Saturday, October 13, 2007

Authenticity and influence

I have been struggling recently to write this blog, sort of have half arsed ideas that I write about but lack cohesion. So I have a bunch of postings in draft of the rambling variety. But there are some observations and things I have been thinking about related to my research (I can almost hear the yawns -I know I find myself tedious don't worry about it) that I'd like to share.

Here's the thing: there is a word I have heard used in a couple of different scenarios. I have subsequently used it in order to influence an individuals perception of the validity of a piece of work I have been involved in. The word is authenticity. I will no doubt find myself writing about this more formally as my methodology chapter takes shape. As someone who is heavily immersed in the world of storytelling and capturing stories I am always aware of the power of the authenticity of a story told, I perhaps have just not articulated this much yet. As I say this is pretty early days thinking and I have recently discovered colleagues in my own institution who know a great deal more about this stuff. I guess it is similar to what the press experience in terms of 'human interest' type stories.

The second time this word was used was yesterday when attending a 'Influencing and negotiating' training day - it was okay as these things go, 8 hours of pop psychology in 8 easy to do group work activities. It was fun, no it was funny, belly laughs, mirroring each others body language etc etc learning the tools of influence and possible manipulation. But again what came up was this: if you pretend to be someone other than yourself you will probably not be trusted - this was not, incidentally, what the facilitator told us to be true, more our collective realisation of the value of authenticity. Strange it is pretty hard to figure out your authentic self - but that is a whole other topic.

Okay. As is often the case in this blog I am not exactly sure where I am going with this stream of consciousness. But what I find is often the case is when you start to see patterns in what people are saying around you then you are on the verge of discovering or at least making sense of or understanding something, However as a researcher of the qualitative variety recognising the value of the real-lived and authentic experience in terms of research data is important.

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