Loyalty vs. expertise

It became quite normal these days to blame recruitment that rests on loyalty as something bad versus so called recruitment based on expertise as being good. Politicians are those mostly blamed most for such misconduct, but other professional public funded domains as well.

How come that loyalty has such a bad reputation as a selection criteria? Don’t we accept with our whole heart and brain that loyalty is basic value that keeps together families, companies, brands, friendships and many others? It seems that only when public funded bodies like come in play, we strongly believe that they should recruit on merit base and especially on expertise base primarily. Explanation is easy to conceive: we do not want that those that we subsidize would use our funds to secure their posts mainly. We feel that loyal staff would serve them and not us while we suppose that the main goal of publicly funded bodies is not our wellbeing but wellbeing of themselves.

On the other hand, we as stakeholders never blame non-subsidized entities and their representatives for such misconduct. Shareholders do, while they want to secure the value of their shares. Observing commercial entities, we follow basic branding theory and practice. We intuitively know that brands do not differentiate on expert, technical or functional level, but much more on emotional and experiential level. We, branding professionals, often say that technical perfection, expertise, quality… are (only) prerequisites. Brand cannot survive if it doesn’t meet quality standards of the segment it is a part of. The real added value starts and ends on the top of that, with loyalty; both internally and externally.

One could find many other examples whenever collaboration takes place. And collaboration takes place in all phenomena that is alive. Take cell collaboration for instance. It rests on loyalty. When loyalty breaks, cancer begins. Cancer cells are over professional but with lack of loyalty.

Public funded bodies are brands as much as any other memetic entity. They should rest on loyalty though and their members should take loyalty as major recruiting factor. But at the same time, we are acting as rational and in accordance to individual and collective interests if we do not allow them to act in accordance to branding principles. They should do both: recruit on loyalty principles and avoid recruiting on loyalty principles. Being public official is thus impossible task.

This is just another proof that publicly funded bodies should be avoided at any cost for any society. If politicians are on the private market at least at elections the rest of vast domain of public service is not. They all live in cognitive dissonance for they should be doing what they are prevented to do. But what is more striking that we all live in such cognitive dissonance while praising public sector regardless all proofs against.

Andrej Drapal

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