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The effects of 'no-fault' termination on employees of organisations where 'living the brand' is advocated as an HR strategy.

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Living the Brand has become a useful Human Resources strategy in post-Fordist organisations. This is due to globalized competition and decreased control structures leading to organisations needing to obtain ever higher levels of productivity and performance from highly skilled knowledge workers. Because of the nature of their work, knowledge workers are difficult to manage and control through traditional practices and are usually looking for more than just monetary remuneration. Living the Brand organisations provide a strong social identity, positive self-esteem and a sense of achievement to these employees. This small-scale qualitative study used inductive thematic analysis to investigate the after-effects of Living the Brand, using knowledge workers who had been retrenched from such organisations. The results show that the positive aspects of Living the Brand comes at the expense of the employees‟ social identity outside of the organisation. These include the identification with family, as well as their health and a sense of self beyond the organisation. As one can see in this study, this power imbalance, along with an increasingly unbalanced psychological contract, is a reality that was only truly realized by the employees after being retrenched from the organisation. Unfortunately Durban does not have a plethora of Living the Brand organisations, which in turn limits the available sample of research participants. This meant that the findings may not be applicable across cultures, and that the participants had all had several years to come to terms with their retrenchment. Further studies using a wider spectrum of participants are suggested, including those who have been more recently retrenched.


Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2010.


Employees--Dismissal of--Psychological aspects., Knowledge workers--Dismissal of., Theses--Psychology.