This month I will be presenting to HR practitioners and leaders in Perth about authenticity and organisational voice. The summary of the talk is below.
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Dr Nathalie Collins, Manager of Strategic Business Development, Edith Cowan University, will be presenting ‘Maintaining an Authentic Voice through difficult organisational change.’
HR professionals are often tasked with delivering communications and managing change which is directed at Executive level with an organisational voice. During this talk, Dr Nathalie Collins will draw relevant examples from her research into authenticity and management/messaging to stimulate discussions on effective ways to be perceived as authentic by your audience.
The positives of authenticity range from increasing the credibility of the message to reducing stress on workers who have to deliver corporate messaging. But authenticity is a slippery concept; what does it mean? And how can something so subjective still be applied?
Nathalie’s development of the 360 Degree Authenticity Framework attempts to address authenticity in a practical applied way, while still drawing from its basis in philosophy, psychology, anthropological, sociology and tourism.
For more information about the Institute visit their web site.
I received some exciting news this month, I have finally been formally recognised as completing all of the requirements of my PhD. That’s right, I have finished the program I commenced in 2008.
Getting a PhD was easier–and harder–than I thought. My undergraduate degree in Philosophy had given me a great foundation for research work. My ability to argue was also very well developed (some would say overdeveloped); so taking a position and then seeking to prove or disprove it was less of a challenge to me than it might have been to others.
The emotional journey, however, was harder than I anticipated. This was a long project as I worked full time while I encountered every beaurocratic frustration in my path. The hardest part of this was not the work. It was the stuff surrounding the work.
All the while though, my network of family, friends and colleagues spurred me on. Between now and September when I cross the stage, I will spend much of my time thanking them all individually. After that, my job is to pay it forward and support others. I am looking forward to that.
The article is part of a two part conceptual journey into consumer collectives. Also called Brand Communities, Consumer Tribes, Subcultures of Consumption and other such names, these communities have products at their centre and act a lot like religious communities. This article draws a comparison between religious communities (as it is defined by American James Carse) and these consumption communities. The comparison explores the tension between the Civitas (or producer/church) and the Communitas (congregation/consumer collective). The two groups do not have the same aims; rather their goals produce a social energy or “game” which generates meaning for all the players.
The contribution of this article is the development of a model of communal consumption behaviour which is mapped to a particular model of the way religion works. Parallels between consumption behaviour and religion have become increasingly common since Apple Computer introduced the approach in the mid 1980s. This article also highlights the work of James Carse, an American scholar of Philosophy and Religion.
Several years ago, I contributed to an Australian Edition of a university Advertising textbook. I recently was asked to revisit my contribution, as they have decided to use the work I contributed on Customer Evangelism again. It is great to see this kind of research being included in a text used to teach Communications students. I was particularly chuffed that the textbook is being used at the university where I work, Edith Cowan University.
Below is an excerpt from the original contribution to the book.
Edith Cowan University recently hosted their Teaching and Learning eCulture Conference. Along with colleagues Lynelle Watts, Renee Strauss, David Hodgson and Richard Brightwell, I presented a paper called “Authenticity in Student Recruitment: Social Work and Paramedicine”. The paper examined the relationship between recruiters and academics at ECU in two programs which had grown in student enrollments over the last 3-5 years. Using a convergent interviewing methodology, we examined the events that led up to and precipitated the ability of recruiters to sell these two courses authentically to future students.
Some of the outcomes included:
(1) Uncertainty on behalf of Academics on how the marketing and sales process works ended up being the catalyst for a constructive relationship;
(2) Courses with the most unmet market demand would tend to get the most attention from recruiters;
(3) Recruiters are more likely to focus on the corporate brand as a form of credibility than Academics do; and
(4) Course accreditation adds value to the future student and current student experience.
Authenticity in relationships between recruiters and academics is not covered in scholarly literature. This study is a step in the direction of exploring what makes an effective recruiter in higher education.
I am currently completing (hopefully) a PhD program. I put the following infographic together in order to lead people reading the thesis through the document. This inforgraphic outlines the original contribution of the thesis over the course of 5 sections, or articles, I have written. Two are published, one is slated for publication and the other two being finalised for submission.
The following graphic is large, please give it time to lead if you have a slow connection. Please click on it to see a larger version, or email me and I can send you a PDF.
If you are interested in authenticity, particularly in a marketing context, I would encourage you to check out www.360da.org. That blog is also authored by me, Nathalie. Every week to two weeks, and article or issue regarding authenticity will be discussed. For those of you on Twitter, this blog also has a Twitter feed @3sixtyda.
I recently received excellent news: two papers I authored have been accepted int the Service Management and Science Forum in Las Vegas this August. I will be traveling to Vegas to present the papers.
One paper is called Network Narratives Revisited and looks at how authenticity affects audience acceptance of seeded commercial blog posts.
Another paper is called Developing a Customer Evangelism Scale Using Faith-Based Volunteer Tourism Data. This paper, co-authored with Professor Jamie Murphy, is the first step toward using quantitative techniques to identify customer evangelists from a larger sample population.
I am lucky to have a colleague, Jamie Murphy, present two papers we collaborated on at the Asia-Pacific Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education Conference in May this year.
The first paper is called The Road to Damascus Leads to One Infinite Loop: An Introspective Adventure into Apple Computer Customer Evangelism. It is an introspective account of one Apple user’s journey to evangelism (me!).
The second paper is called Towards A Folk Taxonomy of Popular New Media Marketing Terms and classifies terms we use all the time in common language and in marketing: Geek, Maven, Alpha User, Evangelist, Fanboy. It is a folk taxonomy primarily because these words came to be used in the common vernacular in the first instance. Later they were co-opted into technical marketing terms. There is still a lot of confusion around these terms and the purpose of the paper is to carve out an evidence-based place for each term.
Thanks to Jamie for traveling to China and presenting these papers on our behalf.