The Nutella Effect

“Artworks have become merchandise, products that are meant to be purchased and consumed, just like Nutella. A sad realistic and nihilistic view of art today.

There is no hope.

Let’s destroy ourselves.”

 

From reviewing the responses of others who experienced the art exhibition at the Gluxman Gallery in UCC I felt slightly more hopeful for the future of our world. At least others can see the absolute delusion in creating a wall of Nutella and calling it ‘art’.

 

My first response when seeing the work of Rentmeister was nothing. This feeling of ‘nothingness’ slowly transformed into a deep questioning of what is the point?

 

I quickly realized the wall of Nutella was evoking a response, but truly for all the wrong reasons. Being an art lover, I appreciate skill, intelligence, beauty, creativity, passion and so forth, all of which this wall of product, that some refer to as ‘The Rebirth of Modernism’, is not!

 

 

What irritated me even more was how this piece of food spread on cardboard was generating the most attention, excitement even. There were so many other truly remarkable, intelligent and skilled pieces of artwork, yet most conversations and reflections centered around the ‘joke’ piece. I couldn’t be fully present to any discussion because like Marina Abramovics words in ‘The Onion’ “I am tired of .. standing around with a glass of plain water, pretending that I am interested in conversation.”

 

For me this happening in Gluxman Gallery is a smaller bubble reflecting our larger society. There are so many beautiful things happening in the world, yet like the effect the Nutella had in the Gluxman, the majority of conversations focus on the ‘joke’ news. I don’t even need to mention to whom or what I am referring to here.

 

To highlight some of the ‘real’ art, my favorite piece was “The Domestic Godless guide to the Philosophical Intestine” This piece explores the brain-gut interface and in my opinion really fit with and complimented the overall theme – Gut Instinct.

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Tribes

Tribes – Collaborative Essay

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” – Seth Godin

Evolutionary biology (Dunbar, 2009) indicates that our need to connect, co-operate and display empathy has been part of tribal pattern formation and Homo sapiens success. This paper questions the role of tribes as part of our evolutionary narrative as we move into a digitally connected society; a society where humans have never been so connected and able to communicate amongst those with shared interests (Howell, 2012). Access to an abundance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platforms give rise to the formation of countless mini tribes, “We belong to many little tribes and not one tribe” (Cova et al., 2007), with 50% of modern youth interacting and creating within social media networks (Reingold, 2008, pg97).

The ethical responsibility of tribal leaders is discussed in light of Godin’s call for anyone to be a leader (Godin, 2009), with evidence suggesting that leaders “play an important role in developing and sustaining ethical cultures and ethical conduct.” (Grojean et al., 2004 cited (Avey et al, 2010). Identity and the question of how we identify is also taken into consideration. Information and Communication Technology platforms shoulder the weight of our modern self-actualisation, highlighting a struggle of personal identity. Evidence suggests that this moving sense of identity is further distancing the individual from their actions, and creating a less self-aware group of tribal members who perceive their morality as external to them (Smiley, 2005).

Following this, the paper investigates whether modern tribal culture is disconnecting humans from each other. It is suggested that the disillusionment with physical tribes is seeing a retreat into virtual ones, (Bennett, 2008, pg2) where empathy is attempted through emoticons and likes. The issue of consumer ‘tribes’ and the unethical hijacking of the idea of tribes by the business world is addressed with evidence suggesting that branding has morphed into the idea of ‘brand communities’ as a subset of ‘consumer tribes’ (Cova et al., 2007).

 

Anthropologists have classified the traditional tribe (Becher and Trowler, 2001)

as a people with shared aspects; genealogy, environment, culture, values and inclusiveness. (Godin, 2009) states that humans have been tribal for millions of years. Historically humans have formed tribal living patterns and bonds regardless of culture and beliefs, indeed, evolutionary biology (Dunbar, 2009) indicates that our need to connect, co-operate and display empathy has been part of tribal pattern formation and Homo sapiens success. Shared interests were communicated in a sense of duty, rituals, shared consciousness of kind and traditions, and a sense of both community and individual obligation.

Formica, (2008) highlights that unlike other species, humans have evolved to have a self-awareness of their shared ability and their mental representation of tasks, common goals and intentions. This allows a shared cooperation and empathy within a group; the foundation of our ancestral tribe.  Awareness of shared mental representation allowed the raising of children, hunting and gathering, empathy within the tribe and collectively attacking outsiders if threatened. This same shared interest also drove tribal war for the most basic resources; goods, territory and women (Zyga, 2008). These tribes had a social structure and an internal hierarchy, whether illusory or practical. Moreover, tribes did not need their connection to be purely biological, but could be linked by communication through survival, rituals and geography. It made evolutionary sense to avoid sharing your limited food supplies with outsiders and to instead apply bias or prejudice. As wider and more diverse tribes developed, it became apparent that alignment to a tribe was linked to ethical and moral perspectives. Humans still operate in large co-operative tribes locally, nationally or in E-tribes. Survival, ritual, geography, ethics and morality still impact tribal make-up.

There are many types of tribal connections in contemporary culture; #hashtags, facebook, clubs, personal issues, activism, sport etc. Some social scientist (Kabiri, 2016) questions the quality of  tribal connections in modern society; however (Howell, 2012) states that bonds, connections and empathy are notable today, that humans have never been so connected and able to communicate amongst those with shared interests. Individuals can now easily locate and connect with others with a shared interest through digital communication. According to (Kozinets, 2001), E-tribes or virtual communities of consumption can be characterised by the three core aspects of traditional community – shared consciousness of kind, rituals and traditions, and a sense of duty or obligation to the community as a whole and individuals within it (Kozinets, 2001).

The importance of hierarchy in tribal culture must necessarily be reflected in the need for the quality and morality of a leader. Tribes connected by a core group of giant banks and corporations, or elite tribes such as the Bildenberg Group dominate the entire global economic system but do not operate within a framework of traditional tribal morality. This sense of moral neutrality is becoming an issue for ethical leadership within the digital age. (Godin, 2009) urges anyone with a spare twenty four hours to become a leader, to start a movement as long as it meets people’s desire for connection. Lessig’s (Lessig, 2014) assertion of the internet being a neutral platform, which implies ethical emptiness, brings Godin’s call for leaders into question.

The internet does not hold a sense of responsibility towards the vulnerable, which is where Godin fails, as he does not advocate right and ethical use of this neutral space in his invitation for ‘anyone’ to become a leader, “connect a tribe of people who are desperately wanting to be connected….you don’t need permission from people to lead them, they are waiting” (Godin, 2009).

Although the area of ethical leadership is fragmented in scholarly research (Avey et al, 2010) the question of what actually constitutes ethical leadership is still widely debated. The research area has been growing steadily in the past decade, with this increase in growth believed to be due to the result of the scandals involving corporate and public sector leaders (Mahsud et al, 2011). Jim Jones and Charles Manson both created and led groups of like-minded individuals. Considering the distressing results of these cases, the importance of advocating “ethical” leadership becomes more apparent. It is understood in scholarly research that leaders “play an important role in developing and sustaining ethical cultures and ethical conduct” (Grojean et al., 2004 cited Avey et.al 2010.) This is important because “leadership which lacks ethical conduct can be dangerous, destructive and even toxic.”  (Shamas-ur-Rehman Toor George Ofori, 2009).  The leadership of Jim Jones and Charles Manson, leading to the mass suicide of 918 people during the Jonestown massacre, and the murders of nine people by the Manson family, are extreme but clear examples of ‘dangerous’ leadership lacking ethical guidance.

The importance of ethics for leaders to ensure effective governance has been emphasized by religious leaders, philosophers, and thinkers from ancient times (Shamas-ur-Rehman Toor George Ofori, 2009).  As we move into a digitally connected society where the role of leadership becomes even more accessible to ‘anybody’, the call for ethical leadership becomes even more important.

Moral framework in the digital era and its fulcrum, ethical leadership, are having devastating effects on our national and international interactions and policies. In the 2008 paper, ‘Bad News For Refugees’, it is argued that common misconceptions perpetuated by the media around refugees and migrant workers create a sense of “moral panic” (Majavu, 2014), and that “media coverage of such issues in the United Kingdom corresponds to public fears and anxieties which are themselves featured in and also generated by the popular press and other media” (Majavu, 2014). This media constructed creation and subsequent manipulation of a group of individuals connected by nationalist ideals may be driven by perpetuation of suspicious attitudes towards outsiders. A suspicion of outsiders alongside a yearning for community can be the connecting factor and the impetus for the formation of groups which engender specific, often far-right ideologies (Blee, 2007).

The combination of lack of community combined with false media constructs, could in turn be creating a feeling of “us” versus “them”, which serves only to further divide people on the “tribal” basis of race and religion, and could be pushing people towards more extreme political affiliations in the search for a tribe. Could this internal conflict be a contributing factor to the extremism our democracies are witnessing, as individuals scream for clarity in the sea of transnational identity? Is the ‘Brexit-Trump’ protest the climax of internal conflict that seeks its tribal elders?

The assertion that, “defining oneself as a member of a social category is the precondition for group behaviour”, (Reicher, 1996) suggests that the self-identification with a “tribe” could itself be the stimulus for collective action. A group is considered capable of collective action, (Smiley, 2005) which then reduces individual awareness of personal responsibility for the actions of the group as a whole. This represents a shift in identity, (Reicher, 1996) which presents a negative perception of tribal culture, in the sense that “it associates both causal responsibility and blameworthiness with groups and locates the source of moral responsibility in the collective actions taken by these groups understood as collectives.” (Smiley, 2005). This raises the question, ‘how do we identify?’ What creates tribal identification and how can we self actualise within globalization as it redefines our traditional tribes?

Tribes centre around the collective identity of groups filled with individuals. Identity in the naturalist sense of the word gravitates towards ‘common origin’, shared characteristics and a unifying goal, ideal or purpose (Hall,1996, pg1-13). The process of identity actualisation is more fluid than definition infers. It requires an evaluation of history or tradition and the origins of this desire. If a solidarity of shared traditions and cultures creates our identity, then that implies we invent our history and it can be reinterpreted at any given point. It becomes a ‘process’ that evaluates ‘who we are’ and ‘where we have come from’ but poses the equally valid question, what are we becoming and what traditions will we collectively create? (Hall, 1996, pg1-13). This is interesting in terms of corporations and governments, a corporation could be considered a tribe, it is a group of connected people with a leader (Godin, 2009). In terms of responsibility for actions taken by that tribe, it almost appears that the larger the tribe, the less individual responsibility can be placed on individuals within it (Smiley, 2005).

Introduce ICT platforms and this concept of external influences becomes a global, postcolonial, tribe of forced cultural migration that fuses traditions and values. With 50% of modern youth interacting and creating within social media networks (Reingold, 2008, pg 97), it is a reasonable assumption that the extent of external influence on internal identification has evolved exponentially from the campfires of our ancestors. Facebook ‘selfism’ and Instagram life-pictorials shoulder the weight of our modern self-actualisation and highlight the struggle of personal identity. Collective identity has seen that a “shift from individual to group behaviour involves a shift from personal to social identity” (Reicher, 1996). This moving sense of identity is suggesting that the created connection is more important than the action or outcome itself, further distancing the individual from their actions and creating a less self-aware group of tribal members who perceive their morality as external to them; as if membership of the group negates immoral behaviour. Is modern tribal culture in fact disconnecting humans from each other? Are extremes birthing from the parents of an incoherent tribe and technologies that move faster than any stage of human evolution has encountered previously?

ICT platforms provide a vehicle for this collective identification and lend themselves to the propagation of social protest. Though its ‘influence’ on participation in social or political movements is contested, the reality that it reduces costs of participation, creates community and, in turn, a sense of communal identity is a reasonable assumption (Garrett, 2006, pg5). A facet of participation in modern protest is the nature of collaborative shared research. Knowledge comprehension, once the proviso of the scholar is now disseminated through blogs and tweets. The dilution of academic integrity may alarm traditionalists, but its mobilising effect on society is clear.

As global internet access has reached >40% (>3,500,000), a massive increase from the 1% who had access in 1995, (“Number of Internet Users (2016) – Internet Live Stats,” n.d.) it has created an unprecedented amount of people who can, at the touch of a button, find a like-minded group of others who share their interest and passion for almost anything that can be named (Google Now indexes some 620 million groups on Facebook). Obviously, most of these do not belong to the previously defined version of a tribe as a ‘group of people who share the same language, culture and history’ but the more contemporary one of digital tribes (Facebook allows users to belong to up to 6000 individual groups). This is just one social media platform among many, and one method of connection. “We belong to many little tribes and not one tribe” (Cova et al., 2007).

This shared connection can organically beget a movement (Burning Man), or deliberate activism (NoDAPL), that did have founders with a goal, and spread through word-of-mouth and social media to become ‘successful’. The younger generation, born into a world of Facebook and Twitter, have access to global political tribes and the idea that we as a global species share the notion of ‘commons’ as a collective responsibility (Barlow,2001, pg3) has become the preferred politics of today’s youth. This aversion to the democratic process and the image of modern politicians sees them engaging through SNS platforms in forms of civic responsibility or NGO work rather than the ‘dirty business’ of democratic politics.

The other side of this aversion to politics is the creation of online tribes of gaming, social media sites and online entertainment. The disillusionment with their physical tribes is seeing a retreat into virtual ones, (Bennett, 2008, pg2) where empathy is attempted through emoticons and likes. The need for a tribe to relate to is primal, but could the political apathy of our youth be a sign that the tribe of its elders has little to offer its technological progeny? If the next generation reject the culture and traditions that create the tribe, then identity’s path becomes unclear in the fog of uncertain evolution. The globalisation and communities of humanities web could see the decline of classical tribes. Like the introduction of mass production print, we are only glimpsing the impact of technology on our species.

This notion of tribes has been seized on by the business world, where branding has morphed into the idea of ‘brand communities’ as a subset of ‘consumer tribes’ (Cova et al., 2007). Godin, himself an entrepreneur and successful author actively champions companies fostering brand communities through non-traditional marketing campaigns and strong leadership. There is cynicism around these ‘astro-turf’ campaigns as they seem to hijack the feeling of belonging in the name of consumerism.

It can be hard to separate the idea of tribes and consumerism. Every time you make a choice of a product, a service or an experience, you demonstrate your affiliation to one group over another. Business leaders like Bill Gates or Elon Musk, are seen as part-visionary and part-entrepreneurial. Those who buy Apple or Tesla products have huge brand loyalty (90% and 85% respectively), (“Apple has brand loyalty that most companies can only dream of,” 2015, “Are Tesla Motors Inc Model S Owners The Most Loyal Bunch?,” n.d). Sites such as Kiva, Etsy and Airbnb have been founded by activists, makers and artists to bypass large corporations and sell directly to the consumer; all have legions of devotees.

Companies who combine activism and consumerism such as TOMS Shoes (‘one for one’ concept) have come under fire for exploiting poverty as a marketing tool, being unclear about their production standards and also for the huge profit they make, while tapping into people’s idea of community and sharing (“Toms Shoes,” 2016). Philosopher Slavoj Žižek cited Toms Shoes (and also Starbucks) as ‘an almost absurd example’ of postmodern ‘cultural capitalism’ which places the burden of ethical obligations on the consumer who feels like he must ‘buy redemption’ from the act of consumerism, thus delaying necessary systemic changes (The RSA, n.d.). By buying into the need to feel like we are doing something positive, and feeling loyalty to companies that espouse that belief (but which are unmistakably for-profit), we might be neglecting the opportunity to truly adopt the ideal of creating a new paradigm with like-minded people.

 

In conclusion, similar to the nature of evolution our understanding of the label “tribe” is evolving in the current digital era. Our collective consciousness is bombarded by media and tailored advertising that is aware of our preferences and desires. Targeted consumerism understands the human need for connection and is shaping our consciousness as we self-actualise identities in an era of unprecedented technological advances. In this age of emoticon empathy, could our primal evolutionary needs be under threat? Or are we seeing a natural process that currently defies conclusion? We seek leaders in the sea of digital opinions, subcultures and shared knowledge, and their ethics or lack thereof are magnified through the twitter lens. The consequences are showing a trend towards extremism in a bid perhaps for internal identity control. For if there are no boundaries or rules, in the wild west of the world-wide web, those whose voice is loudest will be heard, and our traditional need for hierarchal leadership could see us fall prey to the populism we are being fed. Regardless of the outcome, tribal needs, the epigenetic driving forces within us, still crave the process of identity that we need to understand ourselves and our worlds. This perceptive lens is very much filtered and coloured by the technological platforms that live in the smart-phone pockets of our daily lives.

 

Bibliography

 

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Are Tesla Motors Inc Model S Owners The Most Loyal Bunch? [WWW Document], n.d. URL http://www.businessfinancenews.com/22977-are-tesla-motors-inc-model-s-owners-the-most-loyal-bunch/ (accessed 12.19.16).

Avey, J.B., Palanski, M.E., Walumbwa, F.O., 2011. When Leadership Goes Unnoticed: The Moderating Role of Follower Self-Esteem on the Relationship Between Ethical Leadership and Follower Behavior. J Bus Ethics 98, 573–582. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0610-2

Becher & Trowler, 2001. Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Cultures of Discipline, 2 edition. ed. Open University Press, Philadelphia, PA.

Blee, K.M., 2007. Ethnographies of the Far Right. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 36, 119–128. doi:10.1177/0891241606298815

BLUE GOLD – blue-gold.pdf, n.d.

Bowler Jr, G.M., 2010. Netnography: A method specifically designed to study cultures and communities online. The Qualitative Report 15, 1270.

Civic Life Online – 9780262524827_Civic_Life_Online.pdf, n.d.

Cova, B., Kozinets, R.V., Shankar, A., 2007. Tribes, Inc.: the new world of tribalism. Consumer tribes 3–26.

Cova, B., 1996. What postmodernism means to marketing managers. ResearchGate 14, 494–499. doi:10.1016/0263-2373(96)00043-6

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Goulding, C., Shankar, A., Canniford, R., 2013. Learning to be tribal: facilitating the formation of consumer tribes. European Journal of Marketing. doi:10.1108/03090561311306886

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Haidt, J., 2013. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Reprint edition. ed. Vintage, New York.

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Kabiri, N., 2016. The Value Of Finding Your Tribe | The Huffington Post [WWW Document]. Huffington Post. URL http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nika-kabiri/the-value-of-finding-your_b_11290420.html (accessed 12.19.16).

Majavu, M., 2014. Bad News For Refugees. By Greg Philo, Emma Briant and Pauline Donald. Journal of Refugee Studies 27, 309–310. doi:10.1093/jrs/feu012

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Neubert, M.J., Carlson, D.S., Kacmar, K.M., Roberts, J.A., Chonko, L.B., 2009. The virtuous influence of ethical leadership behavior. Journal of business ethics : JBE 90, 157–170. doi:10.1007/s10551-009-0037-9

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A Call for Ethical Leadership

 

stocksnap-free-stock-photos1

Image source

 

“The Internet’s very design built a neutral platform upon which the widest range of creators could experiment.” (Lessig, The Future of Ideas)

Godin, in ‘Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, 2009’ (year of publication), urges anyone with a spare twenty four hours to become a leader, to go start (any) movement as long as it meets people’s desire for connection. Lessig’s assertion about the ethical emptiness of the Internet in the quote above brings Godin’s call for leaders into question. Lessig, the founder of the Stanford centre for Internet and Society is a political activist and a respected voice for ethical use of the Internet. Lessig states that the Internet is neutral; it does not have an inbuilt moral compass, values or ethics. The internet does not hold a sense of responsibility towards the vulnerable, which is where Godin falls down, as he fails to advocate for right and ethical use of this neutral space in his invitation for ‘anyone’ to become a leader, and to lead those who are ‘desperately wanting to be connected.’

“Find a group that is disconnected but already has a yearning … Tell a story to people who want to hear it, connect a tribe of people who are desperately wanting to be connected….you don’t need permission from people to lead them, they are waiting” (Godin, 2009)

Although the area of ethical leadership is fragmented in scholarly research (Avey et al, 2010) with the question ‘what is ethical leadership?’ still widely debated. The research area itself has been growing steadily in the past decade. This increase in growth is believed to be due to the result of the scandals involving corporate and public sector leaders. (Mahsud et al, 2011).

When reviewing cases such as ‘The Jonestown massacre’ and ‘The Manson family’, both showcasing communities of like minds who shared common beliefs, led by a leader around an ideal, a story; the importance of advocating “ethical” leadership becomes even more apparent. It is understood in scholarly research that leaders “play an important role in developing and sustaining ethical cultures and ethical conduct” (Grojean et al., 2004 cited (Avey et al, 2010) This is important because “leadership which lacks ethical conduct can be dangerous, destructive and even toxic.”  (Shamas-ur-Rehman Toor George Ofori, 2009). The leadership of Jim Jones and Charles Manson which led to the mass suicide of 918 people in the Jonestown massacre, and the death of nine people by the Manson family are extreme but clear example of ‘dangerous’ leadership that lacks ethics.

The importance of ethics for leaders to ensure effective governance has been emphasized by religious leaders, philosophers, and thinkers from ancient times. (Shamas-ur-Rehman Toor George Ofori, 2009). As we move into a digitally connected society where the role of leadership becomes even more accessible to ‘anybody’ the call for ethical leadership is more important now than ever. Taking this into account perhaps much greater consideration should be given to ‘who’ we invite to lead us. The responsibility that comes with the leadership role should perhaps also be made clear, when an invitation for leadership is so freely offered as it has been by Godin. “Managers play a critical role in providing a moral framework for organizational members . (Barnard 1938: Grojean et al., 2004 Mendonca 2001) and in shaping the collective character of the organization (Moore, 2005; Wright and Goodstein, 2007 cited by Carlson, Roberts, Chonko, 2009)

 

References:

  •       Neubert, Carlson, Kacmar, Roberts, Chonko (2009), ‘The Virtuous Influence of Ethical Leadership Behavior’ Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 90, No. 2, P159
  •       Shamas-ur-Rehman Toor George Ofori Ethical Leadership (2009), ‘Examining the Relationship with Full Range Leadership Model, Employee Outcomes and Organizational Culture.’ Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 90, No. 4, P536
  •       James B. Avey,  Michael E. Palanski. Fred O. Walumbwa, (2011), When Leadership Goes Unnoticed: ‘The Moderating Role of Follower Self- Esteem on the Relationship Between Ethical Leadership and Follower Behaviour.’ Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 98, No. 4, P 573
  •       Gary Yuk ,Rubina Mahsud, Shahidul Hassan and Gregory E. Prussia, (2011) ‘An improved measure of ethical leadership’. Behavior’ Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 90
  • Lessig, L. (2001) The Future of Ideas, http://www.the-future-of-ideas.com/ 8 12 2016.

 

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Reflection on Digital Tools

As we move from an analog humanities towards digital humanities I would like to consider a number of the tools that are helping some thrive and others survive through this transition. I will also reflect on how these tools could benefit my digital humanities project.

 

The tools I will review are Omeka, Scalar, NGram and Neatline. I will also explore the Text Encoding Initiative.

 

Scalar

 

Developed by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture at the University of Southern California, Scalars vision is to be a sustainable platform for publishing interactive and rich media scholarship. Scalar allows scholars to assemble media from multiple sources and place that media with their own writing in a variety of ways.

 

I am hugely inspired by the dynamic flexibility inherent in this free, open-source authoring and publishing platform. My mind is alight with possibilities about how I can leverage this for my own digital artifact, which is centered on digital storytelling and immersive story.

 

Scalar allows for combining and layering of information as a digital publication offering great flexibility in how you tell you story or present your argument as well as the freedom to structure your book in its most compelling form. It is a giant leap forward in my opinion from the liner eBook. (https://vimeo.com/45263290)

 

The features I found most attractive are:

 

  • Multiple paths through a publication, each one designed for a specific audience.
  • Multiple author functionality (This is ideal for my co-authored digital book!)
  • Archives and metadata are supported (links in with Dublin Core and Omeka)
  • Supports a number of different media types inc audio, video, images, texts, maps
  • Structural flexibility that you don’t get in a blog or a traditional content management system.
  • Visualizations, to make the information beautiful
  • Annotating with media
  • Customizing appearances (I love the emphasis on visual beauty, which I feel a lot of open source software lacks.)

 

I really like how this open source software is built to last. The pages (which are the key feature) use standard HTML and CSS for styling. It abides by Dublin Core, RDF, Art Stor and other Internet standards.

As I am hoping to create an online space for cross-cultural, health and environmental education, through the attractor of digital story I found Scalars usability for teaching hugely inspiring.

 

From researching about ‘Teaching with Scalar’ it became obvious how it supports radical pedagogies, de-centralized and student centered learning. Through the multiple user functionality and having been built with scholars in mind it intuitively supports collaborative project based work and communities of learners. It also encourages students to deeply engage with how they use digital media and to take ownership of their work.

 

I am so far very impressed by scalar and I will most definitely be researching this more as a possible platform for my digital artifact.

 

Omeka

 

Omeka is a Swahili word meaning “to display or lay out wares; to speak out; to spread out; to unpack.” This free open source web-publishing platform really supports the digital humanities sector in that it allows information that may have once been kept for the select few to be made freely available for public view online – opening up our cultural history, moving beyond space, time and financial barriers. Omeka has greatly contributed to the cultural heritage sector and intends in its future plans to continue along this route. (omeka.org)

 

It is typically used for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions, lying at the intersection of web content management, collections management, and archival digital collections. The beauty is that the system can be used and managed by people who do not have a particularly high IT level, making it even more accessible and user friendly for many in the digital humanities area.

 

For my digital artifact I can see how Omeka could be useful for storing the collected stories, I like it because it is a very reliable and sustainable, free digital tool. However the only aspect that I feel is lacking is the front-end design, which I believe could be more visually appealing and dynamic in its nature.

 

NGram

 

Ngram Viewer looks at the algorithm of words over time. The amount of times words come into use – visually portraying a time line. It opens up the world of computational linguistics, allowing linguistic data, which could possibly hold a lot of meaning for digital humanist researchers to be effortlessly calculated and beautifully presented, as it is done in the Google NGram viewer. (books.google.com)

 

For traditional humanists this type of research would have been impossible, or near impossible to access. For my thesis I can see how ngram could be a very useful tool to search through the stories presented by the students to see if any patterns or algorithms present themselves.

 

Text Encoding Initiative

 

The text encoding initiative facilitates the searching of documents, handwritten and manuscripts for example, allowing digital scholars to generate new meaning from once static texts. This is being used in crowdsourcing projects such as the collection of letters from 1916. (letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie)

 

 

Neatline

 

Neatline is a digital mapping software that facilitates the creation of “beautiful, complex maps, image annotations, and narrative sequences from Omeka collections of archives and artifacts” (neatline.org)

It is a great tool for digital humanists as it allows stories to be told in new ways, visually mapping timelines and concepts. This would be a great addition to my digital artifact, as it would facilitate the mapping of the children’s stories, or even possibly creating a map of the cosmos.

 

These are just a flavor of the many open source digital tools that are freely available to the digital humanities sector, transforming how we research, process, present and store information in the humanities field. The tools themselves are enabling communities to come together regardless of location, time and financial barriers, to interact in new ways and crowd source information. Tools such a ngram are providing new meaning to information that would have never been correlated without digital technology.

 

 

References:

 

Google Ngram(2016) (online) Available https://books.google.com/ngrams Accessed 28 NOV 2016

Maynooth University (2016) (online) Letters 1916 Available http://letters1916.maynoothuniversity.ie/ Accessed 12 DEC 2016

Neatline (2016) (online) Available http://neatline.org/ Accessed 8 DEC 2016

Omeka (2016) (online) Available https://omeka.org/ Accessed 5 DEC 2016

Scalar (2016) (online) Available http://scalar.usc.edu/ Accessed 12 DEC 2016

Text Encoding Initiative (2016) (online) Available http://www.tei-c.org/index.xml Accessed 12 DEC 2016

Scalar Platform Guided Tour (2012) (online) Available at Vimeo https://vimeo.com/45263290 Accessed on 12 DEC 2016

Teaching and Researching with Scalar (2015) (online) Available at You Tube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzasOeplWgg#t=162.644172 Accessed 8 DEC 2016

 

 

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