigenti, PP 2020, How do academic staff and managers perceive internal branding in UK business schools? Exploring internal branding understanding, support and leadership in universities , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The development of a strong university brand requires commitment of employees and alignment of their values to the institutional ones (Hemsley Brown and Goonawardana, 2007; Whisman, 2009). Internal branding is important for organisations to promote the brand to employees with the aim of developing a correspondence between internal and external brand messages and thereby facilitating the transformation of brand promises into reality. But existing research in the context of HE is limited, and has identified some difficulties as well as resistances in the application of internal branding strategies (Chapleo, 2007; Naidoo et al., 2014), outlining the need of understanding what factors inspire or hinder the development of brand support in employees, leading to the objectives and focus of this study. Indeed, previous studies (eg. Chapleo, 2015; Dean et al., 2016; Spry et al., 2018) called for more research in the topic of internal branding in Higher Education, suggesting the need of clarifying the roles played by the actors involved in the internal branding processes as well as the factors that could facilitate and drive brand supporting behaviour. This exploratory study addresses such calls for further research, adopting a qualitative approach and digging into the perception of academic staff members and managers through the use of semi-structured interviews. The concept of internal branding in the context of United Kingdom’s business schools is explored, with a focus on the meaning of internal branding for managers and academics and the role played by training and communications activities in generating brand support. The topic of brand leadership is discussed, with a reflection on the leadership dimensions that can aid developing brand-supporting behaviour in academics. The potential obstacles for internal branding strategies are investigated, with a specific focus on the reasons behind the widely reported degrees of academic cynicism towards branding efforts. The research advances existing literature through the joint analysis of academic staff and managers’ perceptions, providing an in-depth exploration of the internal branding actors’ feelings and preferences. Due to the practical nature of the internal branding discipline, the study is valuable from an implementation point of view for practitioners, providing guidance on how to implement and communicate internal branding in Higher Education. Indeed, upon being accessed by academic staff members, the work may be useful in helping them familiarising with the internal branding activities increasingly adopted in HE. Finally, the results have pedagogic implications. Focusing on how internal branding efforts affect teaching and the daily activities of academics, the study explores the degree of inclusion and consideration of brand values in academic practices, reflecting on how internal branding efforts can be incorporated into teaching and daily activities to strengthen inclusion and buy-in of the brand values.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Raftopoulou, E (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School > Salford Business School Research Centre
Depositing User: Pietro Paolo Frigenti
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2020 11:30
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2020 11:30
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/58658

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