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Näppä, A. (2023). Building Employer Brands: The Employee Perspective. (Doctoral dissertation). Luleå: Luleå University of Technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Building Employer Brands: The Employee Perspective
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Att bygga arbetsgivarvarumärken: medarbetarperspektivet
Abstract [en]

Employer branding, or the creation and communication of an identifiable identity as an employer, has become a buzzword that interests both practitioners and researchers. Employer branding is considered a key tool for attracting, developing, and retaining the best employees and is believed to be the answer to the so-called “war for talent”. The question of human capital is of the essence for all companies but is particularly prevalent for service organizations. For example, organizations in tourism and hospitality rely on their employees to deliver complex experiences, while balancing high customer expectations and resources available. Attracting and retaining the right frontline employees is crucial due to their unique role as brand ambassadors who deliver the brand promise in each customer encounter. At the same time, employers in tourism and hospitality have been struggling with a negative industry image and high employee turnover, which has intensified even more in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While employer branding has received a great deal of attention it still offers much research potential. Employer branding includes both current and potential employees, but most studies have focused on talent attraction rather than capturing perceptions of current employees. The majority of research has studied large companies with access to both expert knowledge and financial resources, and thus little is known about employer branding in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition, it is only recently the concept of co-creation entered the employer branding vocabulary, referring to the role of employees as active agents or partners to the brand rather than a mere target market. Co-creation has been thoroughly researched in the tourism and hospitality sphere, lending itself as a suitable context for addressing the gap relating to employee co-creation of the employer brand. Thus, the overall research purpose is to investigate how employer brands are perceived and built by employees. This is done with a focus on the tourism and hospitality context.

Based on the current gaps in the literature, the following research aims were developed: 

1. To explore employer brand management in SMEs

2. To explore the role of employees as both target group and co-creators of employer brand equity in the context of tourism and hospitality.

3. To investigate employees’ perceptions of their employer’s attractiveness, together with intentions to stay and recommend in tourism and hospitality. Special attention is paid to the role of creativity and innovation. 

4. To investigate which employer attributes are related to perceptions about the tourism and hospitality industry and the likelihood to stay. 

These aims were researched in four individual papers. To reach the overall purpose, a mixed methods approach was applied. The first two papers took a qualitative approach: the first paper used observational data, while the second used in-depth interviews. The two latter papers were quantitative in nature. 

This research contributes to two areas: the employer branding literature, as well as research on tourism and hospitality. In particular, it highlights employer branding as a co-creational practice and performance, where employees build the brand by participating in internal processes, representing the brand towards outsiders, and simply being part of the collective brand identity. The possibility to do innovative and creative work seems to be an important driver for staying with and recommending one’s current employer.  In terms of perceptions of work in tourism and hospitality, there are two levels to consider: the individual employer as well as the industry itself. The results emphasize the role of industry reputation and general industry attractiveness in retaining employees. 

This research also focuses on the roles and perspectives of current employees which has been lacking in the employer branding literature. The dissertation begins with defining the context of tourism and hospitality and current state of employer branding as an area, moving then to describing the identified gaps and landing in an overall research problem. The most relevant theories are discussed in the second chapter to lay the theoretical foundation together with a review on employer branding and employer brand equity. The second chapter also explains the concept of co-creation and the effects of the industry on the employer brand(ing) and concludes with a justification for the research aims. Chapter three explains the methodological choices for the dissertation and the individual papers and findings from the papers are described in chapter four. Finally, the fifth chapter presents the overall conclusions and implications for theory and practice.   

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2023
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keywords
Employer Branding, Co-creation, Employment Value Proposition, Tourism and Hospitality, Employer Attractiveness
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-96624 (URN)978-91-8048-311-7 (ISBN)978-91-8048-312-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-06-16, A109, Luleå tekniska universitet, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-04-17 Created: 2023-04-17 Last updated: 2024-03-01Bibliographically approved
Näppä, A. (2023). Co-created employer brands: the interplay of strategy and identity. European Journal of Training and Development, 47(10), 37-52
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-created employer brands: the interplay of strategy and identity
2023 (English)In: European Journal of Training and Development, ISSN 2046-9012, E-ISSN 2046-9020, Vol. 47, no 10, p. 37-52Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The study aims to explore strategic employer brand management by combining experiences of multiple organizations. In particular, the purpose is to identify what strategic management processes managers consider relevant to employer brand management for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach: This study took an inductive approach, observing a practitioner project in Sweden. The data were gathered during four full-day workshops, where 14 SMEs from different industries were chosen to participate and to actively work their employer brand(ing) activities. Findings: The results show that organizations have difficulty understanding and comparing employer branding practices, and thus, evaluating their own brand. The major themes show that organizations have two focus points for their employer branding work: building strategic structures (processes) on one hand, and a collective identity that aligns with the brand values, on the other. However, organizations differ in these dimensions, affecting what needs to be done to become successful. Originality/value: This contributes to the limited knowledge about employer branding, human resources development (HRD) and SMEs. In addition, most of the previous studies have neglected to take into account the differences between organizations, approaching employer branding as a universal process. This paper summarizes different positions for employer brands that affect strategy: the unmanaged, the non-strategic, the impersonal and finally, the co-created. Co-creation can be facilitated with the help of constructive and collaborative HRD. Then, it can be turned into a dynamic capability that builds competitive advantage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2023
Keywords
Brand identity, Co-creation, Employer brand, Employer brand management, Employer brand strategies, Employer branding
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-89670 (URN)10.1108/EJTD-05-2021-0065 (DOI)000759030300001 ()2-s2.0-85124386146 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Kompetent, kunnig och stolt
Note

Validerad;2023;Nivå 2;2023-04-18 (joosat);

Funder: R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF) (48320)

Licens fulltext: CC BY License

Available from: 2022-03-17 Created: 2022-03-17 Last updated: 2023-04-18Bibliographically approved
Eriksson, T., Näppä, A. & Robertson, J. (2023). Crafting a paying-it-forward mindset in business: Five principles for a competitive employer branding advantage. Business Horizons, 66(1), 51-64
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Crafting a paying-it-forward mindset in business: Five principles for a competitive employer branding advantage
2023 (English)In: Business Horizons, ISSN 0007-6813, E-ISSN 1873-6068, Vol. 66, no 1, p. 51-64Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Kindness can strengthen your employer brand. The business environment is changing, and the value of kindness in the corporate world is garnering increased attention. Paying it forward is a way to pass acts of kindness on to others. This allows employees and business partners to go above and beyond formal expectations that not only benefit the individuals involved but also the businesses they represent. Paying it forward can potentially create competitive advantage for firms from an employer branding perspective (to attract and retain talent) and in the broader market sense. This behavior can strengthen the employer brand in numerous and effective ways, and managers must understand, engage in, and encourage such conduct. In this article, we discuss different examples, benefits, and risks of paying kindness forward on a micro-, meso-, and macro-level. After providing this foundation, we introduce practical guidelines for managers on how to foster a paying-it-forward mindset among employees and the broader organization. The guidelines were created using insights from interviews we conducted with stakeholders in a business ecosystem in northern Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023
Keywords
Company branding, Acts of kindness, Paying it forward, Workplace culture
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-89179 (URN)10.1016/j.bushor.2022.01.001 (DOI)000909813300001 ()2-s2.0-85140256886 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2023;Nivå 2;2023-04-20 (hanlid)

Available from: 2022-02-09 Created: 2022-02-09 Last updated: 2023-04-20Bibliographically approved
Näppä, A., Ek Styvén, M. & Foster, T. (2023). I just work here! Employees as co-creators of the employer brand. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 23(1), 73-93
Open this publication in new window or tab >>I just work here! Employees as co-creators of the employer brand
2023 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, ISSN 1502-2250, E-ISSN 1502-2269, Vol. 23, no 1, p. 73-93Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores the role of employees as both a target group and co-creators of employer brand equity in tourism and hospitality. Extant research has largely focused on the effects of external employer brands; however, studies on internal employer branding have been lacking. The research problem is addressed through the conceptual lens of employer brand equity. To provide empirical insights into employee experiences, exploratory in-depth interviews were conducted with 16 employees in hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in Northern Sweden. While employees constitute a target market for internal employer branding, they also co-create the employer value proposition. Employees act as brand members, representatives, advocates and influencers, increasing knowledge about the organization internally and externally. However, in practice, companies in the service sector seem to place more focus on the customer experience than on reminding the employees of the brand promise towards them. This study identifies and describes the role of employees in the employer branding process by developing a new conceptual framework. Thereby, it adds to the understanding of co-creation in employer branding, an under-researched area which has been suggested to become a new paradigm in the employer branding literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023
Keywords
Employer branding, employer brand equity, co-creation, employees
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-96199 (URN)10.1080/15022250.2023.2190934 (DOI)000954011800001 ()2-s2.0-85150876171 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF), 2016-211
Note

Validerad;2023;Nivå 2;2023-06-30 (joosat);

Funder: Handelsrådet (2016-211)

Available from: 2023-03-21 Created: 2023-03-21 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
Ek Styvén, M., Näppä, A. & Parding, K. (2023). Kompetent, kunnig och stolt: Vikten av kompetensutveckling i besöksnäringen. Stockholm
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kompetent, kunnig och stolt: Vikten av kompetensutveckling i besöksnäringen
2023 (Swedish)Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: , 2023
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing; Human Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-103214 (URN)978-91-88535-22-1 (ISBN)
Funder
The R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF), 48320
Available from: 2023-12-05 Created: 2023-12-05 Last updated: 2023-12-05
Ek Styvén, M., Näppä, A. & Parding, K. (2023). Placing the place in employer branding: The case of the tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Sweden. In: Anke Peters, Anna Hübner, Nataliia Godis, Parisa Setoodegan, Samudika Weliweriyage, Tatiana Chekalina (Ed.), 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research – Book of Abstracts: . Paper presented at 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research, 19-21 September 2023, Östersund, Sweden (pp. 118-120). Östersund: ETOUR Research Centre, Mid Sweden University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Placing the place in employer branding: The case of the tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Sweden
2023 (English)In: 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research – Book of Abstracts / [ed] Anke Peters, Anna Hübner, Nataliia Godis, Parisa Setoodegan, Samudika Weliweriyage, Tatiana Chekalina, Östersund: ETOUR Research Centre, Mid Sweden University , 2023, p. 118-120Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: ETOUR Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, 2023
Series
European Tourism Research Institute, ETOUR, ISSN 1403-4220 ; 2023:1
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing; Human Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-101599 (URN)978-91-89786-37-0 (ISBN)
Conference
31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research, 19-21 September 2023, Östersund, Sweden
Projects
Employment value proposition in the tourism and hospitality industry
Funder
The Kamprad Family Foundation, 48323
Available from: 2023-10-09 Created: 2023-10-09 Last updated: 2023-10-10Bibliographically approved
Näppä, A., Ek Styvén, M. & Parding, K. (2023). Revitalizing Employer Branding: Unveiling an Industry Value Proposition through the Voices of Tourism and Hospitality Employees. In: Anke Peters, Anna Hübner, Nataliia Godis, Parisa Setoodegan, Samudika Weliweriyage, Tatiana Chekalina (Ed.), 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research – Book of Abstracts: . Paper presented at 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research, 19-21 September 2023, Östersund, Sweden (pp. 135-138). Östersund: ETOUR Research Centre, Mid Sweden University
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Revitalizing Employer Branding: Unveiling an Industry Value Proposition through the Voices of Tourism and Hospitality Employees
2023 (English)In: 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research – Book of Abstracts / [ed] Anke Peters, Anna Hübner, Nataliia Godis, Parisa Setoodegan, Samudika Weliweriyage, Tatiana Chekalina, Östersund: ETOUR Research Centre, Mid Sweden University , 2023, p. 135-138Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: ETOUR Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, 2023
Series
European Tourism Research Institute, ETOUR, ISSN 1403-4220 ; 2023:1
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing; Human Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-101600 (URN)978-91-89786-37-0 (ISBN)
Conference
31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research, 19-21 September 2023, Östersund, Sweden
Projects
Kompetent, kunnig och stolt
Funder
The R&D Fund of the Swedish Tourism & Hospitality Industry (BFUF), 48320
Available from: 2023-10-09 Created: 2023-10-09 Last updated: 2023-10-10Bibliographically approved
Reyneke, M., Robertson, J., Ferreira, C. & Näppä, A. (2023). Whose Role Is It Anyway? A Consideration of Responsibility in Digital Addiction: An Abstract. In: Jochims, B,; Allen, J. (Ed.), Jochims, B.; Allen, J. (Ed.), Optimistic Marketing in Challenging Times: Serving Ever-Shifting Customer Needs: Proceedings of the 2022 AMS Annual Conference, May 25-27, Monterey, CA, USA. Paper presented at 2022 Academy of Marketing Science Annual Conference, Monterey, California, United States, May 25-27, 2022 (pp. 131-132). Springer Nature
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Whose Role Is It Anyway? A Consideration of Responsibility in Digital Addiction: An Abstract
2023 (English)In: Optimistic Marketing in Challenging Times: Serving Ever-Shifting Customer Needs: Proceedings of the 2022 AMS Annual Conference, May 25-27, Monterey, CA, USA / [ed] Jochims, B.; Allen, J., Springer Nature , 2023, p. 131-132Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2023
Series
Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science, ISSN 2363-6165, E-ISSN 2363-6173
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-96934 (URN)10.1007/978-3-031-24687-6_47 (DOI)2-s2.0-85151256048 (Scopus ID)
Conference
2022 Academy of Marketing Science Annual Conference, Monterey, California, United States, May 25-27, 2022
Note

ISBN för värdpublikation: 978-3-031-24687-6

Available from: 2023-04-25 Created: 2023-04-25 Last updated: 2023-04-25Bibliographically approved
Parding, K., Ek Styvén, M., Lindström, F. & Näppä, A. (2023). Workplace learning in transient workplaces: the tourism and hospitality industry in the Arctic region. Journal of Workplace Learning, 35(9), 259-273
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Workplace learning in transient workplaces: the tourism and hospitality industry in the Arctic region
2023 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, E-ISSN 1758-7859, Vol. 35, no 9, p. 259-273Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper aims to focus on conditions for workplace learning (WPL) in highly transient workplaces, exemplified by the tourism and hospitality sector in the Arctic region. The aim is to analyse and discuss how employees and employers view the conditions for employees’ WPL from their respective perspectives. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on a qualitative approach. Ten interviews with employers and ten interviews with employees were carried out. This opens for different perspectives, including identifying “learning gaps”. The analysis was thematic, with a focus on opportunities and challenges for WPL in these transient workplace contexts. Findings: Overall, conditions for WPL seem unsatisfactory. On the one hand, both employees and employers see WPL as essential for staff retention. Employers also see WPL as a strategy for business development and, thus, profit. On the other hand, high staff turnover makes it challenging to strategically invest in and organize for WPL, especially formal learning. Hence, a Catch-22 situation emerges. Research limitations/implications: As this study is qualitative in its scope, generalizations are analytical rather than statistical. Originality/value: There is a shortage of studies on conditions for WPL, focusing particularly on transient workplaces. Moreover, by including employer and employee perspectives, the authors contribute to a gap in the literature. The empirical contribution of this paper thus lies in using a theoretical WPL framework on transient workplaces, exemplified by the tourism and hospitality industries in the Arctic region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Publishing, 2023
Keywords
Arctic region, Staff retention, Staff turnover, Tourism and hospitality, Transient workplaces, Workplace learning
National Category
Learning Work Sciences
Research subject
Human Work Sciences; Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-101611 (URN)10.1108/JWL-02-2023-0032 (DOI)001065576500002 ()2-s2.0-85171199730 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2023;Nivå 2;2023-10-11 (joosat);

CC BY 4.0 Licence

Funder: R&D Fund, Swedish Tourism and Hospitality Industry, (2020-246)

Available from: 2023-10-11 Created: 2023-10-11 Last updated: 2024-03-07Bibliographically approved
Eriksson, M., Näppä, A. & Robertson, J. (2022). All for one and one for all: Encouraging ecosystem citizenship behaviour to strengthen employer branding. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 38(2), Article ID 101211.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>All for one and one for all: Encouraging ecosystem citizenship behaviour to strengthen employer branding
2022 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, E-ISSN 1873-3387, Vol. 38, no 2, article id 101211Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This research investigates how employer branding can be strengthened by taking a business ecosystem approach that encourages and leverages indirect social exchanges, such as the behaviour of paying it forward. This work is founded on extant literature and exploratory interviews with individuals from firms seeking to strengthen their employer brand by interdependently operating in a business ecosystem. A model is developed that proposes how indirect social exchanges can occur in an ecosystem, and what types of outcomes it can lead to for the individuals, firms and the ecosystem as a whole. As far as can be ascertained, this is the first study that combines these perspectives. The work suggests that there is value for firms in taking an ecosystem-focused approach to employer branding. The findings highlight that indirect or generalized social exchanges can provide value for individual firms when they form a group of interdependent collaborators rather than simply being competitors. Further, this work adds to the literature related to employee and partner extra-role behaviour by proposing the perspective of an Ecosystem Citizenship Behaviour. Ecosystem Citizenship Behaviour is an extra-role behaviour that occurs in the business ecosystem and as such can be beneficial for joint employer branding initiatives of participating firms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2022
Keywords
Employer branding, Generalised social exchange behaviour, Paying it forward, Ecosystems, Ecosystem citizenship behaviour
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Industrial Marketing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-90115 (URN)10.1016/j.scaman.2022.101211 (DOI)000792491700001 ()2-s2.0-85127489084 (Scopus ID)
Note

Validerad;2022;Nivå 2;2022-04-07 (hanlid)

Available from: 2022-04-07 Created: 2022-04-07 Last updated: 2022-11-02Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-3213-8314

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