Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

An Unacceptable Message

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

downloadCrisis management is an important component of most organizations, including contemporary government. Policy makers must understand how to effectively supervise operational aspects of the crisis communication process. To do this, the government must quickly address what went wrong openly and honestly with the public, as well as with the media. Furthermore, it must account for its actions and implement well-organized strategies for improvement. The recent news coverage surrounding Edward Snowden’s decision to flee to China for leaking National Security Agency (NSA) documentation may be a relevant illustration of how the current U.S. administration chooses to manage crisis.

Edward Snowden, 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, admitted to being the source behind the leaked classified documents concerning the NSA’s surveillance programs. Snowden–who is currently seeking asylum–revealed the existence of top-secret U.S. government surveillance programs that collects records of domestic telephone calls in the United States, as wells as monitor online activity abroad–including various high-level targets in China. Snowden, who was currently living in Hong Kong, is hoping to avoid extradition to the United States. According to Woolf (2013), Snowden said that he chose Hong Kong because they have a strong-willed determination to free speech and they are not prosecuted for political opposition. Moreover, he believes that Hong Kong is in a position to counter the demands of the U.S. government.

According to Rickard (2004), reacting quickly to a crisis situation is crucial in order to minimize damage and the United States government wasted no time in reacting to the media about its concerns about the leaks. The U.S. government made it clear that Snowden be returned immediately and was pressuring the Chinese Government to honor the U.S.’s request to extradite Snowden. Government officials contended that when Snowden stole and distributed these highly sensitive documents, he broke the law and needs to be punished. As a result, he is now charged with espionage for divulging secret U.S. surveillance information (Yip, 2013).

However, Chinese rights advocates, political activists, and one of China’s leading newspapers–The Global Times– were pressuring the government not to return Snowden to America, arguing that Snowden uncovered some deeply disturbing information and should be protected the same way a corporate whistleblower would; furthermore, allowing the extradition to take place, would send an unacceptable message that China openly supports U.S. secret surveillance activities (Saul, 2013).

In a bid to protect the U.S. government’s reputation, account for its actions, and try to build support for their position, The Obama administration and U.S. intelligence community responded to the media concerning growing questions, nationally and internationally, about the secret operations of the NSA and whether the agency was infringing on American civil liberties. However, the hopes to build credibility and trust may prove unsuccessful as it appears that the U.S. government has not been completely honest. U.S. officials have now admitted that NSA has and continues to collect the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans, as well as gather data from various countries abroad. In the post era of 911, the reality of this new surveillance environment is now becoming more evident, and to some, seemingly more justifiable (Adams, 2013).

It is critical for an organization to state its position and to focus on the benefits of its actions to the people (Rickard, 2004). Obama, top legislators and national security officials tried to achieve this premise in the hopes to counteract the allegations against them. They stated that these surveillance platforms are required in deterring and stopping terrorism activities. They have adamantly specified that internet communications of U.S. citizens and residents were and are not targeted sources. In an attempt to reassure the American people, Obama stated that the U.S. government is not listening to individuals’ phone calls. Furthermore, U.S. government officials stressed the point that the law permits the collection of data as long as the federal court approves it. The U.S. government’s justifications for these actions are fairly straightforward–the loss of some privacy is a relatively small price to pay if U.S. government is to uphold its obligation to provide and secure the safety of its citizens (Carter & Cratty, 2013).

If an organization’s objectives are to provide an environment for open discourse, it is always advisable that the government–or any institution for that matter–listen to the concerns of the public, take them into consideration, and reply to them accordingly (Seeger, 2006), but according to various news outlets, it appears that the U.S. government has not entirely followed this line of reasoning. It has failed in its responsibility to share this information with the public for reasons unknown. Although U.S. government officials have staunchly defended phone and internet surveillance programs, they have offered nothing in the way of an explanation as to the agendas behind these actions. The Washington Post says that it is still unclear why the phone surveillance programs were kept hidden from Americans until now. Now that this information has come to light, many people are questioning why the U.S. government needs mass amounts of personal information on its citizens in the first place. There might be a sound liberty and safety argument for the implementation and use of these surveillance programs; however, the government has yet to offer clarification as to why Americans have not been provided the opportunity to asses if the security benefits of these programs are worth the loss of some liberties (Editorial Board, 2013).

In addition to the China’s request for clarification of these surveillance activities, Chinese officials have also demanded an explanation for Snowden’s allegation that the U.S. has hacked computers in Hong Kong and China. The U.S. government however, refused to respond to the allegations that it had hacked into some main Chinese telecoms companies to access text messages. Furthermore, U.S. authorities have refused to provide an explanation concerning reports that it attempted to monitor activities at one of China’s top universities, as well as hack into the Hong Kong headquarters of Pacnet (Yip, 2013). In place of offering up an explanation, the U.S. government has decided to focus its comments on Honk Kong’s responsibility to uphold its commitment to international extradition laws.  According to U.S. officials, failing to do so could obscure the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Not wanting to jeopardize its relationship to the US, China has chosen not to provide any specific comments on the position it is taking with regards to Snowden, or if it plans to get involved with the extradition process. However, the Chinese government did respond to its apparent displeasure with the United States hacking allegations. Furthermore, the Chinese government is troubled that the U.S. authorities have failed to give any explanation or offer any apology. The Chinese government stated it would discuss this matter further with Washington (Li & Wu, 2013).

Finally, after carefully weighing its options, the Chinese government made the decision not to extradite Snowden to the U.S. and allow him to leave Hong Kong because U.S. authorities made a mistake in their request in that it did not fulfill the appropriate legal requirements. According to Chinese officials, China does value its relations the U.S.; however, deporting Snowden to the U.S., would have been an unpopular move in China (Chan, 2013).

The Los Angeles Times reported that the U.S. government denounced China’s assertion that the U.S. did not meet all the legal requirements between the two countries. A press secretary for the Whitehouse stated that the U.S. government places no credibility in the claims by the Chinese government and that the decision not to extradite Snowden was a deliberate act by Hong Kong. And because China deliberately violated an international extradition pact, it could place serious strains on the relationship between the China and the U.S. (Serrano & Loiko, 2013).

According to Wee (2013), China was quick to refute this allegation saying that the U.S. had no reason to question why Hong Kong did not extradite Snowden to the U.S. A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that the U.S. should respect China’s decision as it handled the situation according to the law. Ultimately, authorities from China and the U.S. agreed that this back and forth rhetoric would subside as neither country would wish to have any long lasting damage to their relationship. Furthermore, a return to normalcy will help to alleviate further concerns over the existing crisis (Rickard, 2004).

The U.S. decision to hide facts about the use of surveillance programs to collect data on its citizens, as well as hack into communication technologies abroad may have ultimately damaged its reputation. It is crucial for any contemporary institution in crisis to understand how to appropriately handle potentially damaging situations. This involves identifying problems and then developing and executing a plan of action to deal with them. Institutions should act with integrity, be held accountable, and create and maintain a partnership with the public and the media if it hopes to minimize the consequences of the crisis and ultimately, uphold its credibility and reputation.


Woolf, N. (2013, June). Edward Snowden: The NSA whistleblower unmasks. Newstatesman. Retrieved from:

Saul, H. (2013, June). Chinese state media warns against extradition of Edward Snowden. The Independent. Retrieved from:

Adams, P. (2013, June). US confirms Verizon phone records collection. BBC News. Retrieved from:

Editorial Board. (2013, June). The government needs to explain about the NSA’s phone data program. The Washington Post. Retrieved from:

Li, G. & Wu, V. (2013, June). Hong Kong rally backs Snowden, denounces allegations of U.S. spying. Reuters. Retrieved from:

Wee, SL. (2013, June). China and U.S. war over Snowden, but no lasting damage seen. Reuters. Retrieved from:

Chan, K. (2013, June). Snowden’s HK exit shows Chinese anger over spying. Yahoo news. Retrieved from:

Serrano, R., & Loiko, S. L. (2013, June). U.S. slams China in Edward Snowden case as mystery swirls. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved form:,0,1154437.story

Yip, B. (2013, June). U.S. pressures Hong Kong to extradite Edward Snowden. CBC News. Retrieved from:

Seeger, M. W. (2006). Best practices in crisis communication: An expert panel process. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 34(3), 232-244.

Rickard, M. (2004). Public relations & media toolkit. The Ontario Trillium Foundation, 1-33.



I think corporate social responsibility is an ethical framework for running an organization. Ideally, companies need to take responsibility for their effects on the environment and impact on social welfare.

But like most companies in a capitalistic system, the prime directive is always to act in the best interests of the stakeholders–and that interest of course is vast amounts of revenue. It is a system that works because it has to listen to the people who have invested interest in it. This by definition makes it a teleological structure. And I think that is good thing.

Companies that once pursued growth and success regardless of the cost to the environment are now being scrutinized. Organizations must look at the bottom line and the fact is very simple–disgruntled investors, consumers, employees, and communities are bad for profits.

Does that mean that corporate social responsibility is fodder for a chicken or and the egg debate? In the end, I don’t think it matters. What is important is that companies–because of their very nature– can be pushed towards a more sustainable future whether companies choose to hind behind a mask of ethical virtue or not. And in the end, it is good for everybody.

The Bottom Line

Posted: May 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

The culture of a business organization, or the way management looks at the world has everything to do with the values and practices shared by the members of the group. That is not to say individual differences will not be taken into account, but ultimately, the values and practices of the group should align with the mission and goals of the company.

And just what are the goals of most organizations? The only genuine answer is to provide goods and/or services and ultimately make money. In order to effectively do this, systems and processes need to be implemented to ensure “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” How those objectives are ethically met is clearly up to the organization. In a contemporary market that needs to be customer-focused, I believe it would be economical suicide not to consider a consequence-based approach to business.


The digital revolution has spawned a new generation of young people who have immersed themselves in modern-day technologies. According to Prensky, what he refers to as “digital natives,” may have a strong influence on shaping contemporary society. Unlike previous generations that may not be as comfortable in a virtual world, this multi-tasking net generation has surrounded itself and created a reliance on the internet by means of blogging, playing online games, downloading music, and using social media sites to interact (Ng, 2012, p. 1065). However, current concerns of safety, privacy, digital literacy and pedagogy continues to raise questions on how we, as a collective society, will need to further debate the value of digital technologies and the future impact it may have on society and culture.

Digital technology has brought many benefits and has offered its users a wide range of opportunities. Information communication technologies have generated innovative ways to learn, to develop new skills, to keep in touch with friends and family, and to develop new relationships. However, according to Selwyn (2009), there are concerns about both the inappropriate and challenging uses of the technology and the possible threats to young people’s security and safety that can permeate online (p.368). And as these technologies have eliminated borders on a large scale, safety issues may very well be an international concern.

Issues such as cyberbullying, cyberstalking, possible pedophile contact, and other unwarranted behaviors are major concerns with online use. On social network sites, disclosure of personal information is reaching a troubling level. As young people engage in increased interactive online use, the greater the chance they leave themselves open to unwanted contact by online strangers (Edur-Baker, 2009, p. 111).  As the technological environment continually expands, communication policies may need to be adapted to meet the complexities of these disturbing online patterns.

What needs to happen to alter current perceptions of ethical internet use, and ratify collective change? Changing online behaviors and adapting responsible online use may need to be established with proper education and supervision (Edur-Baker, 2009, p. 122). One way this may be achieved is by parents and educators having a stronger online presence and a greater exposure to contemporary information communication technologies to understand how these tools can be used to help keep the “digital native” generation safer from online dangers (Palfrey, 2008). Ultimately, additional research and current procedures may need to evolve to expand Internet safety.

Another area of concern is the radical effect that digital technologies are having on traditional forms of literacy and pedagogy. According to Selwyn (2009), new forms of technology have become a significant self-extension of the “digital native,” resulting in the disconnection and separation from formal instruction and institutions (p 368). Therefore, putting technologies into the classroom and allowing young people to effectively use current media may be of relevant importance to their learning experience (Palfrey, 2008). On the other hand, further concerns as to the appropriate use of technologies within a learning environment may also need to be addressed. For example, in some cases, modern-day technologies have led to a more passive consumption of information and a lack of appropriate skills needed to properly research and acquire legitimate online data (Selwyn, 2009, p. 372). As young people now have a wide variety of ways to access information, the current educational system may have to align itself and bridge the digital gap between the generations to accommodate how this more technologically fluent generation interacts with instruction, as well as with educators (Helsper & Eynon, 2009, p. 504). 

What may need to happen to achieve vital changes in current organizational structures is to develop innovative ways of working within institutions that meets the needs of “digital natives.”  In order to address these requirements, young people will need to have access to an extensive range of digital resources, which should be structured to support a more creative and collaborative approach to learning (Ng, 2012, p. 1067). However, Selwyn (2009) pointed out that it is not sufficient that young people are simply trained in new media; they need to be taught to develop critical and creative skills that will ultimately lead to a greater acquisition of credible information and knowledge (p. 374). Then again, due to the mass amounts of ambiguous and unreliable online sources, what are some possible directions institutions may move towards to help solve these issues? According to Palfrey (2008), having open access to published articles, as well as future research and development into products and software, may alleviate obscure online search results and effectively direct users to legitimate unrestricted online resources.

To successfully meet these promising pedagogical objectives, educators may need to understand the advantages that these new technologies offer the learning process and how they can benefit the overall learning environment. Not only will instructors need to acknowledge the fundamental importance of young people’s use of new technologies; educators will need to understand and model how to use new forms of media if they wish to help develop young people’s digital literacy (Ng, 2012, p 1077).  By doing this, educators and parents can play pivotal roles in helping guide young people toward a positive collaborative learning experience, thus helping to provide authentic meaning to digital information (Selwyn, 2009, p. 375).           

There are other aspects as to why educators will need to understand the huge impact technology will have on the future of pedagogy, and ultimately, how digital natives may learn in the future. According to Autry Jr. and Berge (2011), the traditional classroom environment that is currently limited to one geographical location may no longer be as effective as it once was (p. 462). Today’s tech-savvy individuals are better able to participate in greater social and active discourse from a more technologically advanced environment. It therefore seems fitting that the future of education and instruction may be headed towards utilizing more online course material. This virtual learning experience may help young people take a greater interest and responsibility in their work. Furthermore, it will help learners understand the materials from a different context and setting that allows for greater control and collaboration (Autry Jr & Berge, 2011, p. 463).  

There is little doubt that new forms of technology are radically re-shaping how information is distributed and processed. And as these changing media environments continue to influence communication, we must consider the consequences of socializing and learning in a virtual setting. Current issues of safety, privacy, digital literacy and pedagogy continue to be major causes for concern and are prompting society to re-evaluate its understanding of this new media. Additionally, this new generational immersion in digital technologies is challenging current institutions to adapt existing methodologies in order to remain relevant to young learners.  



Erdur-Baker, Ö. (2010). Cyberbullying and its correlation to traditional bullying, gender and frequent and risky usage of internet-mediated communication tools. New Media & Society, 12(1), 109-125. Retrieved from

Helsper, E.J., Eynon, R. (2010). Digital natives: where is the evidence? British educational research journal, 36(3), 503-520. Retrieved from


Palfrey, J. Born Digital. (2008, September 15). Born Digital [Video file]. Authors@Google. 61 min. Retrieved from

Selwyn, N. (2009) The digital native – myth and reality. Aslib Proceedings, 61(4), 364-379. Retrieved from

Ng, W. (2012) Can we teach digital natives digital literacy? Computer & Education, 59(3), 1065-1078. Retrieved from

 Autry Jr, A.J., Berge, Z. (2011) Digital natives and digital immigrants: getting to know each other, Industrial and Commercial Training, (43) 7,460 – 466. Retrieved from





Two Sides of The Same Coin

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


In the case of a decentralized organizational structure, there is a greater flexibility for employees to act and decide. Individuals are more motivated to take ownership of their work which leads to greater job satisfaction. But in the end, it is most certainly about corporate agendas and invested interests.

“The new value system” is openly embraced as a way to help top-level managers keep their eyes on the dollar and its impact on the company. However, if we are to accept this at face value and ignore the social reality of these practices, we may lose the ability to remain objective about a system that permeates and promotes a continuum of consumption.
Centralization or Decentralization; in the end, the only kind of structure that truly works is the one that questions the implications and pitfalls of capitalism.

It appears, at least to me, that dispersing the ideology of capitalism around in the guise of autonomy do little more than bring those in power and their influence a little bit closer to home.


YouTube may be a relative newcomer on the digital scene, but it has already embedded itself into our culture in a profound way. It has become a portal to communities where people can bond with peers, create and circulate video footage, and engage in public discourse. It would thus stand to reason that YouTube would be an ideal modern-day stage for democratic debate. However, various limitations of this new media platform may prove to be counterproductive and ultimately diminish a potentially powerful digital presence in the public sphere.

YouTube itself is a very democratic tool because it can allow anyone to post and communicate with others. It continues to establish an ever-expanding community where users can debate over various topics. In just a few years it has beat out MSN Video, Google Video and MySpace to become the leading video-posting platform. (Hess, 2009, p. 413).  However, according to Marlow (2009), as dominate technologies continue to expand and further ingrain itself on our culture, society may need to pay close attention to the cultural implications of these innovations (p. 308).

Furthermore, if our culture is to use contemporary technology as an effective vehicle for democracy, we many need to contemplate the societal consequences of a digital public sphere. According to Postman (1998), every benefit that any dominant technology offers has an equally profound drawback that should be taken into consideration (p. 1). That being said, it may then become necessary to understand what disadvantages any particular technology may create and to question if it is impeding our freedom (Sclove, 1995, p. 1). For example, even though YouTube allows for a free flow of ideas in an environment that has limited restraints; does it make society more democratic?  The answer to this may be no. One of the reasons for this may be found in its structure. According to Hess (2009), there have been instances where the government has used YouTube to post propagandistic video blogs. Many users felt that this was a serious infringement on personal space. Equally, and perhaps more disturbing, are the cases where the government has disabled the ability to respond to their videos. Users believe that this action taken by the government is a clear violation on their freedom of speech and contradicts the very ideology of democracy (p. 422). Furthermore, should users wish to indirectly respond to restricted videos via the use of other traditional media source materials, YouTube will remove any and all content that infringes on copyright policies, thus further limiting users’ ability to effectively argue their points of view (Hess, 2009, p. 426).

Another example of the ineffectiveness of YouTube as medium for democracy is that it discourages serious deliberation. Hess (2009) argues that in addition to the dismissal atmosphere of a playful and indifferent environment that YouTube generates, it is also a venue that supports insulting, crass and sometimes antagonistic interactions between its anonymous users. Furthermore, the overabundance of popular videos that lack in-depth content may play a large part in dismissing YouTube as a legitimate source for political discourse (p.431).

What separates modern-day technologies from other traditional forms is that consumers of technology are also the producers of it (Castells, 2005, p. 144). It is important to constantly gauge our relationship with technology and how it can change the social landscape. Sclove (1995) contends that as a collective society, we fail to question the psychological, cultural, and political effects that technology plays on our culture. (p. 2). If citizens fail to recognize the confines of new media such as YouTube, they may overlook other possibilities to affect real change from more traditional avenues of communication. Ultimately, we are in danger of losing our civil liberties and drastically altering our social landscape as we apathetically swap more effective forms of activism for merely posting on sites that hold little, if any, political weight (Hess, 2009, p. 428). The more we blindly enmesh ourselves with any type technology, the greater risk we have of ignoring the limitations of it, and of further distancing ourselves from objectivity. If society does not come to realize the potentially devastating implications of innovation, the effects may be too widespread to remedy (Federman, 2004, p. 2). Without this fundamental wisdom, the cost of ignorance and indifference may someday soon be too great to pay.


Federman, M. (2004, July 23). What is the meaning of the medium is the message? Retrieved from

Marlow, E. (1993). Media and culture. ETC: A Review of General Semantics, 50(3), 296-309. Retrieved from

Postman, N. (2008). Five things we need to know about technological change. Retrieved from

Sclove, R. (1995). Chapter one: Spanish waters, Amish farming: Two Parables of Modernity? In Richard E. Sclove Democracy and Technology (pp. 3-9) New York: Guildford Press. Retrieved from

Rantanen, T. (2005). The message is the medium: an interview with Manuel Castells. Global Media and Communication, 1(2), 135-147. Retrieved from

Hess, A. (2009). Resistance up in smoke: analyzing the limitations of deliberation on youtube. Critical Studies in Media Communications, 26:5, 411-434. Retrieved from


From Days of Saving Bunny

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized



The doctor’s note said that the elderly patient was in advanced dementia and that she should be moved to a nursing home. Having known the patient well, Marcia Carr, an experienced nurse, suspected that a potentially drastic error had been made.

Dealing with adversity and facing challenging decisions is nothing new for this veteran of the healthcare profession. In recognition of this, Marcia Carr will receive The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on Sunday, February 03, 2013 at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in Burnaby for her invaluable volunteer service for the Nikkei Healthcare and Housing Society.

Mrs. Carr a Japanese Canadian now 65, takes a moment to reflect back on her extraordinary nursing career which has spanned over 45 years. She has spent the last 18 of those years working as a Clinical Nurse Specialist servicing the whole Fraser Health Authority, from Burnaby to beyond Boston Bar.

At a young age, Marcia already had an idea of what she wanted to do with her life. “I have always wanted to be a healthcare provider of some sort,” she says with a faint smile. “At the age of six, I tried to resuscitate this very dead pet bunny by performing CPR. From that moment, I knew I was going to be a nurse.”

From her days of trying to revive a family pet to her many years in the nursing profession, she has been a volunteer at the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society for the last 15 years. The society is a voluntary, nonprofit institution, and its sole purpose is to look at health care and housing for Japanese Canadians in the Lower Mainland of B.C.

Mrs. Carr has been continually providing seniors with a culturally sensitive environment and comfortable atmosphere that ensures the best quality of life. Additionally, with her leadership in nursing gerontology, service as a member of the board of directors, and providing healthcare workshops, she will be recognized with The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The commemorative medal was designed to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her service to Canada. It is also meant to honour the contributions made by Canadians who represent the full range of our society.

Receiving this award and being recognized by the community has been an enormous honor and privilege for Mrs. Carr. “I believe very strongly that you need to give back to society,” she says. “The commitment that volunteers bring to many situations will hopefully make B.C. a better place to live for everyone. As much as I am honoured to get this award, it is important to understand that this medal represents a group effort, and as a group, I believe we can move mountains.”

To her co-workers, the medal comes as no surprise. Tom Teranishi, another member on the board of directors and a longtime friend, says that it would take days to list all the amazing work Marcia has done for the society.

“She has always proven to be a well-rounded professional,” he says. “I find her to be a very caring person and that she is always very sensitive to other people’s needs.”

With all the work Mrs. Carr has done over her many years of service, there are no signs that she plans to quit anytime soon. In fact, she says receiving this award has only fueled her passions for the next phase of the Nikkei Healthcare and Housing Society. Her plans to help renovate the Nikkei home to accommodate residents who have developed dementia may soon be a reality.

“I feel that I have a reasonable knowledge and experience in the care with older adults with dementia,” she says. “I am ready to step up in terms of whatever education and support is needed to help the staff and the families.”

It was that knowledge and experience that compelled her to Challenge a doctor’s diagnoses of a patient. She knew how cognitively intact the patient was, and there was no reason, as far as she was concerned, for the doctors to believe that she was in dementia. She did a full assessment of this patient, talked to the physicians, and the diagnosis was switched from dementia to delirium. The underlying cause of the delirium was, as she had suspected, an ongoing urinary tract infection.  They were able to treat this woman correctly and transition her back to the Nikkei home, where she continues to live and improve. That was Two years ago.

Although it is true that it takes many to move mountains, sometimes a singular effort is all it takes to change someone’s life.


Marcia Carr

Tom Teranishi

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee