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Internal brand commitment, a multi-dimensional construct? Case study evidence within a collaborative independent retail network context

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Commitment and other relational constructs have predominantly been examined within the organisational studies literature, and in more recent times within the relationship marketing literature, but have been largely neglected within the retail and branding literatures. There is little empirical evidence of commitment as a multi-dimensional construct within the marketing domain. Brand commitment studies have largely adopted an external consumer-based perspective, with little attention afforded to internal brand commitment, and the dimensionality of the construct. This study addresses this deficit, and aims to explore the dimensionality of the internal brand commitment construct within the business-to-business context of a collaborative independent retail network. A qualitative case study methodology is adopted based primarily on interviews with owner-managers. The study provides empirical evidence of the multi-dimensionality of the internal brand commitment construct, with both attitudinal and behavioural dimensions. Although the importance of internal branding has been acknowledged for service sector organisations, this is the first empirical evidence to document the complexity of internal brand commitment in a retail context. The study concludes that while calculative commitment builds organisational commitment, internal brand commitment requires an affective dimension, which leads to what can be interpreted as brand citizenship behaviour and/or conceptualised as the formation of a brand community.
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Keywords: Ireland; collaborative independent retail network; internal brand commitment; internal branding; multi-dimensional; retailing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Retail Management Studies, School of Retail and Services Management, College of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier St Dublin 2, Ireland

Publication date: 2013-12-01

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