Kaj-Dac Tam defended his thesis “Perceptual Alignment of Retail Brand lmage in Corporate Branding: A study of employee perceived stakeholder alignment and effects on brand equity” on April 14th. Below you can find out more about Kaj and his research, described in his own words.
My journey in Lund started with a master’s degree in “International Marketing and Brand Management”, which has been recognised several times as the most popular master’s programme in Sweden. After I finished the master’s programme at the age of 23, I was accepted as a PhD candidate in brand management. Together with my supervisors and a fellow PhD colleague, we founded Lund Brand Management Group – a research group dedicated to develop useful tools and theories in the practice of managing brands and to forward the academic field of strategic brand management.
In my doctoral thesis, I examine the concept of perceptual alignment. The term perceptual alignment is used in various research fields to describe the extent to which individuals share the same perceptions about an object or idea. Perceptual alignment is important from a corporate branding perspective because strong corporate brands express associations and sources of ideals that are attractive and appealing to stakeholders. This expression, when aligned with the stakeholders, is assumed to create a sense of belonging to the organisation and the brand, which affects the attitudes, decisions and behaviours of the stakeholders.
I investigate perceptual alignment based on retail brand image from the employee’s perspective, and whether employees share the same retail brand perceptions as their perceived stakeholders involving the perceived customers, top management, colleagues, and closest manager. A strong alignment suggests a coherent brand, and the corporate branding literature assumes that strong alignment is a pre-requisite for successful corporate brand performance. However, this conceptual assumption has not been extensively examined and tested in the literature. The few existing quantitative studies that have investigated the relationship between perceptual alignment and performance outcomes have provided mixed results.
My doctoral dissertation is one of the first to examine the relationship between perceptual alignment of retail brand image from the employee perspective in relation to other perceived stakeholders and the effects on internal, external and economic performance outcomes related to brand equity. I label this form of perceptual alignment as employee perceived stakeholder alignment. Based on three main quantitative studies in the retail sector, the results show that employee perceived stakeholder alignment plays an important role in strengthening the brand. The findings provide managers with several managerial implications that can be used to build stronger brand equity through employee perceived stakeholder alignment.
Besides doing research and teaching, I have been involved as a doctoral committee member in several boards throughout the years including the Department Board; The Academic Appointment Council; Young Researchers Association, and The Economics and Management Doctoral Student Council.