Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year

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After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

Why was this chosen?

The concept of post-truth has been in existence for the past decade, but Oxford Dictionaries has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States. It has also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase post-truth politics. 

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Post-truth has gone from being a peripheral term to being a mainstay in political commentary, now often being used by major publications without the need for clarification or definition in their headlines.

The term has moved from being relatively new to being widely understood in the course of a year – demonstrating its impact on the national and international consciousness. The concept of post-truth has been simmering for the past decade, but Oxford shows the word spiking in frequency this year in the context of the Brexit referendum in the UK and the presidential election in the US, and becoming associated overwhelmingly with a particular noun, in the phrase post-truth politics.

A brief history of post-truth

The compound word post-truth exemplifies an expansion in the meaning of the prefix post- that has become increasingly prominent in recent years. Rather than simply referring to the time after a specified situation or event – as in post-war or post-match – the prefix  in post-truthhas a meaning more like ‘belonging to a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant’. This nuance seems to have originated in the mid-20th century, in formations such as post-national (1945) and post-racial (1971).

Post-truth seems to have been first used in this meaning in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation magazine. Reflecting on the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, Tesich lamented that ‘we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world’. There is evidence of the phrase ‘post-truth’ being used before Tesich’s article, but apparently with the transparent meaning ‘after the truth was known’, and not with the new implication that truth itself has become irrelevant.

A book, The Post-truth Era, by Ralph Keyes appeared in 2004, and in 2005 American comedian Stephen Colbert popularized an informal word relating to the same concept: truthiness, defined by Oxford Dictionaries as ‘the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true’. Post-truth extends that notion from an isolated quality of particular assertions to a general characteristic of our age.

The shortlist

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Here are the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year shortlist choices, and definitions:

adulting, n. [mass noun] informal the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

alt-right, n. (in the US) an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content.

Brexiteer, n. British informal a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.

chatbot, n. a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

coulrophobia, n. [mass noun] rare extreme or irrational fear of clowns.

glass cliff,  n. used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high.

hygge, n. [mass noun] a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture):

Latinx, n. (plural Latinxs or same) and adj. a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina); relating to people of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).

woke, adj. (woker, wokest) US informal alert to injustice in society, especially racism.

This article was originally shared on OxfordDictionaries.com on Wednesday 16th November.

[Image source: oxforddictionaries.com]

Health Ageing and Aged Care: An Introduction

Healthy Ageing and Aged Care takes an inter-disciplinary approach to supporting older people within the community and in care. It represents current Australian and New Zealand policies and practices and takes a holistic view of the older person, and emphasises the positive aspects of the ageing process, maintaining that people age in healthy ways and continue to be an integral part of their families and communities. This is one of the rewarding aspects of working with older people—assessing accurately and collaboratively putting in place strategies that can maintain the person’s quality of life. The goal is for you to be able to develop those skills by engaging with the material in this book.

Accompanying videos and audio recordings on www.oxfordascend.com give life to case studies in the text. They enhance the learning experience for the student audience by providing an opportunity to see the complexities and idiosyncrasies of situations relevant to older people and their carers.

Want to know more? Watch Maree and Denise introduce the text and discuss their motivations in creating this blended learning experience.

Australian Foreign Policy and the New International Disorder

9780195596243Australia’s foreign policy elites could be forgiven for thinking that they live in especially challenging times. The current international order appears to throw up a number of problems that not only defy easy resolution but also threaten to overturn many of the ideas and principles that have underpinned policy-making in Australia for many decades. To be sure, the challenges of the past – especially the two World Wars and the Cold War’s proxy conflicts in Asia – should not be belittled; indeed, they seem to dwarf many of thechallenges confronting contemporary policy-makers. Yet what appears to have been lost, to quote British sociologist Anthony Giddens (1991), is Australian foreign policy–makers’ sense of ‘ontological security’: the knowledge of what to expect in a rapidly changing world where established structures and institutions seem to be crumbling. This anxiety is a significant phenomenon of our time, whether or not the developments we now observe in international politics prove to be epochal.

Perhaps the most obvious transformation worrying Australian foreign policy–makers is the apparent weakening of the US-centred security order in East Asia and the re-emergence of China as a major power in the region. As Nick Bisley’s chapter argues, in the period 2011–15 we have seen the first expressions of a growing Chinese willingness to challenge the status quo, most notably in the East and South China Seas, unsettling Japan, several Southeast Asian states and others in the process. Challenges to the Western- dominated international order have also emerged in Europe, where Russia unilaterally annexed Crimea, taking it from the Ukraine in March 2014, despite strong protests from the European Union (EU) and the United States. Although Australia has cleaved ever closer to its long-standing ally, some commentators have argued that the dissonance between the US alliance and Australia’s close economic relationship with China will grow (White 2015), potentially forcing tougher choices in the future.

Also disconcerting to policy-makers has been the emergence or intensification of a range of transnational, ‘non-traditional’ security problems, including terrorist groups such as Islamic State, climate change, environmental degradation, pandemics and even, for some, irregular migration. These problems are rarely the result of intentional aggression from another state, but are either the undesirable externalities of economic development or are associated with the activities of non-state groups. They are usually not seen to threaten the state’s very survival, but do undermine its real or perceived capacity to protect national populations. Traditional security responses, such as deterrence or alliance- formation, are usually seen as no longer appropriate for these issues, and nor are responses focusing strictly on intergovernmental diplomatic relations. As a result, Australian foreign policy–making has expanded beyond the traditional ‘three Ds’ – diplomacy, defence and development assistance – to include a range of new departments which previously had a more restricted domestic role. The most significant example from the last five years is the fast-evolving and internationalising Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Meanwhile, as Michael Wesley’s chapter shows, traditional foreign policy actors in Australia, such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), have had to acquire new ways of implementing and developing policy, as well as establishing new relationships with other agencies inside and outside the Australian bureaucracy, producing new challenges of coordination.

Adding to the broader sense of volatility and uncertainty in Australian foreign policy– making circles in recent years has been the rapid turnover at the top: in the five years since 2010, Australia has had five prime ministers and four foreign ministers. To be sure, there has been considerable continuity in how Australian governments of both the centre-left (the Australian Labor Party) and the centre-right (the Liberal–National Coalition) have approached key foreign policy issues, most notably the US alliance and the treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat. Even where policy differences between the major parties have been small in practice, however public debate has often been sharply polarised, as Lorraine Elliott explains in regard to climate change. Traditionally, foreign policy–making in Australia was seen as an elite pursuit, dominated by a handful of policy-makers and bureaucrats with limited scrutiny, even by Parliament (Firth 2005). Yet, increasingly the public discourse surrounding foreign policy issues has taken on populist tones, as the issues, and the way they are managed, are seen as having implications for Australians’ everyday lives. This, we argue, reflects the blurring of the distinction between domestic and foreign policies wrought by the growing complexity associated with public policy-making in an interconnected, globalised world. It is, in other words, another manifestation of the same processes that have made foreign policy–making appear more challenging in general.

Specifically, the tighter interplay between the domestic and foreign policy arenas has broadened the range of interests and groups with a stake in the way many foreign policy issues are managed. This has two important and interrelated implications: first, it is clear that attaining coherent, ‘national’ positions on most issues of consequence is becoming more difficult in practice than in the past. Second, from a normative perspective, governments’ claims to be acting in the ‘national interest’ internationally are becoming even more problematic. As Ramesh Thakur’s chapter in this volume outlines, in reality the idea of a distinctive national interest has always reflected contested choices and preferences,

manifesting political and normative differences over what could or should be done. As Andrew Phillips’ chapter reminds us, foreign policy has been part of the construction of particular national identities and social relations within Australia since before Federation. Yet the relationship between foreign policy and identity-construction at home is becoming more contentious, as it is increasingly apparent that acting in the national interest actually advances only some interests within Australian society.

Mindful of these developments, we have decided to break with tradition and make this the first edition of Australia in World Affairs since the series began in 1950 to be organised around key themes and issues in Australia’s international relations and foreign policy, rather than around Australia’s bilateral relations. The most important issues today encompass a set of processes and relations that cannot be simply or adequately captured through an emphasis on the relations between two or more governments. For example, Australia’s bilateral relations with Indonesia were obviously affected by its policy of unilaterally towing boats carrying asylum seekers back into Indonesian waters from late 2013. But it clearly makes more sense to examine this development and its implications in the context of Australia’s broader response to irregular migration, which encompasses domestic debates and policy changes, international legal aspects, and relations with several countries, including Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Nauru; to name but a few. Sara Davies’ chapter takes on this challenge.

Nonetheless, conscious of our duty to produce a journal of record and a reference tool for diverse readerships, we provide a chronology of important events in Australia’s international relations and foreign policy for the period 2011–15 and a list of prime ministers and relevant ministers. We also encourage readers interested in Australia’s relations with particular countries or regions, such as Southeast Asia, to make use of the detailed index.

In this introductory chapter, we trace some of the key elements of the emerging new international disorder that Australian foreign policy–makers are learning to navigate. We then consider how Australian governments have understood and responded to these changes and the normative implications of these policy responses.

A LESS PREDICTABLE WORLD ORDER

Australia now seems to be facing a more uncertain international environment than it has done for decades. Serious transnational threats that are beyond the capacity of Australian policy-makers to alleviate single-handedly seem to be multiplying, while the rise of China appears to challenge the long-standing US-led security order in Asia. Both potentially undermine traditional approaches to foreign policy–making in Australia.

Although the emerging international order has multiple sources, particularly important are the effects of the end of the Cold War and the deepening and intensification of a range of processes subsumed under the rubric of ‘globalisation’ (see Held et al. 1999). The end of the Cold War had been seen by some observers as reflecting the triumph of liberal capitalism as ‘the end of history’ (Fukuyama 1992). As non-capitalist alternatives were weakened and the threat of large-scale war between the superpowers receded, many states, especially the United States, were able to refocus their foreign policies towards opening up markets for ‘their’ corporations in other countries (Smith 2005).Thus, during the 1990s there was a noteworthy, though partial, shift in the priorities of policy-makers around the world, from geopolitics to geoeconomics (Luttwak 1990). Geoeconomics is distinguished from geopolitics in that the latter emphasises power in the context of a territorially demarcated state system, whereas the former emphasises power underpinned by control over trans-border flows and markets (Cowen and Smith 2009). The shift to geoeconomics has also entailed a change in the way security is understood, from a near- exclusive focus on the threat posed by powerful states towards a more comprehensive view of security that includes a range of border-spanning, often non-state, security problems, such as environmental degradation, climate change, organised crime, terrorism, infectious disease and even irregular migration (Cowen and Smith 2009; Hameiri and Jones 2015b).

In short, what we have seen is a partial change both in policy-makers’ perceptions of the international economic and security environments and in the ways in which they seek to deal with these issues. This process of globalisation continues today, despite the apparent decoupling of emerging economies from the traditional centres in the North Atlantic since the onset of global financial crisis. First, the perception of transnational vulnerability to new security problems is now firmly established and not subject to the ebb and flow of interstate economic relations. Second, the winding down of the US Federal Reserve’s program of quantitative easing appears to have affected investment in emerging economies, leading to significant economic downturn, especially in Brazil, which has seen its gross domestic product (GDP) go into negative territory. In China, meanwhile, current economic wobbles and a long-term crisis of over-capacity suggest that the government stimulus program could not forever defy the downward pressures on economic growth wrought by declining demand in the West. Andrew Walter’s chapter outlines some of these issues.

As Cold War strictures dissolved, however, the relationship between what we might describe as ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ in international politics also changed. Traditionally, international relations scholars and policy-makers have understood both structure and agency in world politics as constituted by inter-state relations. Now, however, internal and external transformations associated with globalisation have eroded the neat separation of the world into territorialised ‘power containers’, which the Cold War had reinforced (Giddens 1985; Agnew 1994). As a result, even for the most powerful states, the outputs of foreign policy decisions have become more complex and unpredictable. A clear example is provided by the second Iraq war, widely regarded as one of the most catastrophic failures of US foreign policy of recent times, possibly ever (Stiglitz and Bilmes 2008). Although US and allied forces were far superior militarily to their rivals, the US goal of establishing a liberal democracy in Iraq has proven elusive. This conflict has spilled over into a more generalised regional instability, involving new actors such as the Islamic State, which defies obvious means of resolution.

The United States’ inability to attain key foreign policy objectives, or even to contain the negative consequences of earlier failures, amplifies the challenges and dilemmas facing Australian policy-makers.

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This extract is taken from Navigating the New International Disorder, the latest volume in the Australia In World Affairs series.

Edited by:

Mark Beeson, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia.
Shahar Hameiri, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Graduate Centre in Governance and International Affairs, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland.

Australian Institute of International Affairs

The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) is an independent, non-profit organisation promoting interest in, and understanding of, international affairs in Australia.

It provides a forum for discussion and debate but does not develop or promote its own institutional views. Each year, the AIIA stages more than 200 public and specialist lectures, seminars and other events around Australia. It also sponsors leading research and publications, including the Australian Journal of International Affairs and the Australian Outlook blog. Established in 1924, it is the only nationwide organisation of its kind in Australia and has been recognised as one of the leading think tanks in Southeast Asia.

The AIIA is financed by members’ contributions, a small government subvention and taxdeductible donations from individuals and businesses. For further information, contact (02) 6282 2133 or visit.internationalaffairs.org.au.

Oxford Word of the Month: November – Melbourne Cup field

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noun: 1. a very large and open field of applicants for a job, contract, etc. 2. a pool of highly-qualified competitors.

THE STORY BEHIND THE WORD OF THE MONTH

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous horse race, run annually on the first Tuesday in November at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. The large amount of prize money, massive crowds, and long history of the event have made it a special part of the Australian sporting and cultural landscape—it is quite literally the race that stops a nation.

Since 1861 the Melbourne Cup has been a handicap race run over two miles (now 3,200m) for horses aged three years and over. The handicap nature of the race sees horses allocated particular weights based on the combined weight of the horse and jockey, the age of the horse, and its previous performance. The allocation of weights aims at evening out the field of entrants so that, theoretically, any horse can win the race.

The first evidence for the term Melbourne Cup field is descriptive, meaning ‘the field of horses participating in the Melbourne Cup’. This literal sense is found in records soon after the inaugural event:

I cannot have the little horse in a Melbourne Cup field, seeing that a numerous company is not to his liking. Were there but a dozen at the post we should see the little horse in the first flight at the finish; but as the probability is that there will be nearer forty starters than twelve, I feel compelled to overlook the pretentions of the good little son of Boiardo. (Melbourne Australasian, 10 October 1868)

This report also points to the large field of entrants in the race, although in recent times the number is nearer twenty than forty.

The first evidence for the transferred meaning of Melbourne Cup field from equine to human competitors is found in the 1930s:

The number of candidates who have announced their intention to nominate for the Coburg Council has been described as a ‘Melbourne Cup field’. The total so far is 27. (Melbourne Argus, 27 July 1938)

Here the writer highlights the large number of nominees for the council election with no reference to the quality of the candidates. This sense of Melbourne Cup field, ‘a very large and open field of applicants’, is often found in a political context, sometimes with the implication that many applicants are keen to get their snouts in the trough:

Any vacancy that occurs for a Federal seat of Parliament will always attract a Melbourne Cup field of candidates. But is the field full of moderate handicappers with not too many entries from weight-for-age performers? (Chipp and Larkin, Chipp, 1987)

While the transferred use of Melbourne Cup field usually refers to the large number of applicants for a position, there is also recent evidence for a more positive meaning, ‘a pool of highly-qualified competitors’:

The contract to renew the NSW Government’s telecommunications systems was won against a ‘Melbourne Cup field’ of Australian and overseas bidders … Telecom did not even run second. (Canberra Times, 25 July 1990)

‘A large number of applicants’ remains the central meaning of the transferred use of Melbourne Cup field.

Both senses of Melbourne Cup field are included in the second edition of the Australian National Dictionary (2016).

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Spanner crabs, platform 27, and a one-duck duck farm

We had some interesting and entertaining correspondence from readers in response to our articles on Australian idioms in the last issue. In her article, Julia Miller was puzzled about the logic of the idiom mad as a box of spanners, asking ‘how can an inanimate spanner be angry or crazy?’ One reader, C. Roe (Qld), has an ingenious theory: perhaps spanners is an abbreviation of spanner crabs, the edible crustacean Ranina ranina. We haven’t seen a box of spanner crabs, but it’s possible they would be more than a little annoyed about being thus detained. T. Bowden (NSW) is also concerned about crustaceans: ‘Off like a bucket of prawns makes no real sense. I always knew it as off like a bucket of prawns in the sun.’

Some of the expressions sent to us were variants on established Australian English idioms. C. Papps tweeted: ‘My dad used to say he was so unlucky he couldn’t win a kick in a street fight.’ This is one of a number of similar Australian expressions on the theme of bad luck or incompetence, such as couldn’t win a chook raffle, couldn’t train a choko vine over a country dunny, and, used chiefly in AFL contexts, couldn’t get a kick in a stampede. T. Brook left a message on Facebook along the same lines: ‘It was an excellent article in the most recent
Ozwords. My favourite [idiom] was missing, but it came and went so quickly in the 1990s it was easy to miss: He’s so stupid he couldn’t run a one-duck duck farm. I can’t explain the appeal.’

Blind Freddy is familiar to many of us as an allusion to something extremely obvious, as in ‘Blind Freddy could see that the deal was shonky’ and ‘Blind Freddy himself could have picked the winner’. One reader, J. Smith (NSW) had a twist on this: Blind Freddy without his guide dog could see that. The inclusion of the guide dog, perhaps a logical extension of the idiom, was new to us. In Amanda Laugesen’s lead article on idioms, she mentioned the special place the bandicoot has in Australia as an emblem of deprivation or desolation. J. Smith added to our stock of bandicoot expressions: the country was so poor that even the bandicoots had to take cut lunches.

One reader sent us some early anecdotal evidence of the Australian term more arse than class (‘to be very cheeky; to be very lucky’). Our own evidence in the new Australian National Dictionary dates from the title of the 1974 album ‘More Arse Than Class’ by Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. However D. Aitkin (ACT) remembers the expression being ‘common in (male) squash-playing circles in Canberra in the early 1960s’, in reference to ‘a brilliant shot that was not intended at all’.

There are a number of idioms based on the formula an X short of a Y that mean ‘very foolish’ or ‘mad’. Some of the better-known are a stubby short of a six-pack, a sandwich short of a picnic, and a sausage short of a barbie. T. Hackett (SA) sent us two dogs short of a dingo, and two bob short of a quid, the latter known to him from pub talk in the 1950s. Of course two bob (two shillings), the predecimal equivalent of twenty cents, has form in Australian idioms. Not the full two bob means ‘not in full possession of one’s faculties’ or ‘not the genuine article’. Two-bob is also used to refer to something cheap, inferior, or of little consequence, as in ‘it’s a two-bob hamburger joint masquerading as fine dining’.

Burke (NSW) sent us an expression with a very local application. Some years ago at Central Station, Sydney, a query to a railway worker as to someone’s whereabouts might elicit the response ‘he’s gone to platform 27’. There was no platform 27. Our reader tells us that the last platform was number 26, and that the answer was code for ‘he’s gone to the pub’ (there was a hotel nearby). A current map of Central Station now shows only 25 railway platforms. Has the pub been extended?

Another response to a question was sent in by A. Horsfield (Qld). ‘In the 1940s whenever we asked what’s for tea (now called dinner) Dad would say bread and duck under the table. Took me ages to work that one out.’ Presumably Dad was exploiting two meanings of duck for comic effect. There is some evidence for this saying, the earliest in a letter published in March 1917 in the Don Dorrigo Gazette & Guy Fawkes Advocate. Nancy Keesing also notes it in her book on Australian domestic slang, Lily on the Dustbin, published in 1982. She writes: ‘“What’s for lunch/dinner/tea?” “Stewed roodleums”, “Bread and duck under the table—or duck under the table and bread and pullet”.’ Other Ozworders will have their own family expressions for this. W & S (for wait and see) was my own mother’s invariable reply.

Finally, we enjoyed this story, also from A. Horsfield, about the origin of his family’s catchphrase good thinking Mary, used when ‘someone said something simply obvious or far out. Many years ago a teaching friend was working hard to put on a Nativity play for a school concert … . The actors with limited recall tended to improvise a lot. On the night of the solemn production Mary and Joseph looked for a place for the birth of baby Jesus and found there was no room at the inn. Joseph: “What shall we do?” Mary: “We could use the stable.” To which Joseph replied very thoughtfully: “Good thinking Mary.” We have used this ad nauseam as a point of mild ridicule.’

Julia-RobinsonJulia Robinson is a researcher and editor at the Australian National Dictionary Centre (ANDC). She has contributed to a number of Australian Oxford dictionaries and ANDC publications, and is one of the editorial team who worked on the second edition of The Australian National Dictionary.

ozwords-logoOur biannual newsletter Ozwords contains articles on various aspects of English, especially Australian English, in partnership with the Australian National Dictionary Centre. If you are interested in reading more on Australian English and hearing news from the Australian National Dictionary Centre, why not subscribe?

Find previous volumes of OzWords here.

Moving crisis management from the ‘war room’ to the board room

Organisations that suffer a major crisis have a more than one in four chance of going out of business. Yet despite this level of risk, many companies continue to leave crisis management in the hands of operational middle managers or technicians with little expertise beyond how to recover when things go wrong.

Corporate crisis management traditionally has a strong emphasis on tactical elements such as crisis manuals, cross-functional teams, table-top simulations, communications procedures and a well-equipped ‘war room’. However leading companies are now taking a more proactive role in crisis planning and issue management, shifting from reactive crisis response to proactive crisis prevention, and moving the focus from the war room to the board room.

But progress is slow. A global survey of board members, published in early 2016, found that fewer than half of the non-executive directors questioned reported they had engaged with management to understand what was being done to support crisis preparedness. And only half the boards had undertaken specific discussion with management about crisis prevention. Moreover, fewer than half of the respondents believed their organisations had the capabilities or processes needed to meet a crisis with the best possible outcome.

The reality is that many organisations still fail to prepare properly and continue to treat crisis management as an operationalised part of the emergency or security function. That may provide an adequate response to an incident when it happens, but contributes nothing to crisis prevention, long-term value or reputation management.

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The other key factor driving increasing senior executive involvement has been the acknowledgment that most crises which threaten a company are not sudden, unexpected events, but are preceded by clear warning signals, which are frequently ignored. In fact, the Institute for Crisis Management in Denver, Colorado, which has been tracking business crises in the media for well over 20 years, concludes that about two thirds are not unexpected at all, but are what they categorise as ‘smouldering crises’ – events which should have and could have prompted prior intervention (and more than half of all corporate crises are in fact caused by management).

Together these two factors – that most crises are not truly unexpected and that many are avoidable – have fueled the move from the operational emergency context of the war room to strategic planning in the board room.

This evolution towards strategic recognition and prevention rather than tactical response has in turn expanded the crisis management role of top executives and directors. However it has also exposed a practical challenge. Most managers want to do what’s right for their organisation. Yet some struggle with deciding exactly what needs to be done to protect against the reputational and organisational damage threatened by a crisis or major public issue.

One response to this challenge is a new concept called Crisis Proofing, which focuses on the role of executive managers and the practical steps they can take to prevent crises and protect reputation. The barriers to effective crisis prevention and preparedness are well documented, but can be best summed up in two common responses: ‘It won’t happen to us’ or ‘We are too big/too well run to be affected by a crisis’.

Many directors and senior executives would prefer not to think about crises. So participation in crisis management does not always sell well at the top. But every top manager should be concerned with preventing crises and protecting the company’s reputation. An effective way forward offered by Crisis Proofing is to develop a genuine crisis prevention approach instead of just focusing on crisis response.

If crises are to be prevented before they occur, issues and problems need to be identified early, and acted upon at the highest level. While this may require a fresh mindset, the quality of executive and board involvement can make a real difference to crisis prevention and management, and there are some basic requirements which help facilitate this approach:

  • Integrating issue management and crisis prevention into strategic planning and enterprise risk management
  • Encouraging blame-free upward communication and willingly accepting bad news and dissenting opinion
  • Implementing and regularly reviewing best practice processes for identifying and managing issues before they become crises
  • Establishing robust mechanisms to recognise and respond to crises at all levels, both operational and managerial
  • Benchmarking crisis management systems against peer companies and peer industries
  • Participating in regular crisis management training
  • Promoting systematic learning from your own issues and crises, and the issues and crises of others
  • Providing leadership, expertise, experience and support in the event of a real crisis.

The Crisis Proofing approach demonstrates that responsibility for protecting the organisation lies absolutely in the C-suite. It gives practical advice on how senior executives can provide participation and leadership from the top. And faced with the fact that one in four organisations that suffer a major crisis go out of business, Crisis Proofing provides a realistic blueprint for how to save your company from disaster.

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Crisis Proofing: How to Save Your Company from Disaster is a highly readable conversation about the creation of a management mind-set committed to reduce the chances of a crisis from happening in the first place and how to minimise the damage from any crisis which does occur. Buy the paperback or eBook now.

Copyright: Sam D'Agostino - SDP Photo
PH: +61 412 350 700 - Australia 2003Author Dr Tony Jaques is an internationally recognised authority on issue and crisis management and the development of best practice methods. Since working as Asia-Pacific Issue Manager for a US multinational, he has established an international reputation in the field, and is a former Director of the Issue Management Council in Leesburg, Virginia. He writes the specialist online issue and crisis management publication, Managing Outcomes (www.issueoutcomes.com.au) and is also the author of Issue and Crisis Management: Exploring Issues, Crises, Risk and Reputation (Oxford University Press 2014).

Featured image credits:  [1] Shutterstock ID 269821922; [2] OUP 9780190303365.

Rendunculous Dahl-inspired words from the Oxford Roald Dahl Competition

celebrating-roald-dahlWe would like to thank everyone who participated in the Oxford Roald Dahl Competition. The response was overwhelming – we received over 3000 entries – and all entries were very entertaining.
We took great pleasure in reading through the hopscotchy, phizz-whizzing and rendunculous Dahl-inspired words – there are no limits to a child’s imagination!
One school got in the Roald Dahl spirit and celebrated the end of term with a genuine ‘Roald Dahl Norwegian Breakfast’ and took delight in eating boiled potatoes, salmon, hard-boiled eggs and old-fashioned lollies.

Oxford Roald Dahl Competition winners

Congratulations to the following schools for their winning entries. Each of the winning schools have received a selection of fantastic fiction and an Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary:

St Gabriel’s School, Traralgon, Victoria
Sparktastic
You look sparkling and smell good.

Woodend Primary School, Woodend, Victoria
Gnob twizle
A very yuck lolly.

Williamstown North Primary School, Williamstown, Victoria
Fuzzle bottom
When someone is being bored and not wanting to do anything

Toukley Public School, Groken, New South Wales
Thinkleminkle
When you dance while you’re thinking about what is for dinner.

Mitcham Primary School, Mitcham, Victoria
Flabbersquirt
A menace or someone who is naughty. For example, “The flabbersquirt pranked his mum.”

St Maroun’s College, Dulwich Hill, New South Wales
Sumboloolumboloo [prounounced sum-boloo-lumb-oloo]
To eat food with your toe while picking your nose. For example, “One time while watching Barbie I sumboloolumboloo.”

Taroona High School, Taroona, Tasmania
Quinstocktottle
To transform an extremely boring situation into an extremely fun one. For example, “He completely quinstocktottled that assembly.”

rd9780192736451Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary
Illustrated by Quentin Blake, contributions by Susan Rennie & Roald Dahl

9780192736451
Harback
RRP $19.95
This is not an ordinary dictionary.

This is an extra-unusual dictionary full of everyday words and extraordinary inventions to inspire a lifelong love of reading, writing and language.

The 23rd Educational Publishing Awards

The 23rd Educational Publishing Awards Australia (EPAAs) were held on the 6th of October. Organised by the Australian Publishers Association, the EPAAs celebrate excellence in educational publishing and exemplify the work publishers devote to producing world-class educational resources. More than ever before, they also showcase innovative development and delivery of digital content.

Oxford University Press Australia was honoured to have 13 titles shortlisted across the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary categories. We are thrilled by this year’s results and would like to congratulate all the shortlisted, winning and commended entries.

View the full list of winners here.

Primary Student Resource – Arts/Science/Humanities

ozboxWinner: OZBOX: Learning Through Literacy is a comprehensive and engaging program for Years 3–6 that provides full coverage of the Australian Curriculum for Science, and Humanities and Social Sciences, specifically History and Geography.

OZBOX contains highly visual, informative and detailed topic cards, giving students the opportunity to read, comprehend and engage with content aligned explicitly to the
Australian Curriculum. There are four different topic cards for each Australian Curriculum content description. The cards are written at different reading levels – below, on and above – to allow for differentiated instruction.

Secondary Student Resource – Junior – Mathematics/Science

oxford-science-ac_stacked-covers_epaa2016_220x170Winner: Oxford Science has been developed to support teachers with the implementation of the Australian Curriculum (and now ready for 2017, the Victorian Curriculum and Western Australian Curriculum). The series provides a complete science teaching and learning program with a focus on clear and precise concept development across a range of print, digital and blended resources. Each double-page spread of the series has been constructed to cover one concept and one lesson with a summary and review questions included on each. The new ‘dashboard view’ on the Teacher obook assess is an online lesson control centre that delivers an engaging digital learning experience. Teachers are able to instantly preview, access and assign resources including videos, interactives, worksheets and tests.
Commended: Oxford MyMaths AusVELS Edition

Secondary Student Resource – Senior – English/Humanities/Arts/PE

vce-english-series_stacked-covers2_epaa2016_220x170Winner: VCE English
Reading and Creating / Reading and Comparing
Written by a team of four exceptional English educators, Kellie Heintz, Michael Horne, Timothy Nolan and Rachel Williams, and written specifically for the new 2016 VCE English Study Design, Reading and Creating | Reading and Comparing comprehensively covers Area of Study 1 of the new course in a write-in textbook format, using student-friendly language. Using a broad selection of text extracts, the book covers topics including: textual features, understanding texts, analytical writing, creative writing, reading for comparison, making connections and contrasts, and comparative writing. Additionally a helpful toolkit provides templates, annotated sample responses, practice SAC and examination tasks, and a glossary. The text is supplemented digitally with obook assess, with further support for EAL students and clever interactive modules for on-screen text analysis and comparison.

Analysing and Presenting Argument
This new edition of the phenomenally successful Using Language to Persuade by market-leading author Ryan Johnstone. Ideally used at Year 11 and carried into Year 12, Analysing and Presenting Argument is a hybrid write-in workbook / textbook that gradually introduces students to the skills required to develop arguments, persuasive language (written, spoken and visual), reading persuasive texts (including print, digital, spoken and multimodal media), argument analysis (presenting and critiquing) and proficiency in oral presentations. This text assists teachers and students further by providing up-to-date sources for analysis, templates, step-by-step guides, annotated sample responses, practice SAC and examination tasks, and a metalanguage glossary. Analysing and Presenting Argument is supplemented digitally with obook assess, with further support for EAL students and clever interactive modules for on-screen text analysis and comparison.

Secondary Teaching Resource

Joint Winner: Oxford Science Teacher obook assess
Joint Winner: Oxford MyMaths AusVELS Teacher obook assess
Oxford MyMaths Years 7-10 AusVELS edition Teacher obook assess offers a groundbreaking multi-year-level approach to mathematics education by providing full access to all content and resources across Years 7-10, allowing teachers to customise oxford-mymaths-ausvels_stacked-covers_epaa2016_220x170the learning of every child in the classroom. The accompanying assess tool enables teachers to assign work and assessment, schedule tests, monitor student and class progress, and create reports. The Teacher Dashboard is an online lesson control centre and allows teachers to select content and resources appropriate for each student in their class, tailoring the very best learning experience. Interactive tutorials scaffold understanding of key concepts and build student’s confidence.

Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Student Resource

Winner: Writing Right with Text Types
Matthew  Zbaracki

This book helps current and future teachers inspire young writers in exciting and engaging ways. Chapters 1 to 4 explore the critical components of language and writing, including grammar, setting up your classroom for writing, modelling writing to your students, and assessment. Chapters 5 to 13 discuss the common genres taught in primary school and the text types found within these genres. In these chapters, theory is brought to life through numerous teaching ideas and case studies. The final chapter explores recent developments in classrooms and children’s literature; it encourages reflection on how we teach writing to children and how we might do so in the future.

Commended:
oxford-mymaths-ausvels_stacked-covers_epaa2016_220x170Secondary Student Resource – Junior – Mathematics/Science
Oxford MyMaths AusVELS Edition

 

Highly Commended:

oxford-psych-12_cover_epaa2016_220x170Secondary Student Resource – Senior – Mathematics/Science
Oxford Psychology Units 1+2 3rd edition

Secondary Teaching Resource
Oxford Psychology Units 1+2 3rd edition Teacher obook assess

 

9780195527926Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning Resource
An Introduction to Speech, Language and Literacy
Sharynne McLeod and Jane McCormack

 

Oxford Word of the Month: October – baggy green

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noun: (also baggy green cap) 1. the cap worn by an Australian Test cricketer. 2. this cap as a symbol of selection in an Australian Test cricket team. 3. an Australian Test cricketer.

THE STORY BEHIND THE WORD OF THE MONTH

The baggy green cap is an emblem of this nation. (Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2003)

The cap worn by Australian Test cricketers, the baggy green, is now a national sporting icon. Originally it was not called the baggy green and nor was it baggy (the baggy cap replaced a more fitted cap in 1921). The veneration of the baggy green is relatively recent, as confirmed by the recollections of former Test players in an article by sports journalist Russell Jackson:

Former Australian fast bowler Frank Misson told Fahey and Coward that in the early 1960s it was still known simply as ‘the cap’ and that its ‘flouncy’ aesthetic qualities were deemed a little outdated by his team-mates of that era. Ian Chappell maintains that it was rarely spoken of by he or his 1970s team-mates. (Guardian Australia, 23 December 2015)

Evidence for the term appears late in the written record. Apart from the odd mention of the baggy green cap in the 1950s, it is not until the 1980s that the cap becomes a commonplace in reports on the Australian Test cricket team:

The Aussies went out hell bent on enjoying their cricket. Enthusiasm was high, pride at a premium and baggy greens firmly fixed on heads held high. (Brisbane Courier-Mail, 11 April 1984)

The association of the cap with the pinnacle of cricketing success was well established by the late 1980s: ‘There are still too many willing to die to wear the baggy green cap.’ (Hobart Mercury, 25 March 1989)

During the 1990s the awarding of the cap became a ritual. In solemn pre-match ceremonies new players received their baggy green from the hands of the captain or a former Test great, and for players it became a tangible link to their predecessors in a long tradition of Australian Test cricket. Its elevation to mythical status in Australian sporting history occurred especially under the stewardship of Test captains Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, and Ricky Ponting.

Although the cap looks somewhat antediluvian in the modern era of international cricket, and offers very little protection from the sun, it is now an object of reverence: ‘Stars sing an ode to the baggy green.’ (Hobart Mercury, 17 November 1999) The cap has become such a potent symbol that in recent years even the players are sometimes called baggy greens:

With any luck the baggy greens are in a position to wipe the smugness from the Barmy Army’s faces. (Melbourne Age, 23 November 2013)

Baggy green is included in the recently released second edition of the Australian National Dictionary (2016).

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The Oxford English Dictionary celebrates one hundred years of Roald Dahl.

bfgrdLast week marked the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth and to celebrate, the Oxford English Dictionary has published a range of revised and newly drafted entries containing references to Roald Dahl’s writing in its latest update.

The words included are recognisably ‘Dahlesque’ and while not all are coined by him, they have magical qualities that instantly evoke the vibrant worlds that have captivated the imaginations of so many.

Dahl was a true wordsmith, a creative man who jumbled up the letters and presented us with words that are fun to say. He offered us a new spin on old words, such as splendiferous, [splendid/marvellous] which was first used more than five hundred years ago to mean resplendent, and revived other words that hadn’t been used for decades, such as scrumdiddlyumptious, [extremely scrumptious; excellent, splendid; (esp. of food) delicious] because sometimes, scrumptious just isn’t enough.

Many children (and parents alike) were delighted when he introduced us to Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the diminutive and musical workers from Loompaland. Who could forget the much coveted golden ticket, an all access pass into the magical world of Willy Wonka himself. We learnt that we’re all human beans thanks to The BFG, the big friendly giant so named for his unusual friendliness, and found out about that magical time called the witching hour, described by Dahl as the ‘special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up [is] in a deep deep sleep’ (although it was actually first mentioned in 1762 in a poem by Elizabeth Carter Keene).

That’s the wonderful thing about Dahl, he understood that language shouldn’t be static or limited to our current understanding, rather, that language can be fun and that we should play with it and delight in its possibilities.

Of the inclusions, Dahl’s grandson Luke Kelly (Managing Director of The Roald Dahl Literary Estate) says: “It’s no secret that my grandfather, Roald Dahl, took particular relish in playing with language and making it his own. Of all the many wonderful tributes being paid to him in his centenary year, the inclusion of his words and phrases within the iconic Oxford English Dictionary feels not only one of the most fitting but one that I know would have made him extremely happy and proud.”


The OED is one of the largest and longest-running language research projects in the world. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over 829,000 words, senses, and compounds – past and present – from across the English-speaking world. As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from those of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You’ll still find these in the OED, but you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language – traced through over 3.3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.  For more information about the OED please visit the website.