It’s Embarrassing It might seem strange, but I would like to thank the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) for its two recently published articles—both titled “Do I Need to Keep my ‘Cs’?“—that appeared in Audiology Today. I appreciated these misleading pieces because they brought inquiries and requests to ASHA for clarification and ... From My Perspective
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From My Perspective  |   March 01, 2007
It’s Embarrassing
Author Notes
  • Vic S. Gladstone, is ASHA’s chief staff officer for audiology. Contact him at vgladstone@asha.org.
    Vic S. Gladstone, is ASHA’s chief staff officer for audiology. Contact him at vgladstone@asha.org.×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Professional Issues & Training / From My Perspective
From My Perspective   |   March 01, 2007
It’s Embarrassing
The ASHA Leader, March 2007, Vol. 12, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.FMP1.12042007.4
The ASHA Leader, March 2007, Vol. 12, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.FMP1.12042007.4
It might seem strange, but I would like to thank the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) for its two recently published articles—both titled “Do I Need to Keep my ‘Cs’?“—that appeared in Audiology Today. I appreciated these misleading pieces because they brought inquiries and requests to ASHA for clarification and information. ASHA staff have been pleased to engage these colleagues, understand their perspectives, answer their questions, and set the record straight.
Frankly, this is an embarrassing situation. It’s embarrassing to us that some of our members and certificate-holders do not understand the value of the credential they worked hard to earn. We are refocusing an effort to clarify the worth of the Cs.
It is a further embarrassment that a member of the association community would publicly criticize another member of the association community and, in the process, promulgate false and misleading information. To what end?
I suspect that in this age of blatant commercialism, people in responsible positions who are interested in promoting their associations may believe that such overt criticism would be tolerated or even applauded. I like to think that leadership has a higher responsibility. I believe that members prefer leaders to act responsibly and respectfully; to refrain from overt criticism, even when cast as editorial commentary; to disengage from putting down another organization just because philosophies may differ; to demonstrate good judgment by realizing such comments are in bad taste and reflect poorly on the organization; and particularly, to consider that outsiders may think less of the profession because of the commentary.
Approximately 14,000 audiologists hold the CCC-A. These certificate-holders know that employers, reimbursers, and credentialing agencies recognize its value and seek individuals who possess ASHA certification. Certainly those who receive an annual salary supplement because they are ASHA-certified appreciate the Cs. An audiologist who relocated and learned that state-to-state reciprocity was insufficient appreciated the Cs, as that credential satisfied the new licensing board. Professionals with the Cs who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina were relieved that they could easily receive licenses elsewhere.
What is it about an organization’s culture that enables its membership to tolerate such criticism by its leaders—perhaps even encourage it? Where are the checks and balances? Where is the outcry? In our profession, I hope we have not come to a point where, because audiologists can belong to more than one organization, members feel it acceptable to openly criticize and denigrate one another. An organization’s credibility comes from its public positions that reflect the values of its members. If the activities, statements, policies, and attitudes of an organization do not reflect membership values, it is up to the members to speak out. And it is up to the leadership to listen and change—to create an organizational environment that encourages member feedback no matter how harsh or difficult to hear, and to create an atmosphere of trust so that dissent can be expressed and change can ensue.
It is up to the leadership to engage in considered and responsible behaviors that reflect positively on the association and its members. Likewise, it is up to members to expect their leaders to direct a course that shines positive light on the association, its members, the profession, and those it serves. Many in the association community observe organizational behavior. If an organization’s messages are ill-conceived, poorly articulated, intentionally or unintentionally misleading, misguided, or factually incorrect, the potential result is harm to the credibility and image of the organization and the profession, despite perhaps satisfying some membership cohort.
I hope that a time soon comes when members recognize that associations provide value to their constituents and reflect members’ expressed needs. I hope members will examine the organization’s culture and behavior beyond evaluating the cost/benefit of products, resources, and services offered. Members then will be much more vested in their organization and more likely to call into question inappropriate behaviors such as those demonstrated by the AAA articles.
It is irresponsible for the leaders of a sister organization to presume the answers to questions about another organization’s products, services, and resources at the risk of misrepresenting them. In the absence of responsible behavior, perhaps all we can expect is the membership’s judgment and sense of fair play to question the veracity and credibility of its leadership. Until then it’s an embarrassment.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
March 2007
Volume 12, Issue 4