Brand Management: Unveiling the Delusion of Control

Serena Wider, Sylvia von Wallpach, Hans Mühlbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Mainstream brand management literature views brands as products or organisations carrying brand names and brand managers as being in control of brand-related actions and outcomes. By contrast, recent empirical research shows the substantial influence of stakeholders on brands. Together with brand management, stakeholders shape brands by participating in brand-related interaction. European brand research accordingly treats brands as ongoing and complex processes in constant flux. Nevertheless, literature suffers from a significant lack of theoretical underpinnings for understanding brands as complex processes; in this respect, building on European philosophy is a fruitful avenue. This paper introduces the metaphor of the rhizome and draws on European process philosophy to further develop an integrative processual understanding of brands. Brand management claiming control over brands as processes turns out to be a delusion
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)301-305
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Brand
  • Process
  • European philosophy
  • Rhizome
  • Management
  • Control delusion

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