What is the authentic organisation?

I attended a recent CIPD Event hosted by Clayton Glen of HDA, when he spoke about authentic organisations and the growth in employee brands looking to obtain all of these positive associations. 

Google and the Innocent smoothie company were given as leading examples of the practice in its more positive aspects whereas BP – struggling with the fallout from the oil spill in North America and the attention the spill has brought to their business practices – was sighted as perhaps having problems grappling with the issue of authenticity.

When trying to research this post I kept coming up with information on authentic leadership as opposed to information on organisations – until I stumbled across this post from the Authenticity Book and the 3 rules on the area (apologies in advance if this is something I have been living totally obliviously to but the rest of the world is aware of – thanks to Jim and Joe either way!).


Applying these rules works for me for most organisations –  though it can lead to an ugly truth, is there no alternative for businesses now to be anything but ‘authentic’?


Perhaps a reflection of a shift in the balance of the corporate conscience/CSR agenda in someways? With the explosion of the internet, demands from Gen Y of work life balance and business which will support this, being authentic requires more than just lip service it seems.


The alternative? Well maybe you can instill an image of success and endless profits…



… but in this instance access/information age we have the means to look a little closer.

For those above who did you will have guessed already that this photo was not taken when Lehman’s still existed (if not my trick worked!) – rather it is taken in the windows of Christies Auction House in South Kensington, London. For those of you who dont know what they do here is another photo to explain…



I know – £2000-£3000 for the sign alone!


But would Lehman not have once been considered, in some quarters, an authentic organisation? This is in the sense that they were authentically driven towards profit and had a very clear agenda in that regard, i.e. work hard , play hard, then work harder, play harder etc.

You might not agree with the agenda of chasing more and more dollars but at least you knew where you stood? And are they arguably more authentic than ever in their current state?

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