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Social representations of marketing work: advertising workers and social media

Cluley, Robert; Green, William

Social representations of marketing work: advertising workers and social media Thumbnail


Robert Cluley

William Green


© 2019, Robert Cluley and William Green. Purpose: Informed by social representation theory, the study aims to explore how marketing workers represent their activities on social media. Design/methodology/approach: A naturalistic data set of 17,553 messages posted on Twitter by advertising workers was collected. A sample of over 1,000 unique messages from this data set, incorporating all external links and images, was analysed inductively using structured thematic analysis. Findings: Advertising workers represent marketing work as a series of fun yet constrained activities involving relationships with clients and colleagues. They engage in cognitive polyphasia by evaluating these productive differences in both a positive and negative light. Research limitations/implications: The study marks a novel use of social representation theory and innovative social media analysis. Further research should explore these relations in greater depth by considering the networks that marketing workers create on social media and establish how, when and why marketing workers turn to social media in their everyday activities. Practical implications: Marketing workers choose to represent aspects of their work to one another, using social media. Marketing managers should support such activities and consider social media as a way to understand the lives and experiences of marketing workers. Originality/value: Marketing researchers have embraced digital media as a route to understanding consumers. This study demonstrates the value of analysing digital media to develop an understanding of marketing work. It sheds new light on the ways marketing workers create social relationships and enables marketing managers to understand and observe the social aspects of effective marketing.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 12, 2018
Online Publication Date May 13, 2019
Publication Date May 13, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 16, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 11, 2020
Journal European Journal of Marketing
Print ISSN 0309-0566
Electronic ISSN 0309-0566
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 53
Issue 5
Pages 830-847
Keywords Marketing
Public URL
Publisher URL


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