Sensory turn in in management education

Based on our research projects we have been working on developing new teaching offerings from early on. A first attempt was the class Jimmy Schmid invited me to teach in his program on Environmental Communication Design. At this time we were happy to involve Ashraf Osman on this journey. Since 2015, the course on smell culture has been part of the contextual studies at the University of St.Gallen.  

More recently we have even been working on contributions to postgraduate management education. Last fall Bettina Rychener and Claus Noppeney have had the chance to develop and test courses (1-2 days) on leadership and team dynamics for Bern University of Applied Sciences. Smell & Leadership? How? Why? In fact, part of the session deals with the olfactory dimension at the workplace. This theme has recently also been explored by Samantha Warren und Cathleen Riach. The most recent publication on this theme is actually part of the edited volume: Designing with smell! But smell is also used as a perspective on leadership & management issues. Claus Noppeney shared some experiences at the IAO #ExperimentalScentSummit in Berlin in May 2017.

More recently, we have once again expanded the scope of our topics. This time we provided an alternative view on scent marketing that goes beyond the common “success stories” and prejudices. In fact, we took a consumer culture (CCT) approach and share numerous cases. In particular, we explored the potential one product and one olfactory note. Even this limitation allows the students to go on a journey crossing the boundaries of diverse products, services, failures and successes. 

Is there a role for scent in management education? We reflect in this interview on the approach and one specific case. The feedback is pretty encouraging:

Bildschirmfoto 2017-10-20 um 20.53.16

Thank a lot for the valuable feedback!

Exploring New Odors of Tobacco Consumption

The smell of cigarette smoke including the breath odor of smokers has often been described as a pressing issue in today’s world of work. In fact, it is the smell of smoking that marginalizes smokers at the workplace. They are often excluded from informal exchanges and target of workplace bullying and mobbing. In extreme cases they even lose their job because of their smoking habit. This threat is particularly relevant for service workers that work in physical proximity to their clients (e.g. healthcare sector). Exploring New Odors of Tobacco Consumption

Beyond De-odorant & Scent-Marketing: The Sense of Smell at the Workplace

It is apparent that the sense of smell can hardly be switched off at the workplace. Yet, business and management research has only recently started to explore its relevance. A number of research and transfer projects have been conducted at Bern University of Applied Sciences. And there is an upcoming forum to share and discuss this topic. Beyond De-odorant & Scent-Marketing: The Sense of Smell at the Workplace

Dressing for success – and scent?

The common slogan “dress for success” underlines the wide-held view that what you wear matters in everyday life. It originates in Erving Goffman’s studies on the social world as a stage. Accordingly, individuals interact as performers. In the context of management and organization studies this mode of interaction has later been labeled as “impression management”. It is obvious that workplace attire is used to manage the impressions of others. Studies show that women are more interested in clothing and experience more “appearance labor” when compared to men.*

Dressing for success – and scent?

Fragrant Careers? The olfactory presentation of self at the workplace

Individuals who want to be successful in today’s career landscape have to go beyond solid performance and strong results; personal branding is an increasingly important factor as well. Impression management plays a key role in today’s professional world, and one’s olfactory appearance is an integral part thereof. Which strategies and intentions one wants to achieve with personal scent, however, have only been researched casually, at best, so far.

Thus, the leading German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, recently discussed the use of certain perfumes by representatives of a political youth organization. What message does a user of Tommy Hilfiger perfume want to convey? According to the FAZ this young politician wants to identify himself as a performance oriented achiever who spends his money on clothes that are distinctly designed for this social group.

Fragrant Careers? The olfactory presentation of self at the workplace