MetaTalk Podcast 2: On Volkswagen and Structuration

Well, it would seem I somehow entered the title wrong on SoundCloud, but I hope that isn’t too big an issue. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my presentation.

Answers to Follow-up Questions

On content: I had previously examined the Volkswagen crisis for my leadership essay. But applying structuration theory helped me to get a clearer sense of how different elements of an organization can all interact, whether intentionally or not, to cause serious problems, especially when people’s interests go unchecked. It was one of the first times I have actually applied a theory to a real issue and attempted to analyze it using said, and I hope mostly that I chose a decently fitting model for the questions at hand. I found it a challenge to decide whether or not it would actually fit, but saw information within this theoretical framework, as provided by McArthur (2014) regarding examining an organization’s culture, meaning-making mechanisms and power structures, so felt it the best match I could find.

First, as a blind person I use what is called a refreshable Braille display to render my material as I read it. This explains some of why I might lag at times, as the dots can drag a bit in changing lines and I have to wait for them to change. Each time I do a presentation though, I get a little better at mitigating this.

In attempting to put together this presentation based on the analytical information I located within McArthur’s (2014) workbook, I decided to write the entire transcript into my iPhone and record it into an app called Bossjock, because of its ability to export to SoundCloud. This app has many useful functions for one who is producing audio-related media, such as the ability to fade in and out music at beginning and ending of programs. It is ideal for podcast creation, on which I have taken a class or two but continue trying to learn.

This was also the first time I read from copy, rather than creating an outline, and I think on the whole it produced smoother results than I’ve usually achieved. I could probably have practiced the transcript a time or two more to truly iron out all of the kinks, but feel pretty confident in the idea that I at least wasn’t entirely monotonous, an issue I continue to work on improving.

So certainly I learned that producing a full transcript does make things easier, I think especially in the case of recorded presentations such as this. What you lose in extemporaneous chatter, you gain in producing a coherent message. I will think of this as another tool in my toolbox, deciding on a speech-by-speech basis whether to deploy a transcript or create a loose outline that allows me to have more wiggle room in what is said. I have, after all, often been good at figuring out what the audience’s response would likely be; humor, sadness, etc., to a given statement, and especially when in person I need that flexibility to adjust to how they actually respond. I know that this sort of practice is nearly impossible to achieve within an online setting, but learning to operate as one would in a radio environment is useful to me too with my long goal of getting into NPR. So on the whole I still appreciate the experience.


Author: johnmill79

33, currently residing in Durham, NC. I have a somewhat tedious job, but it's helping me live a bit of the good life until I get things going. Here, I'll blog about things I encounter in my daily life, my continuous search for a career path, entertainment, books I like, etc. Hope you enjoy.

One thought on “MetaTalk Podcast 2: On Volkswagen and Structuration”

  1. Thank you John for your oral presentation! I like that you introduced the audience to the Volkswagen communications crisis and broke down each response from Volkswagen by referring to the structural theory. I specifically liked that you provided suggestions for the organization for the future; for example: seeking an individual that upholds the organizations values. Oral presentations require the speaker to present a lot of information and I believe you did a thorough job of discussing the ways Volkswagen quote-on-quote ‘failed’ in terms of their communication strategies! To conclude, I agree–organizations should always seek representatives that will uphold their visions and values!


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