On brand loyalty too far

Michael Schrage has written a provoking piece on whether firms will push employees to live brand values into their private, non-work lives. He elaborates in one of the comments:

… if a walmart employee and supplier won’t live the brand commitment by using cfd’s and being a ‘good citizen,’ is walmart entitled to ‘discriminate’ by not offering promotions, bonuses, good reviews, etc….?

… if an employee of an ‘equal rights/diversity’ championing firm is a member of a private club that excludes women and minorities, can the firm choose not to promote that employee – or even fire him?

The issue that such a  practice could be an invasion of privacy, or unconstitutional, is raised in the article comments but coming from the US, and the commenters being apparently US-based, I would submit that the view of the workplace as being unregulated is very much a US concept. In more regulated work conditions, such as those in South Africa and several European countries, employment conditions and terms would prevent an employer from forcing its values into areas outside the workplace.

On a different note, the kind of work environment that Schrage envisages sounds more like a ‘Stepford Wives’ community, one which values conformity above everything. The problem with conformity in today’s world is that it does not encourage originality, and it is difference and originality that provides the opportunity for innovation.

Is Schrage’s article really serious, or just a clever argument designed to ridicule the possibility of someone actually coming up with such a proposition?

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2 thoughts on “On brand loyalty too far

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