Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Management Perceptions of a Higher Educational Brand for the Attraction of Talented Academic Staf

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

Management Perceptions of a Higher Educational Brand for the Attraction of Talented Academic Staf

Article excerpt

Introduction

More recently, diminishing global boundaries and technological modifications have deepened the importance of the organisational branding of higher education (Harsha & Shah, 2011). Branding of higher education institutions (HEIs) originates from the transference of noble practises from the private business arena into the arena of academia (Wæraas & Solbakk, 2009). Harsha and Shah (2011) postulate that the supremacy of a higher educational brand is signified by the judgements, outlooks, opinions, images and experiences associated with the brand in the minds of citizens or audiences and what these consumers have learnt, felt, observed and heard concerning HEIs over time. The internationalisation of HE has further contributed towards the advent of global university rankings (Stolz, Hendel & Horn, 2010), which are reflective of institutional brand reputation and performance (Williams & Van Dyke, 2008). Hence, it has become increasingly imperative for top management of HEIs to divulge the vision, mission, strategy and reason for existence of institutions to the rest of the institutional operational levels in the most effective way possible (Balmer, 2012).

According to Biraghi and Gambetti (2015), organisational branding is a continuous strategic process that mirrors the efforts of top managers to capture the identity of organisations and express it in a dependable and attractive manner to promote the organisational identification and support of stakeholders. Flake (2015) maintains that hardly any assets are as crucial to the accomplishment of organisations as the image they portray to the media, customers, shareholders as well as the general public. Moreover organisational branding epitomises one of the most treasured resources which companies possess to successfully differentiate themselves within the competitive field (Biraghi & Gambetti, 2015). Amzat (2015) explains that branding is important for the sustainability of HEIs and the offering of products that are superior to their competitors. Therefore, HEIs should attract qualified academic staff who can ensure sustainability and quality over the long term (Makondo, 2014; Pienaar & Bester, 2008).

Finding highly qualified and a potential pool of talented scholars remains a central management challenge in the 21st century. Universities in sub-Saharan Africa continue to operate under conditions are seriously under-resourced, which poses significant challenges for the scholars concerned (Onah & Anikwe, 2016; Selesho & Naile, 2014). Employment equity and remuneration practices are important factors in attraction and retention of new academics, especially from historically disadvantaged groups in South Africa (Mapesela & Strydom, 2005). However, the organisational brand of academic institutions continues to be hindered by unattractive remuneration practices (Makondo, 2014) and a lack of adequate incentives for knowledge production (Wangenge-Ouma, Lutomiah & Langa, 2015).

The main objective of this study was to explore management perceptions on a higher educational institution as a brand for the attraction of talent academic staff. More specifically, this research addressed the following research questions:

* What are higher educational managers' perceptions of the current state of the organisational branding of a merged HEI?

* What are the components of a compelling higher educational brand to manage academic talent effectively?

This research is motivated from the fact that regardless of the largely renowned significance of organisational branding as a way of gaining competitive advantage, organisational branding studies suffer from vastly disjointed standpoints that makes it challenging to recognise the value of organisational branding in channel its practises (Biraghi & Gambetti, 2015). This article explores the concept of organisational branding as it relates to higher education by breaking it down into six concise components, namely reputation, organisational culture, strategic vision, organisational identity, intended image(s) and construed image that each directly pertains to the overall concept of organisational branding. …

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