Explicating ethical corporate identity in the financial sector

Shaun Powell, Wim J. L. Elving, Chris Dodd, Julia Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate and measure employees' perception of actual and desired corporate ethical values as a component of corporate identity within a major UK financial institution, against a comparison with their employees' own individual ethical values. 

Design/methodology/approach - The multi-method case study uses a mix of secondary data analysis, key interviews and 245 employee questionnaires. The financial institution is selected as it is identified as being in the process of instigating what may be termed a "monolithic" corporate branding strategy while using a "top down" communication approach across its various operations in the UK.

Findings - The paper shows that employees' perceive managements' ideal identity to be significantly different to the operational reality that "is" the company, especially in relation to ethical values. These gaps also vary between major divisions within the organisation, as well as between differing staffing levels, adding empirical support to existing theories that corporate identity and corporate brand management will need to take into account many sub-cultures within any large organisation, as well as the individual values of its employees, and that a top down communication programme that fails to take this into consideration will face many difficulties.

Originality/value - This empirical based case study research focuses upon a comparison between internal perceptions of actual and ideal corporate values as part of the corporate identity, in comparison to employees' own individual values has been largely overlooked within the corporate identity and branding literatures to date.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-455
Number of pages16
JournalCorporate Communications: An International Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2009


  • Business ethics
  • Corporate branding
  • Corporate identity
  • Employee attitudes
  • Financial institutions
  • United Kingdom


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