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On the Frontlines of Fashion: Measuring Employee-Consumer Integrated Retailer Brand Equity

Rudkowski, J. L. (2021) On the Frontlines of Fashion: Measuring Employee-Consumer Integrated Retailer Brand Equity. DBA thesis, Henley Business School, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00104607


The aim of this research is to develop a measure of employee-consumer integrated retailer brand equity through the theoretical lens of a dual stakeholder (i.e. employeeconsumer). This research draws on marketing (consumer-based brand equity, retailer brand equity) and organizational behaviour (internal brand management, employee-based brand equity, employee patronage) literatures. Frontline retail employees’ perceptions of retailer brand equity are examined from internal (i.e., as employees) and external (i.e., as consumers) perspectives. Key factors that influence frontline employees’ perceptions of retailer brand equity are conceptualized. Employees are segmented into two groups, patronizing frontline retail employees’ (PFREs) and non-patronizing frontline retail employees’ (non-PFREs), based on self-reported shopping frequency, and compared. The model is tested using a quantitative online survey design with a sample of 313 frontline fashion retail employees across Canada. PLS-SEM and SmartPLS 3 are used to analyse the data, specify and assess the structural and measurement models, and conduct mediator and multi-group analyses. The findings validate an employee-consumer integrated retailer brand equity model with four consumer-based dimensions (service quality, product quality, price/value, store image) and seven employee-based dimensions (brand allegiance, skills development, brand consistent behaviour, resume power, brand endorsement, internal advancement, work demands). Both PFREs and non-PFREs value all four consumer-based retailer brand equity factors. However, PFREs place the highest value on the employee-based factors of brand allegiance, skills development and brand consistent behaviour, and non-PFREs place the highest value on brand allegiance, resume power and brand consistent behaviour. This research makes several contributions to knowledge. First, it draws on existing consumer-based and employee-based brand equity measures, which were previously differentiated phenomena, and integrates them into one new model. Second, it advances the PLS-SEM methodology and the application of evaluation criteria and its interpretation on HCMs and introduces a 3rd order HCM model within the retailer brand equity domain. Third, it further develops the multi-step structure, whereby integrated retailer brand equity and retailer loyalty are partially mediated by retailer trust. Fourth, it highlights the frontline employee, and illuminates how retailers can leverage employee segmentation strategies to enhance their retailer brand. If implemented, the employee-consumer integrated retailer brand equity measure would provide retailers with practical insights and direction regarding how to measure the true value of retailer brand equity, what factors their marketing and human resources departments should prioritize and encourage their collaboration when building brand strategies. The proposed measure would also allow retailers to benchmark progress over time and make the appropriate adjustments, which could improve their frontline employees’ perceptions of their retailer brand equity and support a more holistic approach to measuring and capturing the retailer’s true value creation.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:Hyatt, D. and Karanicholas, I.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:104607
Date on Title Page:14 December 2020

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