Faculty responses to business school branding: a discursive approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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 analyze 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. The authors conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for branding in university contexts.


  • Sanne Frandsen
  • Manto Gotsi
  • Allanah Johnston
  • Andrea Whittle
  • Stephen Frenkel
  • André Spicer
External organisations
  • University of Westminster
  • University of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of London
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • branding, higher education, discourse analysis, business schools, brands
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018
Publication categoryResearch