Det följdriktiga flockbeteendet: en studie om profilering på arbetsmarknaden
Sammanfattning: Despite ample research showing the importance of corporate reputation in recruiting, knowledge about how companies work with employer branding is still limited. This first academic study in this topic is based on a comprehensive empirical data set systematized to a description of employer branding using a grounded theory approach. The description illustrates a process with three phases: brand input, brand support, and brand evaluation. Each phase is related to the messages enclosed in the brand. A comparative analysis of the empirical description and marketing literature shows that the underlying reasoning in branding at the labor market is quite similar to branding at the customer market. However, several important differences were also highlighted, indicating that employer branding is a multi-disciplinary phenomenon. The most surprising difference is a widespread homogeneity in the companies’ employer branding. This contrasts the emphasis on uniqueness in the marketing literature. A further analysis of this finding generated four homogenizing dimensions: time, industry, geography and corporate demographics. Each contains a number of corporate populations with companies similar in the dimension’s point of reference. Since the dimensions are not specific for the labor market a further analysis of the theoretical arguments for heterogeneity and homogeneity was motivated. This shows that there are economic as well as social arguments for both homo- and heterogeneity. From an economic perspective a heterogeneous employer branding creates a cost advantage, because with an attractive unique reputation a company can pay lower salaries than competitors for a given position. On the other hand a homogeneous branding generates cost advantages when the company benchmarks competitors or respects the institutional norms. From a social perspective a heterogeneous branding contributes to a distinct corporate identity, while a homogenous branding avoids social isolation. Consequently, homogeneity provides advantages that heterogeneity does not and vice versa. Companies therefore level the arguments. The balance is more likely to lean towards homogeneity when 1) the companies belongs to the same corporate population in one or many of the homogenizing dimensions and 2) a branding component relatively easily can be benchmarked or is connected with explicit and strong institutional norms. The balancing act signifies that a homogeneous branding is not a product of institutional determinism, but that the corporate populations give rise to different social identities and that the companies according to a logic of appropriateness act in a way that is rational given their specific situation and context. Thus, this logic creates coherent cohorts.
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