Quotation Delmestri, Giuseppe, Oberg, Achim, Drori, Gili. 2015. The Unbearable Lightness of University Branding. Cross-National Patterns. International Studies of Management and Organization 45 (2): S. 121-136.




This study investigates how universities brand themselves and in what ways visual self-representation varies cross-nationally. We trace differences in the icons (emblems and logos) used in the Internet self-representation of 821 universities and higher education institutions in 20 countries in 5 continents. Emerging from content analyses of the icons were three main visual types (guilded, national, and organizational), arranged in five subtypes (classic, science/technology, local, abstract, and just-text). Generally, the visual expression of abstract or text-based organizational type is the least visually loaded, such lightness matching modern principles of corporate branding; the other types are rich in references to the national or guilded professional field of universities. We find that while the abstract organizational type of visual expression has become dominant in Western countries, including France, Germany, and the United States, heterogeneity prevails in other nations such as Australia, Italy, or South Africa. We develop possible explanations of the observed distribution of types across countries and discuss the implication of our findings for world society institutionalism and the institutional logics approach.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal International Studies of Management and Organization
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, STRAT-C
Language English
Title The Unbearable Lightness of University Branding. Cross-National Patterns
Volume 45
Number 2
Year 2015
Page from 121
Page to 136
Reviewed? Y
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00208825.2015.1006012
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00208825.2015.1006012


Delmestri, Giuseppe (Details)
Oberg, Achim (Former researcher)
Drori, Gili (Former researcher)
Institute for Change Management and Management Development IN (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5324 Organizational research (Details)
5333 Business management (Details)
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