Situational brand ambassadorship - a study of how part-time employees make sense of themselves as brand ambassadors
Abstract: The aim of this research is to understand and unpack the phenomenon of brand ambassadorship by examining the sensemaking and actualization as well as the consequences of it. The study adopts an employee-perspective on brand ambassadorship to scrutinize the phenomenon in terms of what is here referred to as ’situational’ brand ambassadorship. The employee-perspective has been often neglected in previous research. The theoretical framework of the study relies on theories of sensemaking and identity as well as concepts of control, such as normative and brand-centred control. The empirical material of the study was collected via interviews with part-time employees working in different service industries with publicly recognized multinational brands. Applying a social constructivist approach to brand ambassadorship, three themes, namely situational actualization of brand ambassadorship, identity negotiation, and consequences of brand ambassadorship were conveyed to be discussed further in the analysis. The thesis concludes that the actualization of brand ambassadorship is situational and enacted through employees’ sensemaking of belief-based, social expectations. In addition, the employees were seen to negotiate and occassionally compromise their identity in relation to brand ambassadorship. Finally, the thesis proposed situational brand ambassadorship and the sensemaking of it to have possible positive and negative consequences for the part-time employees. Consequences for the organizations and for example human resource management were also proposed and discussed.
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