Archive for June, 2013

Individual Authentic Journey Report

June 27, 2013

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Individual Authentic Journey Report

Introduction

Authentic leadership has gained momentum recently due the rising incidents of corporate indignity, management misconduct, and societal challenges facing corporate across the board. One of the key initiators of authentic leadership is the collapse of Enron and WorldCom which was associated with unethical management (George 2003, p. 303). Since this occurrence, the public lost the confidence they had with corporate leadership. They began demanding a new crop of leaders who would lead organizations with transparency and accountability. Authentic leadership extends beyond corporate success, public interests, and organizational barriers through honesty and integrity. Most organizations today need a new type of leadership that can transcend against the various organizational stressors in a smooth manner.

Authenticity is best defined by the Greek phrase, “know thy self” and “to thine own self be true” (Kernis 2003, p.205). Thus, authentic leadership entails knowing, accepting and remaining true to one’s self. Consequently, authentic leaders are those that are self aware of their values, beliefs and morals, and they act transparently in line with these morals and ethical values. George (2003, p. 102) defined authentic leadership as the ability to be in control of one’s thoughts, personal experiences, needs, preferences, emotions and beliefs under all circumstances. Simply, authentic leadership entails learning to express one’s thoughts and beliefs and act in congruence with them (George 2003).

Journey to Authenticity

Self Awareness and Values

According to Manning (2009, p. 89) self awareness is an authentic leadership component that entails having intrinsic trust and being aware of one’s personal characteristics, values, and beliefs. Self awareness also encompasses being in the capacity, to understand and accept the contradicting aspects of one’s personality. It also entails being aware of the roles that such contradictions have in one’s behavior. Self awareness is the act of fully understanding one’s personality and emotions through being self conscious of one’s strengths and weaknesses. The main component of self awareness can thus be reduced to having sufficient emotional intelligence (Manning 2009, p. 113).

As I was growing up, I realized it as necessary to know ones unique strengths, talents, values and strengths as the main step towards self awareness (Kernis 2003, 92). States self cognition begins when one becomes aware of their existence within the context in which they are operating. In the application of this hypothesis, I have been able to notice that there are differences that exist between all individuals. Each person has some basic unique talents, values, and beliefs that they can apply in the context they operate in to produce authenticity, a factor I encouraged in my team.

Honesty, respect, success, quality, self-confidence, and self determination are some of my main strengths that I applied towards authenticity. By applying these values, I have been able to lead my peers in throughout the team presentations. Kernis (2003, p. 98) states that self awareness is not an end point, but rather a means to an end whereby one continues to understand the self better. In the discharge of authority at various leadership levels, I expect to become more cognizant of my other personal strengths that will add to my authenticity stances. Authentic leaders have the unique ability of deriving meaning from the world and use it in leading and understanding themselves. In the complex nature of one’s self, authentic leaders are able to understand their weaknesses and strengths.

In the quest for self awareness, I have demonstrated ability to influence others behavior through my personal strengths. Self clarity and self certainty have been the main factors that are providing the influence I require in this task. In some cases, I felt that I was not motivating my team well, but I demonstrated excellent time management skills that enabled me to garner some influence and leadership in the team. Self views are equally valuable in identifying one’s self and this extends to understanding one’s social skills that distinguish one from others (Kernis 2003, p. 123).

Authentic Behavior

This aspect is closely related to leader self awareness. One of the best realizations is that self awareness when not cultivated may wither. According to Walumba, et al. (2008), authentic behavior means acting in accordance to one’s beliefs and values. This is in contrast to behaving pretentiously in order to avoid punishments or attain rewards. However, leaders should exercise caution in their actions. Behaving in a free manner and perpetually expressing one’s true self is different from behaving authentically. The former is prone to reproach since most members of the society would deem it inappropriate and unethical. Authentic leaders need to learn to keep a healthy balance between expressing their true self and the environment in which they operate. It is of vital importance that the authentic leaders express maximum ability of understanding the consequences of their behavior (Walumba, et al. 2008, p 58).

Authentic behavior calls for setting of leader self regulations which guide the leader in exerting self control in their actions. The regulation involves setting new standards, assessing any discrepancies that exist between these standards and the actual anticipated outcomes, and finally identifying the appropriate actions that would address the noted discrepancies. This implies that self regulation is the basic process through which authentic leaders align themselves with their intended causes of action (Manning 2009 p. 123).

In the regulation process, I applied the theories of self determinism and unbiased balanced processing. The self-determinism theory contends that authenticity is attained through initiating a self driven regulatory process rather than an externally based regulatory process. In accordance to this theory, I established moral standards and ethical values that I upheld in my dispensation to authenticity. I vowed not to give in to urges of low self-esteem, peer pressure, and acts of indulgence that are likely to undermine my honesty virtues. Low self esteem undermines self confidence meaning that influencing peers would be impossible. In some instances, peers may exert pressures that are in contrary to one’s maxims. Having concrete standards was thus essential in ensuring that I remained anchored to my values even under threatening demand from team members.

Another theory based on the works of Kark, Shamir and Chen (2003), argues that authenticity is achieved through balanced processing, relational transparency, and authentic behaviors. Similarly, in my undertakings I ensure that I engrain the three sets of authenticity skills. Through acts honesty and respect, it is possible to transcend through biases, transparency, and ensuring balanced behaviors. Honesty makes it possible to narrate confidently what happened in what circumstances in an accountable and transparent manner. Kark, Shamir, and Chen (2003) argue that behavior regulation is effectively achieved when it is matched to the leader’s actual self. It needs to be possible to narrate how I remained true to myself even in different times of one’s operations. This ensures that the leader is capable of maintaining character consistency at all times. In my undertaking as an authentic leader, I learnt the art of reconciling any inconsistencies that arose due to the dynamism of self regulation to that of ensuring a match in character and actions.

Relational Transparency

Authentic leadership requires that the leader be capable of presenting the real self to the outside world. Such an act amounts to transparency. Through acts of transparency, a leader can foster an atmosphere of interpersonal trust. In expressing relational transparency, leaders use a personal disclosure approach where they ensure the necessary information is shared, with the leaders ensuring that they express their true feelings and thoughts whilst keeping off from inappropriate emotions (Ilies, Morgenson & Nahrang 2005, p. 182).

Ilies, Morgenson and Nahrang (2005, p. 182) argue that leaders need to cultivate an environment of  self disclosure, whilst fostering mutual intimacy to create an environment, whereby everybody is accustomed to all the favorable and unfavorable acts of one another. For this to be achieved, participants of in the intimacy need to uphold legitimacy, and be honest with those around them. However, it need be observed that transparency is often a product of authentic behavior. Indeed, Kernis (2003, p. 203), points out those relationships that demonstrate high standards of openness and truthfulness are often anchored under the maxims of authentic behavior. When leaders uphold authentic behavior, they often experience stances of unconditional trust amongst their followers.

I will refer to honesty, respect, teamwork, and self confidence as my main drives towards authenticity. When leaders are honest, confident, and, respectful in themselves, they attract unconditional trust from their followers. With trust, free exchange of information and knowledge is facilitated in the relationship leading to teamwork and improved performance. I realized the importance of putting my life under the scrutiny of my team members as they helped in identifying areas that I need to improve in my leadership.

I also embraced the act of expressing my thoughts in all situations as a way of ensuring openness in all situations. For example, during team meetings, I took the initiative to contribute in all team discussions as this plays a vital role in developing the abilities needed in being an open and influential leader. I found it equally relevant to learn to express my feelings in different situations. Kernis (2003, p. 242) argues that relational orientation involves fully practicing self disclosure and fostering of mutual honesty. By so doing, other people learn to understand an individual better, and they are too compelled to share their personal lives. In my relationship with friends, I noticed that when I shared my thoughts with them, they also felt equally compelled to share what they thought about different situations in the team’s tasks.

The advantage of openness and trust manifests in the ability to exchange information and knowledge in a free and healthy manner. Authentic leaders embrace an atmosphere where information and knowledge are shared in an open manner. The views of other people are indispensable in the leadership process, and unless other people are involved in leadership, it may be unsuccessful. I noted that the most successful teams in the school were usually under the leadership of captains who welcomed the views of all team members (Avolio et al. 2004, p. 56).

Unbiased Self-Processing

Unbiased processing refers to the processing of self relevant information whilst incorporating views of private knowledge, self experiences and externally evaluated information. According to Avolio at el. (2004) unbiased self processing is anchored in the leader’s ability to exercise personal integrity and strong character as actions which influence their acts, decisions and their personal autonomy. Simply put, this element of unbiased processing involves accepting one’s attributes, qualities, favorable and unfavorable aspects.

The manner in which authentic leaders select information-generating situations for processing both internal experiences and external interactions is also encompassed in the function of unbiased processing. The individual theories determine how performance oriented leaders justify their actions. One of the most defining attributes of performance oriented people, is their focus on comparing themselves with others in a bid to prove how better they are, compared to other people. Rather than focusing on personal developing, performance oriented leaders focus on personal validation. Such leaders believe that intellectual ability is a fixed and invariable element (Dweck 2000, p. 132).

In contrast, leaders who embrace the incremental theory believe in the variability of intellectual ability. Such leaders believe that intellect can be improved. Congruently, they offer themselves into challenging activities and opportunities whilst using them as building blocks towards achieving personal growth and intellectual improvements. Dweck (2000) argues that leaders who embrace the incremental theory approach their duties and life experiences with a main aim of learning and increasing their competence in performing the task. Such individuals also demonstrate high levels of self direction and personal regulation. In fact, they believe that ability can be altered, and through determination and hard work, success is achievable (Dweck 2000, p. 134).

To incorporate these views, I refer to success as one of the team’s main values. Our team was all through geared toward achieving success. In academics, I have always believed that improvements are possible despite what grades I got. In my initial years, in school, I was an average student who was content by having grades that were similar to peers’. Although my parents commended that my grades were good, they observed that, I had the potential to achieve better. In the years of my high school, I decided to put more effort in schoolwork and ultimately I started improving my performance.

In co-curricular activities, I have shown interest in various activities such as football, skating, and playing in the band. Initially, skating and getting into the band were so challenging that I almost gave up. However, my peers offered me much motivation that has seen me become an expert in the activities. After completing my undergraduate, I intend to enroll for an MBA whilst learning other life lessons such as personal finance. Through such acts of determinism, Gardner et al. (2005), observes that unbiased processing could be a reality. Therefore, it is crucial for authentic leaders to seek for self improving avenues as well as opportunities to learn new skills in order to meet the requirements of unbiased processing.

Understanding Personal History

The journey to authentic leadership cannot be complete without having the ability to interpret one’s life experiences, and trigger events that offer the platform for further personal development. The underpinning determinants of an authentic leader’s personal history are the family, culture, education, profession, work experience, and childhood experiences. Personal history is essential to every authentic leader since it helps in discovering one’s self. Personal history is stored in one’s individual memory where it is used to shape one’s identity in the desired direction (Avolio et al. 2004, p. 145).

Gardner et al. (2005, p. 365) noted that most successful authentic leaders identified to at least one role model at some point in their lifespan. The role models are in many cases family members, teachers, or mentors who can demonstrate high levels of personal uprightness, dependability and transparency. Researchers believe that such role models played prominent roles in shaping the leaders self development and self awareness. In addition, it is also widely believed that authentic followers also seem to view authentic leaders as role models.

In many instances, I have been a follower of my various leaders who happen to be my immediate teachers, parents, and team leaders. Often, I have learnt a number of leadership behaviors from them that affect me to the present day. For example, my parents brought me up as an honest, diligent, and moral person, values that I uphold to this date. Self discipline that was instilled in me by both parents and teachers has also been instrumental in fostering healthy interpersonal relationships with both my peers and followers. In leading teams, personal history as played a vital role in shaping my leadership style towards authenticity.

Trigger Events

It is widely believed that most authentic leaders identify to some events in their life that stimulated their personal development and growth urges. In most instances, these events are mainly negative in their nature. Events such as financial distress, loss of a loved one, and trauma have often been associated with life changing capabilities. However, Kernis (2003, p. 65) argues that some positive life experiences can also serve as equal opportunities for turning a person’s life.

Events such as personal achievements, inspirational and motivational books, relationships with people with disabilities, expatriate assignments, and promotion are some of the positive events that may also give rise to authentic leaders. In my journey to authentic leadership, I have mainly been influenced by positive trigger events. I have attended a number of leadership clinics and exhibitions where I have interacted with a number of leaders who have motivated me to becoming one.

While leading my team, I tried to incorporate some of the leadership tactics I learnt from my role models to challenges that arose along the way. My father, who also holds a leadership role in his profession, acts as a source of motivation. In many occasions, my father had invited me to his office.  During these visits, I managed to learn various approaches he applied to execute his mandate. During such visits, I have also the privilege of interacting with other young leaders in the organization whom I have significantly admired. With this exposure to such kind of events, I eventually developed an enormous desire to be such a successful leader.

Positive Psychological Capital

In the mind of every authentic leader lays concrete psychological capabilities of immense optimism, unwavering confidence, upbeat hope, and swift resilience (Luthans and Avolio, 2003). With such psychological capabilities, authentic leaders can improve their self-awareness and self-regulating acts. In their research, Luthans and Avolio, assumed that these psychological capabilities are the building blocks to authentic leadership and thus they should be developed prior to becoming an authentic leader.

Garner et al. (2005), however, differs with Luthan and Avolio assumptions. Instead, Garner observed that more research in the field ought is indispensable to ascertain whether psychological capital is an antecedent, vital element or product of authentic leadership. Today most researchers are still polarized regarding the position that psychological capital should assume. Various researchers agree that psychological capital is an essential component in authentic leadership (Seligman 2002).

In my journey, I have applied this component as an integral requirement to becoming an authentic leader. Confidence, respect, and quality are among the main psychological capabilities I uphold. I realized that in most undertakings, be it be in academics, co curricula activities, or social relationships it is vital to exercise some degrees of these values. Studies have established that possessing such positive psychological capabilities, helps one to develop a good attitude towards development and change. In turn, this leads to better developed individuals, groups, institutions, and societies that can prosper and thrive (luthans 2004).

Positive Moral Perspective

According to Luthans and Avolio (2003, p. 165), having an inherent ethical and moral component, is also integral to becoming an authentic leader. A moral component plays a pivotal role in an authentic leader’s transparent decision making. It has been established that authentic leaders base their decisions on elements of ethical capability, efficacy, and courage to help them attain sustained actions (May et al, 2003). Such moral standards help the leaders to form a well established self-regulation that is governed by internal ethics and value standards that can overcome all pressures emanating from communities, groups and institutions.

However, other authors such as Cooper et al. (2005) and Sparrowe (2005), disagree with the including of such standards into authentic leadership. Their argument is that such an act will dilute the meaning of authenticity thus making it difficult for future researchers to define the meaning of authentic leadership.

In developing authentic leadership, individuals need to embrace transparency, whilst balancing on their decision making, and nurturing ethical perspectives that help in developing self awareness. In so doing, leaders provide themselves with a capacity for sharing honest reasons that necessitate their decisions. Balanced decision making entails embracing conflicting views through initiating a team-based approach of problem solving. Nurturing ethical perspectives involve broadening capacities, ensuring the validity of diverse views and welcoming an inclusive perspective (Wernsing 2008).

Werning (2008) further believes that developing self awareness should be a lifelong undertaking. In order to be successful in becoming authentic leaders, we firstly need to take an evaluation of ourselves on the continuum of leadership. Later, we need to determine our intrinsic strengths and values and undertake to align our lives with them. The main shortcoming of Werning’s approach is its failure to account for value changes that may occur during the long-term self awareness development program.

Personally, I have embraced the views of luthans and Avolio (2003, p. 231) that a moral perspective is essential in authentic leadership. I have been brought up from a moral background where ethics and values take precedence over one’s actions. My parents have always encouraged me to uphold good morals throughout my life since good morals are key to success. At the church, right from my Sunday school, to the present moment, the message has been the same; that good morals antecede good behavior. At school, right from the elementary levels, morals have been always emphasized as the basis for appropriate behavior. This sought of upbringing has socialized me into becoming a moral agent who basis all life’s undertakings on morality an aspect I demonstrated throughout the team leadership.

Follower Self Awareness and Regulation

This step marks the end of my journey as an authentic leader. Gardner et al. (2005, p. 98) observes that authentic leader followers’ self awareness is largely influenced by the leaders. Authentic followers view authentic leaders as their models for positive values, motives, transparency, success, and authenticity. Research has established that new entrants to a team led by an authentic leader adapt to the new work-environment immediately. For example, if the authentic leaders’ integrity is high, and they are focused on personal development, they easily identify the strengths of the new entrants and focus on developing them. When followers are so developed, they play a significant role as positive trigger events that can be used in bettering the leader.

As a leader, I have learnt to accept the importance of knowing your followers from the inside. This helps the leader in assigning duties, interpersonal relationships within the group and in conflict resolution. Through embracing the value of teamwork, I was able to bring my team members into one accord. Working in the team was smooth, and this led to efficient task accomplishment, and ultimately success.

Conclusion

Authentic leadership is an essential component to all modern day leaders. Leaders of all levels; organizational leaders, team leaders, group leaders and even state leaders, need to embrace a culture of authenticity in their leadership. This paper has established that, alongside accomplishing success, authentic leadership ensures leader accountability, influence, and transparency. This enables leaders who embrace authenticity, transcend as organizational legends that not only brought success but organizational cohesion. My journey to authenticity was also successful. I managed to lead my team towards accomplishing our tasks in the right time and successfully. Although, I did not achieve maximum member motivation, the team members were happy with what we accomplished. I also observed that the team members by the end of our mission had already transformed to authentic followers.

 The world financial crisis can also be attributed to the lack of transparent leaders. It is noted that leaders who were entrusted with driving the word economy, entered into acts of greed with the private leaders, to cause what is today the most severe word financial crisis. These and other acts that happen behind the corporate scenes inspire the need for authentic leadership. Authentic leadership is expected to bring new leadership styles that are based on moral values, professional ethics, and authenticity.

 

Reference

Avolio, B., et al., (2004). Unlocking the Mask: A Look at the Process by which Authentic   Leaders Impact Follower Attitudes and Behaviors. The Leadership Quarterly, (15),    801–823.

Cooper, C., Scandura, T. A., & Schriesheim, C. A. (2005). Looking Forward but Learning   from our Past: Potential Challenges to Developing Authentic Leadership Theory and            Authentic Leaders. The Leadership Quarterly. 34(23), 132-154.

Dweck, C., (2000). Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and   Development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Gardner, W., Avolio, B., Luthans, F., May, D. & Walumbwa, F., (2005). Can you see the    Real me? A self-based model of authentic leader and follower development. The         Leadership Quarterly, 16, 343–372.

George, W., (2003). Authentic Leadership. Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting      Value. New Jersey: Jossey-Bass.

Ilies, R., Morgenson, F. & Nahrang, J., (2005). Authentic Leadership and Eudemonic          Well-being: Understanding leader-follower outcomes. The Leadership Quarterly, 16,       373-394.

Kark, R., Shamir, B. & Chen, G., (2003). The Two Faces of Transformational           Leadership: Empowerment and dependency. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 246–       255.

Kernis, H., (2003). Toward a Conceptualization of Optimal Self-esteem. Psychological        Inquiry, 14, 1–26.

Manning, D., (2009). Auto/ethnography: A Journey of Self Indulgence. Unpublished Thesis. Monash University [Online] Available from <http://www.aare.edu.au/07pap/         man07419.pdf> [Accessed: 11 April 2013].

May, D. R., Chan, A. Y. L., Hodges, T. D., & Avolio, B. J., (2003). Developing the             Moral Component of Authentic Leadership. Organizational Dynamics, 32, 247–260.

Silvia, P. J., & Duval, T. S., (2001). Objective self-awareness theory: Recent progress and    Enduring Problems. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12(5), 230–241.

Sparrowe, R. T., (2005). Authentic Leadership and the Narrative Self. The Leadership         Quarterly, 32(6), 231-306.

Walumba, O., Avolio, B., Gardner, W., Wernsing, T. & Petersen, S., (2008). Authentic        Leadership: Development and Validation of a Theory-Based Measure. Journal of Management, 34(1), February: 89-126.

Wernsing, T., (2008). Authentic Leadership Development. IE Business School [Online]         Available from <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2oDr0GiwoY&gt; [12 April 2013].

Yukl, G., (2002). Leadership in Organizations. Upper Saddle Creek: Prentice-          Hall.

Does Cultural Intelligence make today’s manager truly global and effective?

June 27, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Cultural Intelligence make today’s manager truly global and effective?

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Introduction

In the current business environment, cultural intelligence is a reality. One of the issues that are most frequently talked about is the ability by managers to adapt to diverse cultures. In the global workplace of the twenty first century, individuals must be sensitive to cultural differences. They must also be able to interact in the right way with people from diverse cultures. Regardless of whether one works in his home country or abroad, there is a need for cultural intelligence.

Today, many companies are faced with the need to send some of their workforce to emerging economies where they have recently opened shop. Such employees suddenly start operating in an environment where they are not conversant with local culture. This phenomenon is common among Western companies that send expatriates to subsidiaries in emerging economies. The trend is also common among Chinese, Russian, and Indian companies that are expanding their operations in Europe and the US.

            Joo-Seng (2004) defines cultural intelligence as the ability by an individual to adapt successfully to unfamiliar settings attributed to cultural context. The aim of this report is to determine whether cultural intelligence makes today’s manager truly global and effective. The main body of this report focuses on literature review and analysis of various scholarly articles.

The objective of undertaking this review is to examine what different authors think about the ability by cultural intelligence to make today’s managers truly global and effective. The articles are critiqued on the basis of different issues, including trends in management theory, time factors, and the kind of evidence relied upon in deriving conclusions. Practical implications are evaluated to determine if managers can rely on this information.

Literature review and analysis

There is abundant literature on the subject of cultural intelligence. In this literature, expatriate executives are said to face serious culture-related challenges (Leung, Bhagat, Erez & Gibson, 2005). These challenges are common particularly for expatriate managers from Western countries who are forced by circumstances to work in these emerging economies. Some of these managers mistakenly think that the challenges that brought about success in the western countries will automatically bring success in the emerging economies (Financial Times). In these economies, the expatriates must operate within a new culture (Financial Times). Many Chinese companies going abroad today continue to face similar challenges (Selmer & Lam, 2004). Some of these companies end up hiring and training employees within their host countries. However, in most cases, the companies lack an appropriate business strategy within which such a solution can be provided.

These cultural challenges have led to the emergence of the concept of cultural intelligence. According to Joo-Seng (2004), cultural intelligence is a crucial concept in today’s global economy. It addresses the various ways in which individuals are able to adapt effectively in different cultural contexts. The notion of cultural intelligence is used to explain differences in the ability by different people to face the challenges posed by cross-cultural contexts (Earley & Mosakowski, 2004). In simple terms, cultural intelligence enables individuals to deal with people and situations in the context of unfamiliar surroundings.

Many scholars have carried out research on the subject of cultural intelligence. For instance, Joo-Seng (2004) has researched extensively on the meaning of cultural intelligence and its relevance for managers in today’s global economy. Joo-Seng highlights three parts that constitute cultural intelligence: cultural strategic thinking, motivational thinking, and behavioral thinking. In cultural strategic thinking, people think and solve their problems in particular ways. In motivational thinking, people feel energized in a way that enables them to persistently follow up on their actions. In behavioral thinking, people tend to respond to new cultural contexts by acting in certain ways.

            Through cultural strategic thinking, individuals use general thinking skills to understand how and why individuals in a certain cultural behave in a certain manner. An individual understands not only what the people value but also the routines and procedures that they are required to use in their actions and work. Most of the information that Joo-Seng (2004) relies on in his analysis is derived from scholarly work, particularly in the form of contributions from other researchers. For instance, Joo-Seng (2004) takes note of the fact that psychologists view cultural strategic thinking as higher-order thinking.

For managers to succeed in working productively in cross-cultural settings, they need to be motivated. Joo-Seng (2004) gives the example of a Korean manager who faced serious challenges while working with a multinational team. The manager noted that the Korean employees did not want to listen to him. They even tended to change the topic after he had spoken. The manager said that this continued for about two months. After going through this unpleasant experience, the manager had to give up trying to communicate with the Korean employees (Joo-Seng, 2004). According to Joo-Seng (2004), this manager understood what was going on but lacked the motivation to continue trying to deal with the challenging cultural situation. Low motivation and lack of confidence in his communication skills influenced him to eventually disengage from his team. In light of this experience, Joo-Seng (2004) concludes that cultural intelligence mean both “knowing” and “trying”.

According to Triandis (2006), one of the main characteristics of many organizations of the twenty first century is that they are multicultural. Triandis (2006) says that it is common for a product to be designed in one country only to be produced in about ten other countries. Moreover, marketing for the same product may end up taking place in more than one hundred countries (Triandis, 2006). However, Triandis (2006) does not provide the source of his information. Nevertheless, this illustration provides an idea of the cultural differences that characterize today’s business environments. These differences take many forms, including ethnicity, language, politics, religion, and social class.

In Triandis’ (2006) view, every culturally intelligent individual should be able to suspend judgment until he gets access to additional information instead of relying only on the person’s ethnicity. Moreover, such an individual should assess the current behavior and compare it with the individual’s past behavior. The situation in which the behavior is exhibited also plays a critical role for all culturally intelligent people.

Culturally intelligent managers are able to tolerate different organizational attributes. For example, it takes cultural intelligence for a manager to realize that some organizations such as mass production facilities and the military require behavior that matches up with exact standards, hence the tendency to adopt collectivist attributes (Van Meurs, 2007). In contrast, in research institutes, voluntary organizations, and academia, individualistic attributes are normally adopted because of the nature of activities carried out in those institutions (Van Meurs, 2007). Triandis (2006) concludes by asserting that cultural intelligence is extremely important for managers who want to become effective at the global level. Sometimes, the need for training through the experiential learning approach is required in order to impart in managers the necessary skills relating to cultural intelligence (Triandis, 2006).

However, not all scholars agree that cultural intelligence is indispensable for all managers who want to be truly global and effective. According to Morris (2005), too much focus on cultural differences can make the manager lose sight of his counterpart’s individuality, thereby lessening his effectiveness in the negotiation process. In his research work, Morris’ interest is in understanding the factors that lead to culturally-based thinking. Morris (2006) acknowledges the fact that we live in an era of globalization and cultural diversity. In Morris’ view, culturally-based thinking matters a lot only to the extent that three main factors are at play. These factors include attentional pressures, emotional stressors, and cognitive context.

Imai & Gelfand (2010) also discuss the role of cultural intelligence in the negotiation process. They observe that very few scholars have undertaken research on the predictors of effectiveness of intercultural negotiation. This is despite the tendency by scholars and practitioners to tout the importance of effective cross-cultural communication (Imai & Gelfand, 2010). Imai & Gelfand (2010) coded East Asian and American negotiators for behaviors relating to sequences of cooperative relationship management and integrative information. The findings of this study showed that cultural intelligence is a key predictor of effectiveness in intercultural negotiation (Imai & Gelfand, 2010). This implies that managers endowed with cultural intelligence have greater chances of becoming truly global and effective.

Brett, Behfar, & Kern (2006) also highlighted the difficulties that are often generated by multicultural teams. According to Brett, Behfar, & Kern (2006), cultural differences tend to created obstacles to teamwork effectiveness. One bad thing about these obstacles is that they may be subtle and extremely difficult to identify until too much damage has already occurred. Another major problem is that managers may end up creating more problems than they are able to resolve during the intervention process (Brett, Behfar, & Kern, 2006). The solution suggested by Brett, Behfar, & Kern (2006) fits into the functions of cultural intelligence as described by Joo-Seng (2004). In this solution, Brett, Behfar, & Kern (2006) point out the need for a manager to recognize all the underlying cultural factors that are likely to cause conflict. The manager should address these cultural subtleties in such a way that all the members of the teams are empowered to deal with similar challenges whenever they arise in the future.

Conclusions

            The issue of cultural intelligence has far-reaching practical implications for today’s manager. From the analysis presented in this paper, cultural intelligence enables the manager to survive the initial moments of culture while working in multicultural contexts for the first time. At one time or the other, today’s manager may have to work in a multicultural context. Without cultural intelligence, he will be unable to identify the subtle cultural differences that end up triggering many organizational problems.

            When managers acquire cultural intelligence, they engage in three main mental activities: cultural strategic thinking, motivational thinking, and behavioral thinking (Joo-Seng, 2004). Motivational thinking is of the greatest importance for managers who have to undertake all their activities in multicultural contexts. In many cases, problems will have arisen by the time the manager identifies the cause to be cultural differences. At such a time, the manager needs to be endowed with the power of motivational thinking to be able to gather the courage and confidence needed to understand all the cultural differences. In conclusion, cultural intelligence makes today’s manager truly global and effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Brett, J., Behfar, K., & Kern, M. (2006). Managing Multicultural Teams. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 84, No. 11, pp. 84-91.

Earley, C. & Mosakowski, E. (2004). Cultural Intelligence. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 73, No. 6, pp. 102-147.

Financial Times (2013). Is there such a thing as cultural intelligence? 11 March 2013.

Imai, L. & Gelfand, M. (2010). The culturally intelligent negotiator: The impact of cultural intelligence (CQ) on negotiation sequences and outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 112, No. 3, pp. 83–98.

Joo-Seng, T. (2004). Cultural Intelligence and the Global Economy. LIA, Vol. 24, No. 5, pp. 19-21.

Leung, K., Bhagat, N., Erez, B. & Gibson, C. (2005). Culture and international business: Recent advances and their implications for future research. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 357-378.

Morris, M. (2005). When culture counts and when it doesn’t. Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Boston.

Selmer, J. & Lam, H. (2004). Third Culture Kids: Future Business Expatriates? Personnel Review, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 430-445.

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Ethical issues in Electronic Commerce: Focus on Privacy

June 20, 2013

Ethical issues in Electronic Commerce: Focus on Privacy

Introduction

According to Irtaimeh and Al-Hawary (2011), e-commerce is a revolutionary addition to the strategic imperatives in the modern-day marketplace. Industries have found it necessary to employ this strategy in gaining a competitive edge. Ultimately, the manner in which e-commerce is applied determined the competitiveness of the firms. It is expected that e-commerce will become an integral part of the global market place. As a result, Zainul, et al. (2004) proposed that it is apparent that the use of IT has metamorphosed the manner in which businesses emerge, operate and compete. These elements of e-commerce have a multiplicity of effects on the long-standing social and cultural relationships in business. The shift in the primary set up of business necessitates careful consideration of ethical aspects. This study is directed towards identifying what ethical concerns are pertinent to privacy in the process of carrying out electronic commerce.

Problem Statement

Cheng et al (2011) indicated that ethics are an integral part of the establishment and sustenance of the long-term consumer-suppler relationship. Both the transaction-process and transaction-systems propagate a foundation for ethical concerns in the business place. The apparent differences between e-commerce and traditional shopping exist in the tangibility of the parties to the business. E-commerce presents a novel environment for ethical conduct, especially for the individuals who are not well-versed with the implications. Numerous studies have tied customer loyalty to the manner in which sales persons and customer care agents handle their clients. In the absence of any specific research on e-commerce, through deductive reason, it is reasonable to associated unethical conduct in e-commerce with low adoption rates among consumers.

In spite of all the efficiency and effectiveness originating from the use of e-commerce, privacy still remains a major issue among the many setbacks. Absolute privacy is impossible when interfacing trade through the internet. As a result, the trade-off between privacy and the efficiency of the platform is what users have to establish in order to ensure that they draw maximum benefits. However, the existing approaches to upholding the desired levels of privacy are sometimes out of reach of the regular shoppers, thereby making it necessary to assign responsibilities for ensuring that privacy rights are not infringed upon.

Background of the Research

Numerous studies have focused on the ethical issues relating to e-commerce. Most of the researchers focus on a converging array of factors including reliability (Nardal and Sahin, 2011), privacy (Nardal and Sahin, 2011 and Cheng, et al, 2011) and security (Peslak, 2006). Nardal and Sahin (2011) indicated that the rapid absorption and adoption of e-commerce propagated immeasurable opportunities and challenges for the economic efficiency of entities and value creation for customers. Kaapu and Tiainen (2009) observed that the growing preference for e-commerce among consumers is commensurate to the concerns relating to ethical factors. Ethics are associated with the acceptable and recognized modes of operation, conduct and relationships between individuals and persons in the same environment. The multiplicity of differences between individuals and the persons enhances the challenges in establishment of common grounds, thereby amplifying the chances of discontent and unrealized expectations.

Trends in e-commerce

Irtaimeh and Al-Hawary (2011) noted that the expansion of the market place from local to global standards plays an imperative and significant role. The speed and reliability of the internet has made it possible for suppliers and consumers to avert the time, distance and form barriers to satisfaction of human needs. The delivery of differentiated value to consumer through the combination of processes and systems tied to the core elements of business is the main source of the convenience. As individuals move to enhance the processes and systems, it is important to recognize the need for organization, standardization and stabilization of the benefits across the e-commerce life cycle.

E-commerce has continuously played a central role business to business transactions, business to customer relationships and emergence of organizations. In a nutshell, the increased consumption of IT in business has made it imperative for harmonization of expectations and outcomes. Odu (2001) indicated that ever IT “user has concerns and needs answers to several questions including: access to and use of personal information; the rights of Internet users; laws that protect those rights; unauthorized access to e-mails and the possibility of sending e-mails mistakenly to unintended persons.”

Ethical Issues in E-commerce

According to Cheng, et al (2011), “According to some studies of EC ethics, the most often mentioned ethical issues are privacy, security, fraud, access, intellectual property, unsolicited e-mail, trustfulness, targeting children, false advertising, pornography, product warranty, plagiarism, cyber-squatters, and judgment by same standard as other media”. Ethics provides the foundation for success in business. Although it ranks as an auxiliary aspect, it is necessary for every organization to maintain ethical standards in order to achieve the mainstream objectives. As a market-wide strategic imperative, it is the role of every organization to propel the popularity and reliability of e-commerce as an important part of the modern-day strategies.

Issues related to privacy are most prominent when it comes to e-commerce. Studies by Ackerman, Cranor, and Reagle, (1999), revealed that such fears have become amplified over the past. Westein (1998) established that over 80% of individuals using the internet were concerned about their privacy. Although the internet users have different conceptualizations regarding safety, it is important to appreciate the fact that web-based transactions are slightly different from the brick-and-mortar set up.

Research Questions

The primary research question for this project entails establishment of the privacy concerns with regard to e-commerce. Specifically, the research question is: ‘What aspects of privacy influence the strategic imperativeness of e-commerce in the modern day business?’ The pertinent research questions for this research include the following.

  • What are the factors that contribute to infringement of privacy rights in e-commerce?

  • Who is responsible for preventing this infringement among all the parties to e-commerce?

  • Can parties to e-commerce relate without infringing on privacy rights?

Research Objectives

The research objectives identify the purpose of the research. In this project, the applicable objectives include the following.

  • Identify the factors that contribute to infringement of privacy rights in e-commerce transactions

  • Identify ways through which the infringement can be eliminated

  • Identify the roles of parties to e-commerce in reducing infringement on privacy.

Literature Review

Overview

This assertion is clearly represented by the prominence of e-commerce across the global jurisdiction where strict laws regarding usage of the internet exist. In addition, the prevalence of collapse of e-commerce ventures is lower nowadays, compared to when the strategy first came into operation. Although this may be due to the effects of the learning curve, e-commerce businesses have benefited from the existence of a considerable code of conduct, backed by legal provisions in some jurisdictions (Cheng et al, 2011). Velanzuela et al (2010) affirmed this assertion by indicating that the perception of the consumers regarding the ethical nature of an organization is crucial to the emergence of a strong relationship between the buyer and the seller.

Privacy in e-commerce

In the simplest sense, privacy entails the right to be left alone coupled with the freedom from intrusion into the personal space. Smith and Shao (2007) observed that the aspect of reasonable freedom from such interference becomes most pronounced with regard to e-commerce. The use of IT to access information about clients, attract such clients and present information in the name of advertising has become important (Ackerman, Cranor and Reagle, 1999). As a primary avenue towards determining what denotes value to the client, it is important for entities involved in e-commerce to collect information about their client. In most cases, collection of such information is done in a viral manner. Viral information sources make it impossible for direct contact with the ultimate consumer, thereby blurring the line between reasonable and unreasonable intrusions.

However, privacy is not just a concern exclusive to e-commerce. Ackerman, Cranor and Reagle (1999) indicated that it is virtually impossible for a buyer to interact with a seller without revealing personal information, even in the traditional system. However, certain aspects of IT make it highly likely that the information will be stored, retrieved and used, making buyers wary of revealing their shipping information, or even browsing online.

Privacy issues are common especially with regard to access to web content, considering that most websites use cookies and online registration. Although terms and conditions are normally attached, it is impossible to rule out the misuse of such information for personal gain. Other illegal approaches include the use of spyware to collect information about clients

Leitch and Warren (2001) pointed out the case where an individual instituted legal proceedings against an advertisement firm for alleged use of private information. The advertising firm, DoubleClick, was accused of illegal access to consumer information. The access to information was done in a bid to attract and retain customers. The ethical concerns arise out of the need to establish acceptable ways of accessing information about potential clients, even in the steepening competitive stance in the market.

Novel technologies have created a path way for unprecedented privacy, while exposing the same individuals to unparalleled infringements in privacy. Although advances in technology are amorphous in nature, efforts to attain access to information deemed private seem to grow at a higher rate (Smith and Shao, 2007).

Cookies, Spamming and Clickstreams and Privacy

Intrusions into private space include spamming, Clickstreams and cookies, most which are regular aspects when using the internet. The use of cookies makes it possible for subsequent user to access information about elementary aspects of the reasons why the previous users were utilizing the internet. This information can be combed to provide profiles about consumers’, health status and even online preferences as observed by Cranor (2003).

Geo-Location Systems and Privacy

Udo (2001) postulated that the invention of geo-location systems amplifies the set of ethical aspects associated with e-commerce. Geo-locating applications use personal information sourced from the internet to pinpoint the geographical location where the individuals is. According to Ackerman and Davis (2006), depending on the type of information used, it is possible to establish the socio-economic status of the individuals and assign preferences and lifestyles. As a result, for competitive advantage purposes, such applications are beneficial. However, access to such information presents large scale security risk to the range of clients. Although businesses may collect such information for perfectly legal reasons, it is impossible to assure safety of identities of the individuals.

Privacy and Intellectual Property 18336125036

Management of intellectual property presents challenges due to intangibility of the human mind (Chapter 7, 2008). Protection is mostly accorded through patents and copyrights (Smith and Shao, 2007). In some instances, registration of the relevant trade and service marks makes it possible for protection to be accorded. The existence of intellectual property is attains tangibility in the traditional business approaches, since the owners of the property had the opportunity to meet and control access to such elements. In the advent of e-commerce, it is highly challenging to differentiate between deceptive operational standards, malicious advertisements, defamatory posts and the unauthorized use of web content.

The existence of automatic copyright laws for every webpage is sufficient protection for owners in the US (Zainul, et al. 2004). Any unauthorized use of graphics, words or tags on the page is prohibited. However, there exist differences in the manner and strictness of the protection across the states and the global consumers of such content. As a result, it becomes challenging for action across jurisdictions which have different provisions. The extent to which copyright infringement is defined also becomes an issue when it comes to e-commerce. The fact that there is no alternative form of contact for the individuals conducting business implies that a huge compromise has to made, thereby legalizing some form of infringement.

The existence of intellectual property in electronic form presents challenges in the form of hackers who prey on such information. Hackers sometimes pose as the authentic sellers of such information through ‘phising’, thereby stealing information from unsuspecting individuals and compromising the availability of such information. Customers who are subject to such

Privacy and Consumer Protection

Protection of consumers on the electronic market place is an important step in enhancing the reliability of this strategy. Consumers are keen on getting value for their money. Integrity and authenticity of information and products exchanged in this market are the foundation for protecting consumers. Contemporary organizations have adopted IT as an integral and core aspect of their business place. As a result, the synergistic outcome of the interaction must be positive in order to avoid security concerns for any of the consumers.

The most prominent ethical aspects are unsolicited marketing and delivery of related information through electronic means (Cranor, 2003). Consumers are keen on determining what kind of information to receive from marketers and sellers. If the information received varies from expectations, there is a high possibility that their preference for e-commerce will wane. It is for this reason that consumers rarely provide intrinsic details to the marketers. Such information can be used to determine preferences and lifestyles. Predictions about habits and conduct can be used to draw incorrect assumptions about themselves (Cavoukian, 1998).

Protection of consumers in the online platform presents numerous challenges. The fact that e-commerce involved economic activity through electronic interaction across organizations makes it important for all stakeholders to recognize the technical, perceptual, societal and legal issues, all which border on ethics. Consumer protection spans across all dimensions of e-commerce issues. It is for this reason that most organizations have found it necessary to develop products to mask their identity online, identify the risky websites and encrypt certain information (Udo, 2001).

Measures to Curb Infringement on Privacy

Technological advancements have made the e-commerce environments highly interactive, thereby elevating the catalogue of concerns (Spiekermann, Grossklags and Berendt, 2001). The highly-valuable data available from consumers remains a marketers’ mine field. The existence of boundaries in access and usage makes it possible for protection of both the consumers and seller, who sometimes fall in the hands of crafty buyers. The only reliable approach to protection of all parties is to ensure sufficiency of legal provisions, technical standards and self regulation.

Privacy Laws

Legal processes are slow in effect, while the effectiveness of decisions in the technological cycle is prime in terms of months. As a result, most individuals will only resort to the law after all other channels are exhausted. Legal provisions are also not conclusive and all inclusive. Differences in these laws across countries and regions make it impossible for unity of purpose and speedy execution of decisions.

Kalinauskaite (2012) stated “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” The application of this in e-commerce makes it possible to found legal proceeding for individuals who are victims of privacy infringement. However, some jurisdictions are not keen on human rights and lack specific provisions to deal with such infringements. Socio-economic and cultural differences make it impossible for blanked application of the laws as well. Consequently, such laws are only applied in certain regions such as the US and EU, where strict application has been performed in the past.

Self-regulation

Self-regulation becomes challenging due to the fact privacy statements and other seals are not upheld by both buyers and sellers. A number of organizations seek competitive advantage through these self-regulation measures since they are able to attract and retain consumers. However, it is impossible to enforce self-regulation across the range of e-commerce provides, since it is more intrinsic than extrinsic (Spiekermann, Grossklags and Berendt, 2001). Self-regulation and voluntary agreements have similar approaches to ensuring privacy. However, voluntary agreements are large scale as compared to self-regulation. The fact that a number of providers decide to abide by a certain code of operation voluntarily provides consumers with a higher level of satisfaction, compared to when a single provider comes out (Kutscher, 2002).

Technical Standards

According to Cavoukian (1998), technical standards have provides sufficient protection from infringement on privacy. However, technical standards are only applied to a certain extent, and by individuals who are well aware of the technical aspects of internet usage. Most individuals using online facilities are not computer experts and cannot measure up to the technical prowess of hackers and developers of malware and spyware (Spiekermann, Grossklags and Berendt, 2001). As a result, these individuals exist at the mercy of these individuals. Technical standards are thus relegated to the providers of e-commerce services. Through establishment of secure websites, fool-proof payment portals and data security makes it possible for consumers to shop without fear of losing such data to the wrong individuals. The use of technical standards can be achieved through the use of encryption, digital signatures and secure transmission. Protection of privacy infringements through a multiplicity of approaches makes it possible for buyer confidence to develop over time. In most cases, legal provisions backed by any other method provide the most reliable protection (Cavoukian, 1998).

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework identifies the ethical factors associated with e-commerce with focus on privacy. The actions of sellers, buyers, developers of e-commerce systems and third parties determine the extent to which privacy issues arise. The actions of these individuals range from voluntary sharing of information to illegal access to data about clients. The conceptual framework is indicated here under.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaps in Knowledge

Most of the studies reviewed relate to the manner in which to enhance privacy by identifying the risks and sources of the risks. Spiekermann, Grossklags and Berendt (2001) focus on the work of hackers, Zainul, et al. 2004 focused on the existence of laws while Cheng et al (2011) directed their research on the existence of relationships between buyers and sellers. Other researchers have directed focus on the reason why privacy issues. However, none of the studies have identified the role of the buyers on buyers in infringement of privacy rights. The actions of buyers, intention or spontaneous sometimes provide persons will ill intentions with a gate way into their lives. Such actions could be on e-commerce portals, social networks on the World Wide Web.

Conclusion

E-commerce is a revolutionary strategy in the modern day business place. Its application is prime for all industries, albeit to differing magnitudes. The ability of buyers to access information about products from the comfort of their houses makes it possible to enhance the reliability of the supply chain and value creation efforts for all the customers. The effectiveness and efficiency of this platform is not without challenges, most of which exist in ethical dimensions. Privacy surfaces as one of the most common form of concerns for all users of e-commerce. The unauthorized access has ethical and legal implications, thereby making it necessary to address such challenges across jurisdictions. The difference in ethical and legal standards makes it necessary to establish harmonized solutions in order to promote acceptability of the platform in the global market place. This study aims at identifying the ethical issues associated with privacy in e-commerce. The study seeks to establish responsibilities and approaches to ensuring a tradeoff between efficiency and effectiveness.

References List

Ackerman, M. S., and Davis, D. T. 2006. Privacy and Security Issues in E-Commerce. Available at http://econ.ucsb.edu/~doug/245a/Papers/ECommerce%20Privacy.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Ackerman, M. S., Cranor, L. F., and Reagle, J. 1999. Privacy in E-commerce: Examining User Scenarios and Privacy References. ACM Conference in Electronic Commerce.

Cavoukian, A. 1998. Privacy: The key to Electronic Commerce.

Chapter 7, 2008. The environment of Electronic Commerce: Legal, Ethical, and Tax Issues. Available at http://elle.baxpace.com/E-Commerce/eCommerce%20e- Book/08_eC_Chapter7.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Cheng, H. F. et al. 2011. Ethics in Electronic Commerce: An exploration of its Consequences. African Journal of Business Management Vol 5 (11)

Christopher, B. 2011. Disclosive Ethics and Embryonic Developments in E-Gambling Commerce. Available at http://is2.lse.ac.uk/asp/aspecis/20110050.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Cranor, L. F. 2003. ‘I didn’t buy it for myself’ Privacy and Ecommerce Personalization. Available at http://lorrie.cranor.org/pubs/wpes03.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Irtaimeh, H. J., and Al-Hawary, S. S. 2011. E-Business: Crimes & Ethics. International Bulletin of Business Administration. Available at http://www.eurojournals.com/IBBA_12_03.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Kaapu, T., and Tiainen, T. 2009. Consumer’s View on Privacy in E-commerce. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems. Vol 21 (1).

Kalinauskaite, A. E. 2012. Commerce and privacy in the EU and the USA. Available at http://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/001/892/218/RUG01-001892218_2012_0001_AC.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Kutscher, B. 2002. Self-regulation of E-Commerce in Europe-Time to Think Small. Available at http://www.estig.ipbeja.pt/~ac_direito/Timetothinksmall.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Laudon, K. C and Traver, C. G. 2006. E-Commerce Business, Technology and Society. Available at http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/amirza/hi539/Shared%20Documents/All%20Presentations%20of %20Book/Laudon_Traver_3E_Chapter9_Final.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Leitch, S., and Warren, M. 2001. Ethics and Electronic Commerce. Available at http://crpit.com/confpapers/CRPITV1Leitch.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Nardal, S. and A. Sahin, 2011. Ethical issues in e-commerce on the basis of online retailing. Journal of Social Science. Vol 7 (2):

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Peslak A. R 2006. Papa revisited: A current empirical study of the mason framework. Journal of Computing Information Systems, 46(3)

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Sison, A. J., Fontrodona, J. 2005. Ethical Aspects of E-Commerce: Data Subjects and Content. Working paper

Smith, R., and Shao, J. 2007. Privacy and E-Commerce: A consumer Centric Perspective. Available at http://www.its.ohiou.edu/bernt/ITS351/privacy%20and%20ecommerce.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Spiekermann, S., Grossklags, J., and Berendt, B. 2001. E-Privacy in 2nd Generation E- Commerce: Privacy Preferences versus Actual behavior. Available at http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~jensg/research/paper/grossklags_e-Privacy.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

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Udo, G. J., 2001. Privacy and Security Concerns as Major Barriers for E-commerce: A survey Study. Available at http://tx.liberal.ntu.edu.tw/SilverJay/Literature/!Privacy/Privacy%20and%20security%20 concerns%20as%20major%20barriers%20for.pdf [Accessed 26 January 2013]

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MEDIA CONGLOMERATION

June 20, 2013

Is Media Conglomeration a Problem?

Author’s Name

Institutional Affiliation

Media Conglomeration

      Media conglomeration continues being a contentious subject in the media industry. Several scholars have asserted that, the utmost danger to continued freedom of expression is the likelihood that, private entrepreneurs would always endeavor to control the open market of ideas under the guise of economic efficiency. Due to economic state of affairs, access to this open market of ideas is limited to a privileged few (Shah, 2009). Besides ownership, conglomeration of the mass media industry, provision of content, packaging and distribution of the communicated messages, have also developed into a homogeneous production and marketing process. It follows that, the communicated messages are controlled in quantity and quality, in order to fulfill the processes’ economic imperatives. The repercussion of this is that, what the majority people hear and watch in the mass media, is extremely standardized in relation to content and opinion. In the global scenario, a number of governments can increasingly endeavor to manipulate and control the media (Hollensen, 2009). Additionally, powerful conglomerates also have significant influence on the conventional media. This paper posits to explore whether media conglomeration is by itself a problem in a free society.

It is evident that, in several places, leading multinational corporations control media stations, as well as outlets. Usually, the majority of media institutions exist on advertising revenues, which may cause the media outlet to be manipulated by diverse corporate interests (Bagdikian, 2009). On several instances, the ownership interests of the media station might influence the content that should or should not be covered. This means that, the content may end up being subjective or omitted, in order not to contravene the interests of the owners, or even the advertisers. The capacity for the citizenry to make informed judgments is critical for a free and working democracy, except that it may become threatened by such conglomeration of the media (Shah, 2009). The concept of corporate rate media per se, might not be a detrimental factor to a free society, since it can cultivate healthy competition, and present checks and balances against governments. On the other hand, the concern develops when there is a conglomeration of media ownership that is attributable to the risk of increased political and economic power, which can be unaccountable.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Media Conglomeration

      The issue of media conglomeration is viewed differently from an economic and political standpoint. In this background, the mass media industry is perceived to play a considerable role in legitimizing inequity in privileges, affluence, and power. When the management of the flow of images, information, and values is controlled by persons who share the influence of the dominant class, the governing class will determine what should be circulated by the mass media, with the intention of reproducing the structure of class inequity, from which they profit. The media industry is critical for the production of trustworthy information, ideologies, as well as propaganda in present-day societies (Rozell, 2010). Political economists view the correlation between control and ownership, as a circumlocutory and mediated relationship, where control is not constantly implemented in a direct approach, nor does the economic framework of media institutions constantly have a direct influence on their output. Conventional communication researchers disapprove of the media conspiracy theories, on hypothetical and on pragmatic grounds by alleging that, political economists’ opinions are sustained only by anecdotal proof (Graber, 2009).

According to Daniel (2010), the universal postulation is that the media owners influence the content and structure of media content, by means of their decisions to engage subjective personnel, through funding unique projects, and through granting a media platform to be utilized by ideological factions. It is evident that, the mainstream media supports the fundamental tenets of capitalism such as private enterprise, the open market, profit, as well as the right to own property. In the U.S, several media observers, as well as scholars argue that, a small cluster of powerful owners of media conglomerates, have power over what the populace reads, watches, and hears, or cannot access in terms of information. Bagdikian (2009) expresses concern over the increasing corporate control over the flow of information, as well as how democracy can operate if the information that the populace relies on, is tainted by the control of mega-media. On the whole, the implications of media conglomeration on an international scale involve the global interlock between the conventional corporate power, and the media industry that generates a powerful cartel, which consequently supports the spread of values such as shareholder value, or consumerism. This generates powerful incentives for the dislodgment of the public sphere with trivialized news casts, commercial entertainment, and reality, which support a conservative view of the world, which erodes local cultures and values.

The Case Against Media Conglomeration

      International conglomerates may on occasion have a progressive influence on culture, mainly when they venture into countries that had previously been subjected to corrupt media systems. It is also the case when they venture into countries that had previously experienced considerable state suppression of mass media. The international private media industry is radical, since it will not respect any tradition or institution, if it stands to jeopardize its profits (Murray, 2008). On the other hand, it is usually politically conservative, since the media conglomerates are important beneficiaries of the existing social structure around the globe. This implies that, any disturbance in social or property relations, principally to the degree that it lessens the power of business, is contrary to their interest. It is helpful to consider that, free expression is in jeopardy not just deliberately by authoritarian regimes, and all entities in the private sector who are alarmed over public exposure, but also by international media conglomerates that have constantly lessened meaningful diversity in expression all over the globe (Doyle, 2009).

Taking into considering the vital role that a liberated and diverse media plays in a functional democracy, lessening meaningful diversity in expression raises profound concerns. Consequently, there is the risk of lessened diversity of issues and viewpoints as well as unwarranted political influence from the ruling elite. This means that, since the majority of citizens derive their opinions and understandings of the issues around them from the conventional media, it is therefore important to understand these underlying concerns. As a result of the increasing power of the media conglomerates over public opinion, there is modest substantive reporting of the extravagant media deals in relation to the apparent consequences of these deals. Usually, reporters are directly affected by diverse issues, but they do not report their individual concerns, possibly as a result of internal pressure (Altschull, 2008).

The media owners are only eager to advertise the merits of, vertical, diagonal, horizontal, and global conglomeration. State agencies underplay the prospective risks and threats that are attributable to the conglomeration of media principally for the public sphere and for that sustenance of democracy. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), was at one time of the opinion that, diversification in programming was essential in maximizing public service. It alleged that the larger the number of autonomous broadcasters, the bigger the probability for realizing the requisite diversity (State of the News Media, 2010). Regulations that restricted common ownership of media stations, and the amalgamation and of broadcast stations with other media platforms were implemented. The FCC recently considered the abolition of regulations that barred proprietorship of a daily newspaper and a T.V station in the same market and reviewed regulations that restrain the reach of cable T.V corporations. In this deregulatory environment, public broadcasting has also resorted to the market. In current times, public television in the U.S, an allegedly non-commercial structure, has become gradually more incorporated into the profit-making broadcasting business, developing innovative market-oriented commerce practices that put emphasis on brand identity across a diversity of product lines (Murray, 2008). On the other hand, these strategies are generating a public television that is failing in its characteristic public service identity, as it develops into another brand in the market that is competing for clientele attention in a chaotic profit-making market (Shah, 2009).

These leading media conglomerates are usually interested in increased joint business enterprises and strategic alliances than healthy competition that serves the public interests. Taking into consideration the modest number of leading media players, there is increasingly modest competition in this industry. This is in view of the fact that, the dominant media conglomerates employ an extensive diversity of strategies in reducing the limited competition that is non-existent. Eventually, the debate concerning media proprietorship draws attention to profound concerns in regard to the international media system. If public interest is described in terms of the contribution to a dynamic public sphere and the endorsement of citizenship, then the development of conglomerates in media industry raises significant concerns. This is in relation to the question whether media conglomerates perceive the populace as a community of citizens that expect service, or as a cluster of clients. The growth of international media conglomerates raises new challenges concerning promotion of political and cultural democracy (State of the News Media, 2010).

Conclusion

             It is imperative to appreciate the necessity to develop a structure for effectively evaluation. This is in regard to the scale to which the conglomerate-subjugated media industry is relevant to the public interest. In view of the case against media conglomerates highlighted in this paper, there is need to investigate the causes and outcomes of conglomeration. This should be done with the intention to uphold and fortify public service media, and invigorate the work of generating an international media system that nurtures citizenship and enhances public life. Additional research is required to evaluate political consequences and different approaches, where the media can become increasingly answerable to all the mediating civil society institutions. This would introduce reforms in the corporate media industry towards an independent media, which would fortify the public media system to protect democracy, as well as, the public interest. It should be noted that democracy has modest content when conglomerates govern the public airwaves through, the press, propaganda as well as communication.

References

Altschull, J. (2008). The Role of the News Media in Human Affairs. New York: Longman.

Bagdikian, B. (2009). The Media Monopoly (7th ed). Boston: Beacon Press.

Daniel, H. (2010). Media Performance: Mass Media & the Public Interest. Berkshire: McGraw- Hill.

Doyle, G. (2009). Media Ownership. London: SAGE Publications.

Graber, D. (2009). Media Power in Politics. Beverly Hills: Sage.

Hollensen, S. (2009). Marketing Management: Relationship Approach. New Jersey: Prentice      Hall.

Murray, M. (2008). Mass Communication Education (3rd ed). New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Rozell, J.M. (2010). Media Power & Media Politics. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield    Publishers.

Shah, A. (2009). Media Conglomerates, Mergers, Concentration of Ownership. Retrieved March          21, 2013, from

http://www.globalissues.org/article/159/media-conglomerates-mergers-concentration-of-            ownership

State of the News Media. (2010). Annual Report on American Journalism. Retrieved March      21, 2013, from             http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.com/2007/narrative_overview_publicattitudes.

Magazines_impact_on_young_girl_teenagers

June 20, 2013

One of the most widely read periodicals, after beauty and lifestyle publications are car and bike magazines. One such periodical is the “Motor Trend” automobile magazine which showcases some of the latest, best and sometimes worst of automobiles, from cars and trucks to bikes and vehicles of every type. The magazine’s typical readers are male, car enthusiasts. Age is generally not a factor when it comes to automobiles and hence this magazine seeks to acquire readership in all age groups ranging from preteens to middle-aged men. However, since the target of the magazine is to boost sales of the cars advertised, it attempts to gain the attention of working professionals in the ages between 20 and 50. The magazine appeals primarily to those interested in the latest events in the world of motor vehicles, people looking to buy or sell automobiles, automobile dealers, car expos organizers, and those working in the fields of car technology and innovation, among others. The target demographic was easy to determine based on the contents of the magazine, including articles, graphics and advertisements. The glossy, bright finish of the pictures, the bold fonts and text and the language employed reveal that the magazine is designed to appeal to the typical male. There are reviews of just released, old and upcoming cars, road tests and specifications of a myriad of automobiles and ads featuring cars, car dealers and car part suppliers, all focusing their attention on capturing the male market of car enthusiasts.

The internet has allowed people to gain access to information simply through the click of a button. It provides users with a source of entertainment and information, two of the major purposes served by magazines. Although it would seem that the internet would slowly replace magazines and the latter’s readership would decline steadily (as statistics would suggest), the truth remains that magazines still maintain the highest penetration rate and are still the most widely read source for infotainment. Perhaps it is owing to the satisfaction of holding something tangible or the fact that greater credibility is assigned to print rather than online articles, magazines continue to hold their place in the market. Many magazines such as “Motor Trend”, in order to retain their readers and to capture even the ardent internet buffs are venturing into the online space and have magazine websites along with the print version. The increased ability to interact and greater navigability ease allows these to be more popular with the younger crowds, but at the same time also drives users to buy the print magazine. Nevertheless, to survive and expand in the age of the internet, magazines must continually innovate and ideate new ways to keep the readers interested.
In a bid to increase advertising revenues and get more brands to sign up for promoting their products with them, many magazine websites present unrealistic portrayals of women. The impact is immense, particularly on the way young teenage girls perceive the concept of beauty and themselves. Online teen magazines are some of the most highly visited websites by teenage girls with impressionable minds, compelling them to credulously believe the contents of these sites. Teenage girls are more likely to follow the advice and consider the issues put forth by these online magazines, over and above the words of their parents and peers. Hence, these websites have an enormous responsibility to promote healthy physical, social and emotional development of a woman. The images of skinny models in branded clothing, carrying the most expensive handbags and donning high-priced shoes leaves the impression on a young readers’ mind that that is what they should be like. Instead, these websites should concentrate on allowing the girls to discover their source of happiness and success in life. The content should be such that girls associate success with personal wholesome achievements, rather than outward and superficial looks. Instead of focusing on important details of how a woman should present herself, and the importance of growing up to be an empowered woman, teen magazine websites seem to endorse the attitude that “beauty” is an essential commodity and the usage of cosmetic products is absolutely necessary for a girl to be “beautiful”. While this concept will have an unfortunate influence on any girl’s mentality, the most disastrous effects will be on those who cannot afford these products. Not only will this damage them psychologically, leaving them with low self-esteem and a perpetual feeling of disappointment, and in many cases severe depression, it will also affect their social skills and their ability to interact with the world. Owing to the immense influence of the internet on today’s youth, anything that appears on the internet becomes more influential than if the same words appeared in print. Therefore, magazine websites have a higher responsibility and must take further care to ensure that what they are writing and presenting provides a more realistic and well-rounded view of young womanhood.

 

Modern Media

June 20, 2013

 

 

 

 

Modern Media

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Modern Media

            There are clear signs that today’s young people pay less attention to dailies such as Newspapers. Only one out of five 15-year olds has a broad interest in print media information while as much as 14 percent of those aged between 16 and 24 feel there is too much news on dailies (Underwood, D. 2001).  It has been assumed for a long time that young people more or less automatically develop the need for news and information as they grow older, but this is no longer the case. With the advent of the internet, a lot has changed in the communication and information world. The problem is not that the youth are not seeking news; the problem majorly lies with which medium of communication they are using and the information relayed.

            The world is changing and everything is getting digitized. The declining appetite for newspapers among the youth has to do with fundamental technology changes and culture. Newspapers are seen as backdated methods of looking for information and the internet as the most convenient. The youth are picking up technology fast and for the newspaper agencies to grasp their attention they need to come up with ways that will attract them. Most of the youth feel that the dailies have too much news in them and that they are not involved in the dailies. This automatically makes them reluctant to read them. The newspaper agencies should involve the youth more in their production rather than a lot of business and politics if they really want to get their attention.

            Already several Newspaper companies post their stories on the internet, which has significantly got a massive response from the youth since they can access them from their phones or note pads. The overlying factor here is that the newspaper agencies need to involve young people interest stories into the dailies if they want to get readership. They can take the stories to the internet and even send them to their mail boxes but they will still remain unpopular if the stories posted are not in their interest range.

                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Underwood, D. (2001). Reporting and the Push for Market-Oriented Journalism: Media            Organizations as Businesses. Mediated politics: Communication in the future of        democracy, 99-116

 

 

COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA

June 20, 2013

 

 

 

Communications and media

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Communications and media

Media is a communication channel through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Some examples of media include newspapers, magazines, television, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and the internet. I disagree with the statement that television compared to all other media has had the greatest impact on society. This is because the internet being a channel of the media has become more popular compared to television. Most people rely on online sources of news such as web blogs compared to broadcast media and particularly television. According to Erbring (2000), television has consumed a much bigger part of people’s time than newspapers. However, it is in stiff competition with the internet for time. Many researchers confirm suspicions that internet use comes partly at the expense of television viewing.

Internet in many researches has been defined as a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities. It also consists of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols. The use of the internet has changed the life of many people in several ways. For instance, the internet has facilitated the access to information through e-books and e-journals compared to earlier times where one had to be physically present in a library. It has also created a platform for  entertainment in terms of games, movies chat rooms among other entertainment forums (Erbring, 2000).

The internet has also changed society in different ways. For instance, most people who have internet access are working from their houses. This has had a greater impact in the job market since individuals rely on the internet to deliver their skills. It has also reduced the number of people going to shopping malls as more people are opting for online shopping. This has changed the way people do business across the globe. This is evident through electronic-commerce where people conduct online transactions.

In many countries across the globe, the educational sectors are utilizing the internet through distance learning in colleges or universities. In this case, the internet has made the world a global village in that people can easily communicate as if they were part of a small global village. People can now communicate more easily because of the internet chat rooms, sending and receiving of e-mails, instant messaging, video conferencing among other communication services on the internet. For example, some governments are using the internet to communicate with their citizens, e-government, where government services are offered to citizens over the internet.

The internet is rapidly growing and as it continues to grow it will create more changes in the society. The society has changed already because of the internet but it is bound to change more as the internet continues to grow. One example is that it will reach a time where countries and business partners conduct all their businesses over the internet. This will be done through  online investments, online banking, auctions and many other services. Education sectors are also more likely to adopt new modes of learning such as distance learning whereby students will be making applications, receiving and sending their assignments and exams online.

 

 

 

 

 

                                  

Reference

Erbring, L., & Nie, N. (2000). Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society.  Internet and Society: A Preliminary Report. Retrieved from http://www.bsos.umd.edu/alan/webuse/handouts/NieandErbring-InternetandSocietyPreliminaryReport.pdf

SATISFACTION BY MEDIA

June 20, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satisfaction by Media

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Satisfaction by Media

The Uses and Gratifications Model states that audience members have
needs or drives that they satisfy by using the media. This applies to me because I utilize various forms of media for various reasons I ncluding cognition, diversion, social utility and to withdraw as outlined by Branston and Stafford (2011) under this model.

The first thing I do when I wake up for my morning run and I listen to music as I ran. I mostly listen to R &B music. The music serves as diversion from fatigue because it redirects my attention. After this I take a shower then take breakfast. In case I am in a hurry I do not watch any television but I just get ready to leave my apartment and I walk to college. When I do not have a busy day I watch some news on the Fox News Channel then check to see whether there is anything else that is interesting on TV. I find myself watching comedy shows or movie channels in most cases. I may however reserve watching TV for night after my day’s activities when I am very busy.  

During my free time at the university I may go to the library in some instances. Some of the books I read are hard copied but others are e-books. I also read e-books when I am in my house most of the time. Another portion of my free time may be spent on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I also take some time to read my emails and reply some of them. I also go online to search for the latest news on various aspects across the world, I mostly read yahoo news. I also use the internet to research on school work and read from online educational databases and online libraries such as EBSCO. Sometimes I listen to my stereo but not on a daily basis.

From the above discussion, it is clear that for cognition I use the television, internet searches from my computer or iPod and my e-book reader; for Diversion I listen to music from my iPod using a light pair of headphones; for social utility I use the internet for facebook, twitter and for checking my emails and replying them and for withdrawal I watch television and prefer to watch comedies and movies because they are shifts from reality.

 

Reference

Branston G. Stafford R. (2011) The Media Student’s Book. London: Routledge

 

 

 

Using 9 elements of the Communication Model

June 20, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Topic: Using 9 elements of the Communication Model

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Communication is a tool of distinguishing human being in the society.  It is also an enabling fact in the societies since there is no society without communication. Therefore through the transfer of information and ideas from one party to the other, the society gets to be formed and all the other building blocks for the society get enabled. Communication uses distinctive symbols that hold unique meaning (Rayudu 2010). These symbols are the foundations for the language that gets to be used in the communication. The communication in the common world entails 9 distinct elements. These elements give the communication irrespective of the language used a similarity that cuts across all modes of communication. However, the modes of communication display different elements (Rayudu 2010). The elements are also different depending on communication in use. The result of these differences is the variation in the effectiveness of the modes of communication. This paper looks at the application of the 9 elements of communication in print and broadcast media. The paper will also draw parallel between the modes of communication and the effectiveness of the elements.

In the print media, the sender of the information is usually the writer of the article. This is because, by definition the sender is the bearer or the one from whom the information that gets to be conveyed. These senders in the case of the print media may also be the editors through the editorial comments. In this case, the senders of information have their information being subject to same checks by the people since editors have to correct the flow of information. The content in the messages is subject to changes from the editing authorities (Rayudu 2010). Encoding of the message is also not independent. This is because the process involves people too.  The recipients of information are usually far flung away. The recipients can also store the information. Decoding of the information depends on the level of education in the recipient (Rayudu 2010). Feedback in this case is not immediate since the sender and the recipient are usually apart. The channel for this message is usually the printed material that is papers and interne pages. The situation in the print media is usually dependent on the respondent. This implies that there is no universal way of describing the situations of the receivers (Rayudu 2010). The noise in this case could be the physical noise. This presence of noise is a direct determinant of understanding and the interpretation of the message interpretation.

In the case of broad cast media, the elements of communication depict themselves in different ways from the print media. In the first place, the message that gets read out is not necessarily the work of the presenter. This is because there are different people on the ground that collects information (Rayudu 2010). The involvement of different parties in the encoding of the information is evident since some cases there is a camera man who records the information in the form of video. The editors are also the third parties that help in shaping the final piece of information. He encoding of the message involves recording in audio and/or visual (Rayudu 2010). The decoding process is through viewing and listening or both. The channel of the information is through the internet or viewing the broadcast in the television or listening to the news. The situation determines the use of the media since it calls for power contrary to the print media. The media get to be affected by the noise in any form directly since almost all broadcast media use audio channels. The receiver usually gets educated just like in the print media (Rayudu 2010).

 

 

 

 

References

Rayudu, C. S. (2010). Communication. Mumbai India: Himalaya Pub. House.

 

The Case of a Tradeshow Exhibition

June 18, 2013

 

 

 

 

Social Environment:

The Case of a Tradeshow Exhibition

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Social Environment: The Case of a Tradeshow Exhibition

Trade shows and exhibitions are some of the most attended events in the world. Its main purpose is to showcase products and ideas to educate the public on the product usage (Friedmann, 1992). It is in such events that the public gets to ask questions on the products and/or services of a particular organization. People get to learn a lot about products and services as well as sell their ideas to the public.

Shows attract people from all walks of life and from all social classes. In addition, shows attract people from both sexes. It is however, worth noting that male members of the society attend such shows more than females. reason being that they have a wider field scope of opportunities. Additionally, both investors and general people attend such events. Investors look for products and/or services where they could best invest their time and money. Ethnicity is never a matter in such shows especially because all communities have their role in the shows. In addition, individuals of all ages (starting from high school ages all the way to their grandparents) attend such shows with the aim of learning entrepreneurial skills right from the horse’s mouth or just for fun (Friedmann, 1992).

All these groups of people have their specific areas of attraction that they focus on, which they must seek to explore more. For instance, one is more likely to find youth in a music production stand as compared to the older generations. In the same way, people group themselves on tribal lines depending on the interest of certain communities. In addition, some stands are for general family viewing and that cater for the needs of the entire family (Friedmann, 1992). Such companies produce products considered essential as well as products for the family like media stands. All these factors put together affect almost each and every individual from the society.

In trade shows and exhibitions a wide variety of industries are represented. Noteworthy among all industries is the technological and agricultural sectors. These two industries are the backbone of the economy. They are also exposed to many dynamic changes that affect them. Taking the technological field for instance, it is very broad and very open to developments. Anybody could come up with a technological development or a buildup of an already existing technology. Moreover, being in the competitive world the major stakeholders ought to come up with ways of coping up with competition. On the other hand, the industrial sector is what supports life. It is often affected by technology and other natural conditions such as weather. GMOs and the use of machinery are some of the most significant developments in the agricultural sector.

Trade shows also attract government departments. Certain government departments may need to showcase their services to the public for the purposes of transparency as well as communication purposes to the public. Such stands are also open for questions from the public. More often than not, the suggestion put forward by the public are rarely implemented. However, they are also considered very important since they are able to answer questions from the public. It is also very common to offer certain services during the show. Such services could include medical checks by the ministry of health among others.

Trade shows have been in existence for a long period now. However, all through the time, no specific trend can be linked to the trade shows since every other time there are developments in most of the industries. The tradition of shows and exhibitions is that companies and individuals come and display their products to the public (Friedmann, 1992). The public is at liberty to go around viewing the products as well as ask questions regarding the products.  Products from similar fields are grouped together. This makes it easy for the public to view the products. In addition, this makes it easy for people to concentrate on particular fields of interest.

What is showcased in the trade shows is usually more of physical goods that can be viewed and tested during due course. This is due to the presentation part of the shows. It was considered technically impossible to showcase services in the past years. However, service provision industries have come up with new and innovative ways of presenting their services to the public. This has not however been fully accepted by the public based on presentation (Friedmann, 1992). The best that some of these service provisions come can do is to offer sample services most of which cannot be implemented in the show ground; for instance, in the service provision industry, it would be impossible for a company to provide security services to clients in a show ground. However, it may be possible for the firm to showcase some of the equipments that they use in the process of enhancing security.

A lot of interaction takes place between individuals and companies. Companies in the same field may often find themselves in a situation where they may need to learn from one another. However, companies on their part are very careful with the kind of information they share with their competitors. The competitors could use the information against the companies or pirate products to their advantage. The companies could also use certain information to sabotage their rivals. Companies could also discuss matters and problems pertaining to the industry in which they co-exist. Additionally, companies from different industries often find themselves interacting and try to establish the kind of relationships that exists especially in companies that are closely related.

Another kind of interaction that takes place in trade shows and exhibition is the interaction between companies and potential customers. The customers query about the product from the company’s sales person or the person in charge of their public profile in the trade show who in turn answers their questions. This sets the customer relationship rolling right from day one. The interaction could also be from the company to the individuals. Here, the company may want to know certain information about their market as well as their competitors. The customers give them feedback, which they could use to improve their products. It is in this kind of interaction that the companies also get to learn of complains about their products. Customers could also suggest possible ways of bettering their products. 

The interaction could also be between customer and customer. This is usually some kind of reaction from the public about the services of companies in the industry. The customers usually use a comparative way where they try to compare the services of two competing firms. This kind of interaction may be influential in the sense that it affects the decisions of the customers and their shopping trends. This kind of interaction is the most common, where people walk in groups viewing products from different manufacturers. Depending on the social class of the individuals, this form of interaction may take different forms from very simple to rather complicated and disputable cases.

All-in-all, the kind of interactions that take place between all the groups of people in the trade fairs and exhibitions affect the behaviors of people from both the receiving and the giving ends. They could affect them either negatively or positively depending on the nature of the conversation and the timing. Interaction between competitors may increase the level of competition between the individual firms or cause one of the forms to give in. On the other hand, interaction with customers helps in bettering the specific goods or services the company feels they need to be addressed.

As discussed earlier, people may be divided on tribal or social class lines whereby the products set lines. However, it is important to note that the differences in social classes are not so evident in such an event. To start with, people are at liberty to view all products showcased in the show. The only kind of inequality that may be seen is inequality because of specific products meant for a certain groups of people. Despite the fact that it is possible to see people from low social class viewing fancy cars, they may not get attention as compared to their counterparts in high social class. This may however not be so much visible to laymen, especially those who are there for fun and adventure.

The functionalist’s perspective is the most suitable perspective to view the matter from. According the functionalist perspective, the society is a combination of many parts that interact with one another to achieve either a common goal or their specific goals. As seen in the event, all the parties in the event are involved and each and every individual has their role to play in the event. The fact that this event is only organized occasionally; for instance once in a year, it is able to attract very many people and also involve them in the activities. By so doing, each one of them will be performing their part of maybe developing products to showcase in the trade show or attending the trade shows. In one way or another, all the parties involved interaction with one another either directly or indirectly.

 

Reference

Friedmann, S. A. (1992). Exhibiting at tradeshows: Tips and techniques for success. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Productions, Inc.