Browsing by Author "Macpherson, Iain"
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ItemCanadian post-secondary players in India: obstacles, issues, opportunities(2008) Scherf, K.; Macpherson, IainIn November 2007, the Canadian Bureau of International Educationorganized, along with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, a Forum on Canada-India Higher Education Linkages. At that Forum, it became evident that Canadian post-secondary institutions conducting academic business with and in India are facing a number of problems, both operational and policy-related. This paper seeks to identify those common problems, discuss remedies, and suggest the best ideas for moving forward with a view to improving the situation for Canadian institutions that wish to work in and with India. Findings, while drawing on secondarysource readings, are based especially upon 17 interviews, conducted during Spring 2008 with key figures in the field, from professors and postsecondary administrators to promotional agents and political officials. An interesting range of problems emerged, but most striking is the fragmented, scattershot approach to conducting academic business in India, both by the government and academic institutions. This lack of coordination is uncharacteristic of countries whose international education portfolios run sleekly and effectively. The federal government’s recent changes to visa policy related to international education is a very positive move, however. Our recommendations focus on continuing improvements to visa service and, especially, on addressing the lack of co-ordination in and between governments and post-secondary institutions. ItemCultural differences matter, and they don’t: Transcending polarized and polarizing cultural stereotypes in diversity training(2017) Macpherson, IainBased on reported primary and secondary research, this paper proposes an improvement to the way organizational diversity training (DT) is usually designed and delivered. The focused-upon DT shortcoming is its customary emphasis on instructing trainees about cultural differences in such a way that overstates and oversimplifies those differences, typically contributing to poor outcomes such as lack of change in participant attitudes and behaviour, or even a worsening of them (Kowal, Franklin, & Paradies, 2013). The proposed improvement is to instead instil in DT trainees a more accurately nuanced intercultural mindset that this author terms non-binary: an appreciation of how the world’s cultures are both distinct and alike, and how even the most basic differences are often underpinned by paradoxical similarities. By way of concrete example, the sub-construct of Japanese interiorized individualism is modelled. The paper concludes by discussing how such non-binary truths, and an accordant behavioural flexibility in cross-cultural interactions, might be fostered in DT trainees through non-traditional pedagogical approaches such as “embodied learning” (Wilson, 2013) and “paradoxical frames” (Miron-Spektor, Gino, and Argote, 2011). ItemIdeology and ambivalence in Japanese discourses on business globalization(2017) Macpherson, IainNeoliberalism’s subjective dimensions – what Foucault decades ago loosely conceptualized as the ‘entrepreneurial self’ (1978–1979/2008) – have only recently been empirically studied. Such work remains sparse, and moreover lacking in global contexts, mostly examining western selves in western societies. This article attempts accordingly to advance understanding of neoliberalism through discourse analysis of how the ideology is affirmed and/or rejected by Japanese ‘salarymen’ discussing work and business in Japan. Three interview analyses illuminate the successes and struggles of neoliberal inculcation in the less native soil of Japan, where management and political economy are less committed to free market principles than in the ‘Anglo-American’ sphere. Analysis is divided into three sections, each exploring the predominant orientation which respondents articulate toward Japan’s neoliberalization: affirmation, ambivalence, and neoliberalism qua neoconservatism. Attention is focused on the uncertainties, inconsistencies, or ironies participants explicitly or implicitly voice – for example, neoconservative sentiments ostensibly rejecting ‘Americanization’ yet aligning with neoliberal work intensification; or the simultaneous advocacy of neoliberalism and progressive, social liberalization. Examining such ideological entwinement or entanglement aids in mapping neoliberalism’s variegated contours in Japan. At the same time, this intercultural examination identifies rhetorical pressure points extant in any socio-cultural sphere, upon which to focus counter-claims against neoliberalism. ItemManet or Monet - does knowing the difference matter? An examination of cultural capital in popular discourse(2018) Wong, Francine; Macpherson, IainConsumer cultures are fueled by the anxiety of modern shoppers who purchase goods that best facilitate distinction from others. In an endless barrage of brands, all promising the potential of a "better self," how does one know which brand to choose? Advertisers are expert at manufacturing desire by creating symbolic links between their products and feelings of self-worth, particularly regarding true or subjectively perceived improvements in social status. This presentation reports secondary research of sources engaging Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of taste as an indicator of class and cultural capital as a means of social mobility. Evidence supporting the theory shows that individuals must possess cultural capital, in the form of academic or social knowledge, to identify cultural worth across different contexts. However, limitations to the real-world or current applicability of cultural capital include the failure of the concept to account for “low culture” or non-academic contexts. The presentation examines how in “high culture” contexts, the culturally savvy use the concept to establish class distinctions, whereas in low culture contexts, cultural capital as theorized by Bourdieu does little to merit one’s worth. Based on this analysis, I will offer a new look at the shifting currents of social media and how it can be used to convert the “subcultural capital” of grassroots campaigns into cultural capital by forcing academic concepts into news commentary, mainstream debate, and thus, popular consciousness. ItemSoftening power: Cuteness as organizational communication strategy in Japan and the West(2018) Macpherson, Iain; Bryant, Teri JaneThis paper describes the use of cute communications (visual or verbal, and in various media) as an organizational communication strategy prevalent in Japan and emerging in western countries. Insights are offered for the use of such communications and for the understanding/critique thereof. It is first established that cuteness in Japan–kawaii–is chiefly studied as a sociocultural or psychological phenomenon, with too little analysis of its near-omnipresent institutionalization and conveyance as mass media. The following discussion clarifies one reason for this gap in research–the widespread conflation of ʻorganizational communication’ with advertising/branding, notwithstanding the variety of other messaging–public relations, employee communications, public service announcements, political campaigns–conveyed through cuteness by Japanese institutions. It is then argued that what few theorizations exist of organizational kawaii communications overemphasize their negative aspects or potentials, attributing to them both too much iniquity and too much influence. Outside of Japan studies, there is even less up-to-date scholarship on organizational cuteness, critical or otherwise. And there are no such studies at all, whether focused on Japan or elsewhere, that integrate intercultural insights. In a preliminary contribution toward such knowledge, we discuss the understudied, longstanding, and increasing use of this strategy by western companies. Points of comparison and contrast with Japanese kawaii are highlighted, in both its organizational and pop-cultural aspects, drawing also on sociological studies of the west’s current cuteness craze. Guiding insights are offered and future research directions specified, both for those seeking to advise western organizations in communicating cutely, and for those concerned that such softening power will be abused. ItemStart-ups, stagnancy, and storytelling strategies: Anglo-American business news writing on Japanese entrepreneurialism(2016) Macpherson, IainThis paper reports research into the written reporting on Japanese entrepreneurialism in western, English-language business news. After explaining the author’s method of sampling from a six-year survey of major-circulation newspapers and business magazines, the project’s main methodology is described – a qualitative form of rhetorical research known as Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), focused on uncovering and critiquing the ideological biases and presuppositions, both explicit and implicit, in texts such as business news stories. The paper’s following analytic section then applies many of the explained CDA concepts to close discursive analysis of one news article on Japanese entrepreneurialism, randomly selected from a larger set of studied sources, with comparative insights drawn from two other news articles also randomly selected for close analysis. ItemA strategic communication model for sustainable initiatives in higher education institutions(2017) Mazo, Lucille; Macpherson, IainCommunicating sustainable initiatives in higher education institutions presents a challenge, given that few to no universities possess or maintain a strategic communication plan that addresses the need to share this information effectively to stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community advocates). Drawing on secondary and primary research across universities in three countries, each representing distinct regional and national orientations – Canada, Ecuador, and Ukraine – the authors explain a sustainability/environmental communication model designed to be flexible enough for universal application, while providing strategic guidelines tailored to higher education institutions in each of its four described steps. The strategic communication model is informed by the critical synthesis of secondary research into two main areas of literature: (1) strategic communication theory and best practice; and (2) the organizational dissemination of sustainability initiatives, particularly within post-secondary institutions. Such secondary literature informs, and is in turn contributed to by, the authors’ primary research that was conducted, which consists of three parts: (1) discourse analysis of relevant institutional documents and promotional materials; (2) interviews about current practices in sustainability-related communication, conducted with higher education sustainability administrators; and, (3) focus groups with students, examining participant awareness and assessment of their institution’s sustainability communications. Based on such study, the authors advance a strategic communication model for sustainable initiatives, which comprises a four-step process based on a series of eight questions, with the first step providing comprehensive explication of a seven-component strategic planning framework that scales downward from the most abstract considerations to concrete tactics. In summary, the primary- and secondary-research data suggests that most universities, even if they implement sustainability initiatives or officially incorporate environmentalism into their institutional identity statements (mission, vision, etc.), fail to communicate these actions informatively and persuasively, thereby establishing widespread need for this paper’s offered strategic guidance.