Hello Cruel World
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
NRMA: Branded or scarred?
Image a two-way street for NRMA now
May 1 2003
Interesting & informative though Neer Korn's article about NRMA on May Day was, s/he discussed their troubles without alluding to what I consider their core.
NRMA (& the former Australian Mutual Provident Society) were 'mutual' organisations, in concept similar to democratic government -- an organisation set up to provide services to its members. Its customers are its 'shareholders', each with one vote in decisions. Their point is serving the customer/members. Any surplus not reserved for emergencies is used for better services, reducing fees or repaid like a 'dividend'.
A company's point is profits. (Fairly made, no worries.) Directors/managers are obligated to shareholders. Shareholders may not have nor feel connexion with staff nor customers. Decisions are carried one share/one vote, so interests of large institutions or few very wealthy people may override many thousands of lesser holders' interests.
Despite protestations of reform, regret & repentance after disasters in the 1980s (& over the last century or two), the public -- who must use such goods & services for both their everyday life & in emergencies -- have experienced companys' lack of care & attempted their regulation.
Despite problems with government's delivery of services, the bad experiences of many users with many private companies means they also distrust 'privatization' & hope (& try to demand) control of this too.
Resisting this change of focus was the basis for NRMA conflict, and distrust following it is the root of changing public attitude to "the brand".
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