Reputaton management

e-bay: a peer-to-peer reputation management system

e-bay: a peer-to-peer reputation management system

Conall McDevitt has an interesting post up about CEO reputations:

“Communicating frequently with their employees. Certainly with their customers too, but not to forget their employees. At a time of uncertainty employees are hungry for information. CEOs need to take responsibility. Apologize if they are wrong. If they don’t know the answer, say they don’t know. We are just starting to see CEOs really being the face of the company.”

The CEOs of the Big 3 Auto Companies get a mention: Continue reading

Optimal identities, tastes and fashions -v- projecting ‘conviction’

Further to the post about the way that we have high expectations about the civic virtues of politicians, here’s Will Davies comparing the way that we portray ourselves on social media platforms like Facebook as cultural beings, and – by contrast – the way that politicians have to present themselves:

“Gordon Brown’s central problem is that he conveys endless moralism, duty and calling, while failing entirely to communicate who he is. The civic deficit, on the other hand, is that people aspire to optimal identities, tastes and fashions, but only rarely gauge themselves in terms of ‘the good life’. The politician measures worth in ethical terms while the citizen does so in aesthetic terms.”

Human beings

The role-model for future politicians?

The role-model for future politicians?

A short follow-up to yesterday’s post on politicians who are ….. er …. politicians.

Conor Ryan – a senior New Labour veteran says: “MPs Wanted: No human beings need apply.”

“What we are now likely to get as a result of the relentless assault of the last month are humourless self-righteous sorts who are, of course, incapable of making the slightest mistake. In such circumstances, the only person who would want to be an MP is someone with no hinterland or human frailties, or an egomaniac extremist who plays to the populist mood.

If people don’t think much of our current MPs, just wait until they see what comes next.”

Discussing her decision to stand down, a ‘source close to’ Home Secretary Jacqui Smith commented:

“…the row had put pressure on her children and her parents and while she regretted wrongly submitting a claim for the adult movie, she felt “vindicated” in her overall approach to claims, now those of other MPs had been published.”

(Thanks to @CllrTim and @kcorrick for the Ned Flanders idea – is there a better example of a fictional dumb humourless prig?)

The consequence of a retreat from politics?

Dennis Skinner - thought to be sceptical about consensus politics. (Pic: Riana Dzasta)

Dennis Skinner - thought to be sceptical about consensus politics. (Pic: Riana Dzasta)

It’s an interesting twist to the question I’ve been asking, on and off, over the past few weeks: What kind of representatives do we want?

So far, the options have included jurors, rogues and public paragons of virtue. But over on Spiked Online, Brendan O’Neill suggests a somewhat alarming possibility: Maybe we need people who are locked in a partisan struggle – people who will die in a ditch to defend the interests of a social class or ideological clique. Maybe we need (shock … horror) politicians to represent us?

In short, he suggests that the whole expenses scandal is the product of a regrettable retreat from politics – a move to make Parliament meet the petty demands of it’s rivals, and a refusal to prioritise and accommodate political conflict:

“New Labour has discovered that transparency begets, not trust, but further suspicion – the more politicians make their personal purity into their major selling point, and the more they imply that parliament is a potentially corrupt and sleazy place, the more they invite scrutiny of their every foible and Kit Kat purchase.” Continue reading

As long as they’re our scoundrels….

Bertie_Ahern_2005In recent weeks, I’ve been trying to tease out what kind of politicians that we want. So far, I’ve covered the posibility that we want them to behave in much the same way as jurors do, or that we want a paragon of virtue (in an expensive white suit).

With Esther Rantzen and The Jury Team in the headlines as alternatives to the menu of political parties, these are apposite questions.

But I’d suggest that there are other possibilities that deserve teasing out.

Do we, for instance, want politicians to be free-booting business people? The Republic of Ireland is widely seen as having a less proper political culture than we have in the UK. Continue reading

Politicians as jurors?

The BBC website has a nice post up about how the question of politicians being ‘in touch’ isn’t a straightforward one. It sort-of reprises a few points that I made in this post here a while ago – that no-body really agrees with anyone else about very much, and that – under such circumstances, politicians are in a bit of a cleft stick. On of my ongoing questions here is to ask what kind of politicians do we actually want? A few weeks ago, I asked if we really want paragons of virtue? And does a private personal wealth allow people the luxury of looking virtuous that their poorer rivals can’t benefit from?

The Jury Team

My next question is this:

Do we want politicians to behave like jurors?

We may actually have an answer to this question within the next year or so. I say this because ‘The Jury Team‘ are hoping to field candidates at the next election and they have a rather nice website up here. They are plainly enjoying the way that MPs are being exposed for their venality, or – let’s face it – their downright dishonesty in recent weeks. Continue reading

Whiter than white?

The Man in the White Suit - the new Parliamentary uniform?

The Man in the White Suit - the new Parliamentary uniform?

Do we really want politicians to be public paragons of virtue?

A good deal of what I read tends to work on the assumption that we do. Take this, for example:

“As technology evolves, the same public information laws create novel and in some cases previously unimaginable levels of transparency. In many cases, particularly those related to the conduct of top public officials, this seems to be a clearly good thing. In others, particularly those related to people who are not public figures, it may be more of a mixed blessing or even an outright problem. 

I’m reminded of the “candidates” of ancient Rome—the Latin word candidatus literally means “clothed in white robes,” which would-be officeholders wore to symbolize the purity and fitness for office they claimed to possess. By putting themselves up for public office, they invited their fellow citizens to hold them to higher standards.”

I mentioned this on another forum, and my friend, Chris, commented that the whiteness of the robes were also a status symbol. They said “look at me – I live in a nice part of town and I’ve got servants and slaves” Continue reading