Corporate Communication, Ethics, and Operational Identity: A Case Study of Benetton

35 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2008 Last revised: 21 Apr 2009

See all articles by Janet L. Borgerson

Janet L. Borgerson

University of London, City

Jonathan E. Schroeder

Rochester Institute of Technology

Martin Escudero Magnusson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Frank Magnusson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 1, 2008

Abstract

This article investigates conceptual and strategic relationships between corporate identity, organizational identity and ethics, utilizing the Benetton Corporation as an illustrative case study. Although much attention has been given to visual aspects of Benetton's renowned ethical brand building efforts, few studies have looked at how Benetton's employees, retail environments, and trade events express ethical aspects of their well-known corporate identity. Operational identity emerged as a useful complement to models of corporate identity. A multi-method case study, including interviews at retail outlets and trade events, sheds light on several important yet under-studied components of corporate identity, including stakeholders such as retail managers and contract employees. Analysis of Benetton's operations revealed disconnection and inconsistency, as well as a failure to communicate ethical values and socially responsible attributes throughout organizational identity. We demonstrate the way in which organizations may fail to capitalize on positive aspects of their organizational identity by neglecting their operational identity.

Keywords: corporate communication, organizational identity, operational identity, ethics, Benetton

JEL Classification: L20, L80, M3, M5

Suggested Citation

Borgerson, Janet L. and Schroeder, Jonathan E. and Magnusson, Martin Escudero and Magnusson, Frank, Corporate Communication, Ethics, and Operational Identity: A Case Study of Benetton (October 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1276387 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1276387

Janet L. Borgerson (Contact Author)

University of London, City ( email )

Cass School of Business
London
United Kingdom

Jonathan E. Schroeder

Rochester Institute of Technology ( email )

92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Eastman Building, Room 3006
Rochester, NY 14623
United States
5854752703 (Phone)

Martin Escudero Magnusson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Frank Magnusson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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