Blurring the Stark Distinction Between Masculine and Feminine Brands

An identity, integral to our understanding of who we are is our gender identity. It is perhaps the first and the most easily recognizable feature of our persona that we. Unlike sex, our gender is not congenitally determined; rather it is constructed, developed, and refined through social and cultural exchanges. The appropriate and discriminatory gender roles ascribed by the society, direct communication, and influence of media coerce us to develop a personal sense of “maleness or femaleness”.

Business Perspectives and ResearchWhatever be the case, once we develop a gender identity we communicate and demonstrate it in a number of ways. A common way is to appropriate consumption practices and props that reflect our gender identity. Marketers’ gender work is instrumental in creating gendered brands. Since gendered brands appeal to the gender of consumers, they are suitable for either men or women, but not for both. As such, gendered brands create distinct gender cultures populated with gender specific brands. However, of late stagnant sales and societal changes have encouraged many marketers to engage in brand gender bending by deconstructing the gender exclusivity of brands. Marketers are continually expanding the gender spectrum of previously gendered brands by bringing women into the male-skewed customer base of male-gendered products and vice versa. The historical divide between masculine and feminine products is blurring and “unisex” is emerging as the new consumption ideology.

An article from Business Perspective and Research attempts to integrate and extend the theory of brand gender bending by convening arguments from different but complimentary social sciences. Based on the review and scientific understanding of the long-standing research, the study underscores the difference in the reactions of men and women to brand gender bending. It also proposes a conceptual framework that highlights the determinants that drive consumer responses to brand gender bending.

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Abstract

In the postmodern era, many marketers have disturbed the strict gender discipline traditionally associated with gendered brands. Marketers are redoing their gender work by blurring the stark distinction between masculine and feminine brands. New consumption ideologies are developing that transcend the gendered meanings of brands and encourage men and women to infiltrate brands traditionally associated with the opposite gender. “Unisex” is emerging as the byword. This review convenes the phenomenological consumer responses to brand gender bending. It specifically highlights the contrast between the ways in which men and women react to dilution/revision of the gender identity meanings of their brands. This article also underscores the ethnographic, sociological, psychological, and anthropological reasons that justify these reactions.

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Historical Bricolage, Or How Companies Mix Past Heritage with Present Organizational Identity

hotel-sign[We’re pleased to welcome Laura Illia of IE University. Laura recently published an article with co-author Alessandra Zamparini in the October 2016 issue of Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Legitimate Distinctiveness, Historical Bricolage, and the Fortune of the Commons.” The interview with Laura:]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We have been previously doing research together in a project related to wineries in Switzerland in which we realized the importance for competing businesses to bond together and build a collective identity at the regional level.  How companies blend their organizational and collective identities through their narratives seemed to be key. When Laura was appointed to IE University and moved to Spain, she met some regional managers and found out that rural hotels in the region of Castilla y León had similar needs to those of wineries in Switzerland. However, what made this case even more interesting was that nobody was working out a collective identity for local rural hotels. No intermediaries were active, neither the small businesses were bonding together.  Despite this, there was an emerging collective identity looking at the narratives of these businesses, so we decided to study which narrative processes were taking place.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?Current Issue Cover

We undertook an exploratory approach to the study. When you do it, all findings are potentially surprising, because you are exploring. However, what probably we found most surprising was the fact that these small businesses were blending  the business and regional  identities through a narrative process that does not only appropriate collective elements but also preserves them . That was the moment in which we started to dim into the literature of commons, i.e. natural, social and cultural resources.  Typically corporations are considered actors that exploit commons, because these are physical resources that are considered limited. However, narratives, themselves, are considered intangible resources that, differently from the physical ones, can be reproduced infinitely. The way these small businesses in our study were re-producing narratives was interesting because they were undertaking a present approach to revisit the past, blending their organizational identity with historical natural, social or cultural anecdotes of the region. We called historical bricolage this process, by which rural hotels were recursively appropriating and preserving the local historical heritage, being able to communicate their belongingness to the region and their unique identities.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

This study reaffirms the relevance of history for organizational strategic positioning, and in particular it opens up new avenues for research on narrative historical commons, which are resources reproduced and revived in organizations’ communications. Research in this direction might extend the understanding of collective identity construction and legitimate distinctiveness, not only in local business communities, but also in all those communities where boundaries are fuzzier, such as virtual communities and project-based organizational networks. On the practical level, we see that historical bricolage might be a useful competitive mean in those contexts where financial resources for collective identity promotion and inter-organizational coordination are limited.

The abstract for the article:

This article analyzes how organizations discursively construe legitimate distinctiveness (LD) by using their own corporate stories in recombination with historical narratives about commons (i.e., cultural, social, or natural resources available in a local community). Specifically, through the study of 55 rural hotels active in Segovia (Castilla y León, Spain), we theorize about how organizations build LD through a different process than the one explained by previous studies: a process of historical bricolage. Two recursive mechanisms constitute this process—namely the appropriation and preservation of historical narratives about natural (e.g., forests, animals), social (e.g., recipes, movies), or cultural (e.g., heritage, kings) commons. This process contributes to current studies because it explains how organizations build LD through the strategic use of history, the preservation rather than the mere appropriation of collective narratives, and finally the production of stories that integrate the organizational and collective selves.

You can read “Legitimate Distinctiveness, Historical Bricolage, and the Fortune of the Commons” from Journal of Management Inquiry free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay up to date on all of the latest research from Journal of Management InquiryClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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698.gifLaura Illia is an associate professor at IE University (ES). Her current research focuses on how issues of organizational identity, branding, corporate communication, reputation, and Corporate Social Responsibility are involved in organizational management. She has been doing research at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom), and University of Lugano (CH). Her works are published in journals such as MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Business Ethics, British Journal of Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Corporate Reputation Review, Corporate Communications: An international Journal, and Journal of Public Relations Research. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Business and Society (SAGE), Corporate Reputation Review (Palgrave), and Corporate Communications: An International Journal (Emerald).

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Alessandra Zamparini is a post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of USI Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, Institute of Marketing and Communication Management (IMCA). Her research focuses primarily on the topic of identity at multiple levels and its implications for corporate and organizational communication. She is especially interested in understanding identity dynamics within local business communities and regions. In this regard, she is currently developing research funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She has recently published in Strategic Organization, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, and International Journal of Wine Business Research. She holds a PhD in communication sciences and economics and management from USI Università della Svizzera italiana and the University of Padua (Italy).

*Hotel image attributed to Andrew Moore (CC)

Personalized and Depersonalized Responses to Leaders’ Fair Treatment

editedgroupHow can employees’ perceptions of fairness simultaneously fuel both personalized and depersonalized leader-member relations? In a recent article published in Group & Organization, entitled “Personalized and Depersonalized Responses to Leaders’ Fair Treatment: Status Judgments and Leader-Member Exchange as Mediating Mechanisms,” author Amer A. Al-Atwi explores two psychological mechanisms through which the leader’s fair treatment encourages followers to define themselves in terms of a given role and group membership relationships. The abstract for the article:

By extracting insights from leader–member exchange (LMX) theory and social identity theory, this study predicted that a leader’s interactional justice is associated with followers’ multifoci identification by personalized and depersonalized mediating Current Issue Covermechanisms. Specifically, we hypothesized that a leader’s interactional justice affects (a) followers’ relational identification via the LMX as a personalized response and (b) followers’ work-group identification via status judgments (pride and respect) as a depersonalized response. The study’s constructs were measured on three separate occasions over an interval of 4 months, using data from a sample of 322 employees at a large public university. As predicted, we found that (a) LMX mediates the relationship between interactional justice and relational identification and (b) status judgments (pride and respect) mediate the relationships between interactional justice and work-group identification. Theoretical and practical implications for these findings are discussed.

You can read “Personalized and Depersonalized Responses to Leaders’ Fair Treatment: Status Judgments and Leader-Member Exchange as Mediating Mechanisms” from Group & Organization free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Group image attributed to Lindebornt (CC)

Does the Birth Order of Descendant CEO Sons Impact Family Firm Performance?

3486432433_413fe29886_zFor most family businesses, the transition of leadership from one generation to the next can be a complex period to navigate. For family business researchers, generational transitions present a multi-faceted research subject with a clear impact on family firm performance. In a recent paper published by Family Business Review entitled “Not All Created Equal: Examining the Impact of Birth Order and Role Identity Among Descendant CEO Sons on Family Firm Performance”, authors Mark T. Schenkel, Sean Sehyun Yoo, and Jaemin Kim explore how seemingly small factor, namely the birth order of a descendant CEO, can have a noticeable effect on family firm performance. The abstract for the paper:

This study extends the family firm performance literature by focusing on birth order differences among descendant CEOs. Data collected from a sample of Korean family firms yield three insights. First, descendant birth order is directly associated with differences in the distribution of control through ownership, leadership (i.e., CEO), and the incorporation of outside board participation and governance. Second, descendant birth order also moderates the relationship between outside block Current Issue Coverholdings and firm performance. Third, we find evidence suggesting that because of firm performance differences, first-son descendant CEOs may find themselves more often replaced over time.

You can read “Not All Created Equal: Examining the Impact of Birth Order and Role Identity Among Descendant CEO Sons on Family Firm Performance” from Family Business Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Koreatown image attributed to 2ndeye (CC)

Identity and Entrepreneurship in California’s Medical Cannabis Industry

3410000930_95fc2866fa_zCalifornia’s medical cannabis industry operates in a legal gray area–while state law allows for the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, federal laws still list cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. As a result of the complex legal context, the medical cannabis industry stands as a unique underground market in California, defined by an attitude of defiance and disregard for the prohibition of cannabis. In the recent Journal of Macromarketing paper entitled “Entrepreneurship, Identity, and the Transformation of Marketing Systems: Medical Cannabis in California,” author Kenji Klein analyzes how medical cannabis entrepreneurs, who perceive cannabis prohibition to be unfounded, are able to enact their value identities by challenging prohibition. The abstract for the paper:

This paper examines how entrepreneurs operating in underground markets come to see laws governing marketing systems as illegitimate and explores the role identity plays in motivating entrepreneurs to challenge existing institutions. Analysis of Current Issue Coverinterviews with 27 cannabis dispensary founders showed that entrepreneurs came to reject medical cannabis prohibition as illegitimate after direct experience with both cannabis and traditional medicines convinced them the factual basis upon which prohibition rested was flawed. Perception of prohibition’s illegitimacy fostered entrepreneur identification as a member of a superior in-group constrained by an illegitimate institution. Pursuing opportunities in illegal markets then became a vehicle for entrepreneurs to enact valued identities by challenging and undermining prohibition. This analysis extends work on informal economy entrepreneurship by showing that dis-identification with formal institutions does more than enable entrepreneurs to recognize economic opportunities ignored by those working within institutional boundaries; it also opens existing marketing systems to decay by providing economic and psychological resources for dismantling the laws that govern them.

You can read “Entrepreneurship, Identity, and the Transformation of Marketing Systems: Medical Cannabis in California” from Journal of Macromarketing free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of MacromarketingClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Medical marijuana sign image attributed to Chuck Coker (CC)

Developing a Food Involvement Scale to Study Food Tourism

4563690038_7e804749d1_z (1)In recent years, food tourism has seen a spike in popularity, but how can researchers better understand the impact of food involvement on food tourism? In the recent article, “Food Enthusiasts and Tourism: Exploring Food Involvement Dimension,” published in Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Researchauthors Richard N. S. Robinson and Donald Getz set out to establish a food involvement scale. The abstract for the article:

Involvement is a much theorized construct in the consumer behavior literature, yet extant food involvement scales have not been developed for leisure- or tourism-based contexts. Adopting a phenomenological approach, this article reports a study with two primary aims: to develop a customized food involvement scale and to administer the instrument to a sample of self-declared “food enthusiasts” with analysis focusing on identifying the underlying constructs of food involvement. An exploratory factor analysis finds four dimensions of food involvement: Food-Related Identity, Food Quality, Social Bonding, and Food Current Issue CoverConsciousness. The four dimensions are validated by discriminant analysis between the food enthusiast sample and a general population sample and logistic regression reveals that identity is the most powerful predictor of being a food enthusiast. We demonstrate the utility of the four factors by operationalizing them as variables in tests of difference vis-à-vis demographic variables and conclude the study by summarizing the theoretical and tourism destination implications. This research addresses a need for theory-driven knowledge to inform the burgeoning special interest tourism of food tourism.

You can read “Food Enthusiasts and Tourism: Exploring Food Involvement Dimension” from Journal of Hospitality of Tourism Research free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Hospitality & Tourism ResearchClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Thomas Abbs (CC)

Mindfulness Leads to Positive Outcomes at Work

3752743934_586c123f3c_zMindfulness training can help individuals increase their attention and awareness, but how can this present-centered mindset help in the workplace? The recent article published in Journal of Management entitled, “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review” from authors Darren J. Good, Christopher J. Lyddy, Theresa M. Glomb, Joyce E. Bono, Kirk Warren Brown, Michelle K. Duffy, Ruth A. Baer, Judson A. Brewer, and Sara W. Lazar delves into the applications of mindfulness at work. Their findings suggest that mindfulness training can have a broad, positive impact across key workplace outcomes. The abstract from the paper:

Mindfulness research activity is surging within organizational science. Emerging evidence across multiple fields suggests that mindfulness is fundamentally connected to many aspects of workplace functioning, but this knowledge base has not been systematically integrated to date. This review coalesces the burgeoning body of JOM 41(3)_Covers.inddmindfulness scholarship into a framework to guide mainstream management research investigating a broad range of constructs. The framework identifies how mindfulness influences attention, with downstream effects on functional domains of cognition, emotion, behavior, and physiology. Ultimately, these domains impact key workplace outcomes, including performance, relationships, and well-being. Consideration of the evidence on mindfulness at work stimulates important questions and challenges key assumptions within management science, generating an agenda for future research.

You can read “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from  Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Rock tower image credited to Natalie Lucier (CC)