“All That Is Solid Melts Into Virtual Work”: A study of the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on contemporary Employer Branding through the lens of Social Acceleration
Sammanfattning: Impelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, the labour market is undergoing remarkable structural change towards increasingly digitized and remote forms of work. The purpose of this paper has been to study the social change in work norms instigated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aim of contributing to a more nuanced understanding of contemporary employer branding as a form of strategic communication in virtual and hybrid labour landscapes. By applying the theoretical framework of social acceleration, using a critical discourse analysis (CDA) approach, we conducted a discursive text analysis of the contemporary discourse related to work. To that end, we studied articles by thought-leaders in the established international business press together with articles from the HR blog of acclaimed employer brand Spotify, portraying the brand’s current employer branding activities. In our analysis, discussing these two representations of the discourse of work, we found four main themes that we suggest define the contemporary labour landscape, with possible implications for contemporary employer branding: spatial dissolution of work, detemporalization of work in virtual landscapes, dynamization of work culture and identity, and employee empowerment and decentralization of organizational control. Summarily, we suggest that traditional employer branding appears overly static and employer-oriented in its view of the dynamics and cornerstones of employer-employee relationships, resulting in a risk of overlooking important societal undercurrents that shape the contemporary labour landscape. We posit that adopting a conceptualization of employer branding as an analytical framework for diagnosing contemporary work norms and for tuning into contemporary society has the potential to greatly add value to the field, allowing for organizations to shape employee-employer relationships that resonate with the times.
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