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Projecting an Organizational Identity: Lessons from Employment Advertisements

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This paper considers employment advertisements as an organizational attempt to advance an image under routine (rather than crisis) conditions. The analyses identify the steps necessary to create a positive image among target constituents. A three-stage process is identified of (a) attracting attention, (b) presenting a positive organizational identity, and (c) validating this identity. The first stage reflects the competition for target persons' attention, an issue not typically raised in analyses of organizational identity. The second and third stages rely on a general set of tactics that engage four psychological mechanisms:— drawing distinctions between figure and ground— creating positive associations— addressing targets' needs— dismissing lack of trust.The tactics and psychological mechanisms are similar to those identified in product advertising, but are related in the case of employment advertising to organizational rather than product image. Illustrating that routine notions such as employment ads reveal this rich set of dynamics is argued to confirm the incremental process of constructing the large-scale notion of an organizational image through a series of small steps.Corporate Reputation Review (2000) 3, 218–239; doi:10.1057/palgrave.crr.1540116
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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