Sparking Dialogue: Organizational Communication through Digital Storytelling

8711865159_50ff14eaaa_zIn recent years, technology and the Internet have simultaneously expanded and reinvented the way we communicate. The change in how we communicate has been pervasive, impacting all communications in the personal and professional sphere. Advances in technology has led multimedia content to become a new frontier for organizational communications, bringing with it new potential for organizational storytellers to reach broader audiences and engage in more dialogical communication. In the recent Journal of Management Inquiry article “Digital Organizational Storytelling on YouTube: Constructing Plausibility Through Network Protocols of Amateurism, Affinity, and Authenticity,” authors Emma Bell and Pauline Leonard try to better understand how plausibility plays into the dialogical nature of digital organizational storytelling. The abstract for the paper:

In this article, we focus on “digital organizational storytelling” as a communicative practice that relies on technologies enabled by the Internet. The article explores the dialogical potential of digital organizational storytelling and considers how this Current Issue Coveraffects the relationship between online storytellers and audiences. We highlight the importance of network protocols in shaping how stories are understood. Our analysis is based on a case study of an organization, which produces online animated videos critical of corporate practices that negatively affect society. It highlights the network protocols of amateurism, affinity, and authenticity on which the plausibility of digital organizational storytelling relies. Through demonstrating what happens when network protocols are breached, the article contributes toward understanding digital organizational storytelling as a dialogical practice that opens up spaces for oppositional meaning making and can be used to challenge the power of corporations.

You can read “Digital Organizational Storytelling on YouTube: Constructing Plausibility Through Network Protocols of Amateurism, Affinity, and Authenticity” from Journal of Management Inquiry free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Image attributed to Sergio Perez (CC)

Are You Throwing Those Old Jeans in the Trash?

jeans-12-28834-mThe United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15% of post-consumer textile waste is recovered each year, leaving a whopping 85% in landfills. This means that used textiles occupy nearly 5% of landfills overall. What can be done to help this problem? Karin M. Ekström and Nicklas Salomonson discuss the possibilities from a macromarketing perspective in their article, “Reuse and Recycling of Clothing and Textiles – A Network Approach” from Journal of Macromarketing.

The abstract:

The accelerated pace of consumption in the Western world has led to an increase in clothing and textiles disposed of in the garbage rather than being reused or recycled. The purpose of this article is toJMMK_new C1 template.indd increase understanding of how clothing and textile consumption can become more sustainable by demonstrating how members of a network view and deal with this problem. The study is based on meetings over one and a half years and on a survey. Different views on the problem as well as various solutions on how to increase reuse and recycling of clothing and textiles are presented, including means and challenges. A macromarketing perspective, involving different actors in society, is necessary in order to make consumption more sustainable and for finding long-term solutions. We argue that understanding symbolic consumption and the fashion system can contribute to the macromarketing study of societal development from a sustainable perspective.

Click here to read “Reuse and Recycling of Clothing and Textiles – A Network Approach” for free from Journal of Macromarketing. Click here to sign up for e-alerts and get news on all the latest from Journal of Macromarketing.

Understanding Networking and its Benefits

teamwork-1-1254520-m[We are pleased to welcome Špela Trefalt to Management Ink. Dr. Trefalt’s article “How Network Properties Affect One’s Ability to Obtain Benefits: A Network Simulation” recently appeared in the OnlineFirst section of the Journal of Management Education.]

About four years ago, I started teaching about networks in Executive Education Programs at Simmons School of Management. I wanted to help the participants understand and appreciate the importance of structural properties of networks (centrality, structural holes, multiplexity, strength of ties) and social capital, and I couldn’t find a good way to do that. Lecturing to a group of highly-competent professionals was not my style and I couldn’t find an exercise that would convey these points. So I developed one. Since they, I’ve tried it out with multiple groups of executives and MBA students as well as with undergraduates, and it always worked very well. Students enjoyed it but also learned from it. This is a very low-tech exercise, so get ready for some printing and filling up some envelopes but I promise the investment is worthwhile.

The abstract:

JME_72ppiRGB_powerpointNetworks and the social capital that they carry enable people to get things done, to prosper in their careers, and to feel supported. To develop an effective network, one needs to know more than how to make connections with strangers at a reception; understanding the consequences of network properties on one’s ability to obtain benefits is essential. Such understanding enables students to better assess who to connect to. The simulation described herein enables participants to experience and therefore better understand the consequences of their position within a network and to overcome potential aversion to networking by recognizing its benefits and potential for reciprocity. It has been used effectively with undergraduates, MBA students, and executive audiences.
spela-trefalt_rdax_200x278Dr. Špela Trefalt joined Simmons faculty in 2008, after earning her D.B.A. in Management from the Harvard Business School, her M.B.A. from the University of Kansas, and her B.A. in Law from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. In her research, Dr. Trefalt focuses on the issues of managing the competing demands of work and life outside of work, especially among professionals. She is particularly interested in the role of relationships at work in this process. Her research aims at deepening our understanding of the experiences of individuals with work and non-work demands in order to provide ideas for improving individuals’ well-being by combining their own agency and organizational change. She teaches in the MBA and in Executive Education programs. Prior to her academic career, Trefalt spent six years as a human resources management consultant, and eight years working in the media in Slovenia.

Using Games to Address Real-World Issues


via USC GamePipe Laboratory

A new article in Simulation & Gaming studies an avatar-based game that addresses a real policy challenge: peace in the Sudan.

The game, under development as part of a massively multiplayer online game at the University of Southern California’s GamePipe Laboratory, casts players as tribe members who can directly impact stability in an interactive model of the country:Untitled

…[W]e are proposing that intertribal hostility in Sudan can be understood as a function of differing perspectives on a variety of beliefs. To measure the stability of the country at a given point in the simulation, we calculate the average of each of the eight beliefs across the agents within each tribe. We then normalize these beliefs to be between 0 and 1, and calculate the differences between each tribe…The purpose of the Sudan model is to determine if a sequence of interventions could be carried out in Sudan to foster common beliefs among the tribes, decrease their differences, and thus increase the stability of the country as a whole.

s&gThe game has some unique attributes that should make it a valuable tool, according to Kathleen Carley of Carnegie-Mellon University, an author of the paper. “A major problem with games and with agent-based simulation is that they are very time consuming to instantiate,” Dr. Carley told Management INK. “Another major problem is that they are very difficult to repurpose for another issue.  This work shows how it is possible to link a massive multiplayer on-line game and and agent based simulation and then use readily available news data to instantiate generic characters.  This paves the way for auto-instantiation and repurposing.”

Read the article, “Games, Social Simulations, and Data—Integration for Policy Decisions: The SUDAN Game,” published by Peter Landwehr of Carnegie-Mellon University, Marc Spraragen of USC, Balki Ranganathan of USC, Kathleen M. Carley of Carnegie-Mellon University, and Michael Zyda of USC in the in the February issue of Simulation & Gaming, a symposium on simulations, games, and peace.