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

15 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2009

See all articles by Janet L. Borgerson

Janet L. Borgerson

DePaul University

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

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. 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. Operational identity emerged as a useful complement to models of corporate identity. We demonstrate the way in which organizations may fail to capitalize on positive aspects of their organizational identity by neglecting their operational identity.

Suggested Citation

Borgerson, Janet L. and Schroeder, Jonathan E. and Escudero Magnusson, Martin and Magnusson, Frank, Corporate Communication, Ethics, and Operational Identity: A Case Study of Benetton. Business Ethics: A European Review, Vol. 18, Issue 3, pp. 209-223, July 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1421472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8608.2009.01558.x

Janet L. Borgerson (Contact Author)

DePaul University ( email )

Institute for Business and Professional Ethics
Chicago, USA
United States
5857293075 (Phone)

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

No Address Available

Frank Magnusson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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