This one-day, interdisciplinary workshop aims at engaging business practitioners and academics from Cambridge and beyond to create a dialogue around the business and management implications arising from the blurring boundaries between reality and fiction in a “post-truth world”. Much of the current debate about “post-truth” is centered on the role of the media to explain its rise. We aim to bring discussion around post-truth, fake news, and fiction from the world of media to that of management.

Business leaders and managers typically seek objective evidence and reliable information to make informed decisions. But this becomes problematic when many of the facts may be “alternative facts” – fabricated, falsified, fictitious, distorted, and deceitful. The spread of fake news and misinformation via media platforms can undermine the very basis of rational analysis and constructive debate. It can erode decision makers’ sense of right and wrong, it can question the notion of evidence-based management; it can cast doubts about the validity of new management techniques such as big data analytics.

In addition, when media and technology companies are allegedly themselves active participants in the fabrication and purveyance of fake news and fictions, what are the new moral responsibilities that arise? To manage in the age of fiction is to gain a better understanding of how disinformation is consumed and produced as well as the ethical and moral fallouts involved.

The workshop is an invitation for practitioners, including business leaders, media executives, venture investors, advertising agency specialists, lobbyists, as well as policy makers, to participate in a new action and research agenda through a joint-academic practitioner exploration of this emergent phenomenon. Together, we aim to generate a deeper understanding of the mechanisms and implications of managing in an age of false information and alternative truths.

Speakers & panellists

The nature of the workshop will be interactive, using both panel and small round-table discussions. Currently our confirmed speakers and panelists include:

Dr Alexander Beaumont is an English Literature Lecturer in the school of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy at York, St John University. In recent years Alex has been studying the relationship between truth and politics as reflected in the work of Hannah Arendt.

Dr Tanya Filer is a Research Associate on the Leverhulme-funded Conspiracy and Democracy Project based at the Cambridge Center of Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). A key focus of her research is the intersection between digital technologies, democracy and political (mis)information.

Professor Andrew Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan at the Management & Organisations department at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Sustainable Systems group at the School of Environment and Sustainability. Andy is a leader in using organisational, network and strategic analyses to assess the implications of environmental issues for business, and has published 14 books and over 100 articles and book chapters on the topic. Prior to academics, Andy worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Region 1), Metcalf & Eddy Environmental Consultants, T&T Construction & Design, and the Amoco Corporation.

Luciano Oviedo performs corporate and business strategy processing at Intel Corporation, where he collaborates with leaders across diverse cultures and geographies to accelerate human health and performance by tackling provocative challenges for emerging markets and technologies such as (2D/3D) computational imaging, video analytics, cognitive computing and augmented reality.

Robert Phillips is a Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, City, University of London, and is a regular public speaker and media commentator. He was the CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest Public Relations firm, in the UK. He published Trust Me, PR is Dead and then co-founded Jericho Chambers.

Professor Juliane Reinecke is a professor of International Management and Sustainability at King’s Business School, King’s College London and a Research Fellow at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Guy Rolnik is a journalist, executive, entrepreneur, and a Clinical Professor at the University of Chicago. He founded Israeli media organisation The Marker and is a Deputy Publisher of the Haaretz daily newspaper.

Professor André Spicer is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and the founding director of ETHOS: The Centre for Responsible Enterprise at Cass Business School. He is a frequent commentator in global media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, and is invited to give speeches in range of settings like the UK House of Lords, the European Commission, the Mansion House, Occupy London and at universities around the world.

Programme

Some questions that the workshop will explore include:

  • What are the unique and novel aspects that fake news brings above and beyond other dimensions of strategic decision making such as ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity?
  • How are facts construed as fiction and fiction construed as facts? How can we discern between facts and fiction in a time of blurring boundaries between the two?
  • How can business leaders more effectively deal with false facts and false claims in a post-truth world?
  • How can business leaders make effective business decisions when the information they rely on might be tainted by distortions of reality, deceptions, misinformation, delusions or falsifications?
  • What is the role of evidence-based management when the role of facts, truths and expertise has become problematic?
  • How should businesses respond to post-factual, post-truth attacks on their business?
  • How can businesses (re-)establish trust of consumers, shareholders and other stakeholders, where everyone is suspected of spreading fake news?

Workshop organisers

Shahzad (Shaz) Ansari is a Professor of Strategy & Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Juliane Reinecke is a Professor of International Management & Sustainability at King’s Business School, King’s College London, and a Research Fellow at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Moshe Farjoun is a Professor of Strategy & Organization at the Schulich School of Business, York Canada, and a Visiting Research Fellow at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Register

Registration is free of charge, on a first-come first-served basis.

09:30-12:30 Morning session
13:30-16:30 Afternoon session
09:00-17:00 Full day

Register

Address

Trumpington St
Cambridge,
CambridgeshireCB2 1AG,
United Kingdom

Date & time

Date: 18 October 2017
Start Time: 09:00
End Time: 16:30

Audience

Open to: Practitioners, including business leaders, media executives, venture investors, advertising agency specialists, lobbyists, as well as policy makers

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Event location


Trumpington St
Cambridge,
CambridgeshireCB2 1AG,
United Kingdom

Event timings

Date: 18 October 2017
Start Time: 09:00
End Time: 16:30