An interesting article appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review. The author discusses how companies are using social media and PR to level the playing field for legal disputes. Here is a sample, and the link tot he full article can be found below.
“Large companies frequently exploit their vastly superior legal resources and capabilities to the disadvantage of smaller competitors. Frequently, the mere threat of litigation and the prospect of an expensive, prolonged lawsuit is all that is necessary to persuade a smaller business to acquiesce to the larger competitor’s legal demands. However, I have recently studied an emergent defensive strategy that turns the tables on large companies when they legally threaten smaller enterprises. The approach involves soliciting public support, typically through social media and public relations, in hopes of achieving a favorable outcome. I call this technique lawsourcing.”
The following article caught my interest because of the promising direction education is taking. Rather than talk of online offerings replacing digital education, we see how more cost effective hybrid programmes are developed cooperatively with accredited institutions. Now we have a model that can work, and indeed an interesting development.
“Recently, the online education firm Coursera announced a new arrangement with Google, Instagram and other tech firms to launch what some are calling “microdegrees” – a set of online courses plus a hands-on capstone project designed in conjunction with top universities and leading high-tech firms. Coursera is one of America’s leading MOOC developers (Massive Open Online Courses).”
I am pleased to share that the latest issue of Asian Management Insights has reached my desk. You should be able to find the journal, and articles, online at the Emerald Publishing website. My favorite article this issue comes from Parag Khanna who discusses smart cities.
We don’t yet know what the repercussions will be for VW or how the company will manage its reputation. More damning evidence about WV could emerge, and investigators are wondering whether VW’s competitors might be hiding similar illegal practices.
So let this be a warning to other companies: being clean and green is important, but only if it’s authentic. And remember that everyone is watching you.
Recently we had the honor of welcoming Prof. Alessandro Acquisto to the SMU campus. In this Distinguished Lecturer talk, we learn about the value of privacy in this technological age. Certainly, a topic worthy of a few minutes of our time.
I invite you all to listen to episode #824 of For Immediate Release. This week our hosts ask if SEO is really dead? And, after a decade, our distinguished co-host Neville has decided to take some time off of podcasting. Thus, at least for the Hobson & Holtz Report, this is my final report from Asia.
This week I share why I will be keeping a close eye on ASEAN int he coming months, and also a new blog from China that is receiving a lot of kind words from other readers. Do check out the final episode, and keep your eyes open for the new panel-based podcast that Shel Holtz will be launching.
The classic tension between profits and priorities.
“The frame of the sharing economy has been destroyed or radically challenged by people who are just trying to maximize their profits as their primary, sole goal,” says Adam Werbach, a former Sierra Club national president who co-founded Yerdle, a website and mobile app conceived as a means of encouraging people to give away their used goods. “When I think about the true sharing economy, I see libraries, parks, and common roads.”
I find it hard to disagree with the author. I am not so sure that the rightness or wrongness of this assertion is the issue. Instead, understanding the larger pattern by which issue evolve online is worthwhile for communicators to understand.
“The Internet launders outrage and returns it to us as validation, in the form of likes and stars and hearts. The greatest return comes from a strong and superior point of view, on high moral ground. And there is, fortunately and unfortunately, always higher moral ground. Even when a dentist kills an adorable lion, and everyone is upset about it, there’s better outrage ground to be won. The most widely accepted hierarchy of outrage seems to be: Single animal injured < single animal killed < multiple animals killed < systematic killing of animals < systematic oppression/torture of people < systematic killing of humans < end of all life due to uninhabitable planet.”
When scientists have studied procrastination, they’ve typically focused on how people are miserable at weighing costs and benefits across time. For example, everybody recognizes, in the abstract, that it’s important to go to the dentist every few months. The pain is upfront and obvious—dental work is torture—and the rewards of cleaner teeth are often remote, so we allow the appointment to slip through our minds and off our calendars. Across several categories including dieting, saving money, and sending important emails, we constantly choose short and small rewards (whose benefits are dubious, but immediate) over longer and larger payouts (whose benefits are obvious, but distant).
In the last few years, however, scientists have begun to think that procrastination might have less to do with time than emotion. Procrastination “really has nothing to do with time-management,” Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University,told Psychological Science. “To tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”
Here we have two HBS research studies looking at information disclosure/hiding in the online world, and the audience’s attribution of acceptability that follows when they recognize that some information is perhaps being hidden (or not).
Despite the author’s best efforts, I am not sure a clear conclusion emerges from these studies but they do ask some very interesting questions that communicators might like to ponder.
“On the face of it, John’s and Luca’s studies seem to be showing different things. In John’s study, people think worse of those who hide information, while in Luca’s, they seem to give more benefit of the doubt to them than they should. The discrepancy may come from just how apparent it is that information is being hidden.
“People don’t notice the dog that doesn’t bark,” says John. By including the “choose not to answer” choice in their study, she and her colleagues intentionally made it clear that the person who answered the profile was hiding information-leading observers to conclude that the individual was less trustworthy.
In the case of restaurants, movies, or college rankings, on the other hand, consumers may not realize that information is being withheld from them. “If restaurants were required to say that they were choosing not to reveal their hygiene [rating], I think it would be a day before everyone would stop going,” says Luca. Of course, requiring restaurants to reveal that they are choosing not to reveal is probably just as difficult as requiring them to reveal in the first place.
The bigger takeaway from both studies may be that it pays for consumers to be aware of the information they should be looking for — whether that means going directly to U.S. News & World Report for the complete list of college rankings or looking up film reviews on Rotten Tomatoes — rather than just considering information a company provides. As for that organization and person choosing not to answer a question, they may very well be hiding something. Or they may just be choosing not to answer.”