The dynamics of corporate brand charisma:
Routinization and activation at Carlsberg IT

Abstract

 

This article describes how Carlsberg Group’s IT unit (CIT) made use of Carlsberg’s
corporate brand to develop its identity following centralization and downsizing of the IT function.
Our observations suggested using the concept of brand charisma and thereafter we framed our
analysis with Weber’s theory of the routinization of charisma. The study took place in the
relatively unusual context of a truncated rollout of a formal corporate branding program, which
allowed us to study the processes by which brand charisma was routinized. Findings indicate the
important intermediary role played by middle managers who selected and systematized the set of
brand beliefs taken up within the CIT project, and how employees accommodated these beliefs to
their everyday work life. Accommodation was found to take place within four subdomains of
activity: subculture, communication, technology, and hierarchical control. A key finding is that,
through their reception and activation of brand charisma, the CITemployees contributed greatly
to the endowment of charisma their brand carried. A revised Weberian model of the dynamic
relationships between the routinization of charisma and its reception and activation constitutes
our contribution to corporate branding theory. The article also offers empirical evidence in
support of extending Weberian scholarship further into the field of brand management.

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Authors: Mary Jo Hatch & Majken Schultz