What’s Wrong With Authenticity?

Last Updated June 1st, 2022

Andrew Brodsky, authentic, authenticity, The Customer Experience Podcast, McCombs, University of Texas, Texas at Austin, marketing, marketing professor, digital communication, workplace communication, email communication


Listen to “204. What's Wrong With Authenticity? w/ Andrew Brodsky” on Spreaker.

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Everyone knows authenticity is important. But to what end?

Is it appropriate to list all of the reasons you’re having a bad day when you send an email to your supervisor?

Should you withhold empathy for a customer’s concern when they’re angry or upset over a problem they caused?

The answer in both scenarios is almost certainly a resounding, “No!” You can’t and shouldn’t display emotions that aren’t appropriate for the situation that you’re in. And rather than transparently and authentically conveying every sentiment we feel in the moments we feel them, we often have to give others the interaction they want or deserve.

Of course, displaying challenging emotions (emotional labor) is essential to building deep and meaningful connections with those around you. But the more profound question is, how can you effectively convey reasonable emotion and authenticity in the workplace?

Our recent guest on The Customer Experience Podcast is Andrew Brodsky, PhD, Assistant Professor of Management, McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin. Andrew contends that being authentic isn’t always ideal. He also feels strongly that we should be questioning how we communicate and the work that we do every step of the way.

In addition to his role at McCombs, Andrew has his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Harvard Business School. He’s also researched and led training for, and consulted with organizations like PwC, Dell, NovoNordisk, and BombBomb. And he’s one of the experts featured in the new BombBomb documentary Dear {first_name}, a documentary film on digital pollution.

Today, Andrew joins us to discuss themes and ideas in articles like “Communicating Authentically in a Virtual World” and “The Dos and Don’ts of Work Email from Emojis to Typos,” both published in Harvard Business Review.

His research affirms that different settings call for different kinds of communication tools. “Humans are social creatures,” Andrew said. “Communicating only via text pushes against the foundation of evolution.” He also shares his thoughts about how we can personalize the impersonal, the communication challenges of remote work, conveying emotion in email, when to pick up the telephone, and the time lost when crafting text-based messages.

Listen in to learn:

How you can effectively convey emotion and authenticity when you’re working virtually
What emotional labor is and why it matters
Why humans don’t automatically adapt to the pace of technological change
Where to use email and where to use voice-to-voice
When it’s best to be inauthentic



What’s Wrong With Authenticity?

Hear Episode 204 and any other conversation on The Customer Experience Podcast in your preferred podcast app …

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Hear the recording with Andrew Brodsky right here …

Listen to “204. What's Wrong With Authenticity? w/ Andrew Brodsky” on Spreaker.



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Video Highlights: What’s Wrong With Authenticity?

Check out the top five video highlights from the discussion with Andrew Brodsky


1. Customer Experience is Making The Customer Feel Good



2. Authenticity as a Buzzword



3. Emotional Labor, Deep Acting, and Surface Acting



4. Workplace Communication Challenges



5. Mindful Messaging and Job Crafting


Bonus: Dear {first_name}: A Business Case Against Digital Pollution


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Ethan Beute | About The Author

Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, host of The Customer Experience Podcast, and Wall Street Journal bestselling co-author of Human-Centered Communication and Rehumanize Your Business, Ethan Beute collects and tells stories of clearer communication, human connection, and higher conversion through simple, personal video messages. BA: University of Michigan. MBA: University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

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