Words-worth: Authenticity

Authenticity is a business buzzword of our day, recommended in books, seminars and newsletters.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Businesses and their products must be authentic, and so must leaders and managers. To be authentic is to be real, genuine, trustworthy. An authentic document is the real thing; an authentic product one that is what it purports to be; an authentic person is true to his or her own character. The word arrived in English in the 14th century via French and Latin from Greek, where authentikos meant 'having authority'. Those who preach authenticity in business insist that consumers will seek out the genuine. And, in the online age, they can easily talk to each other and pass on their experiences, making bogus products hard to hide. For an individual, to be authentic is to be yourself, but it's more practical to concentrate on keeping your promises. It is easy to be cynical about authenticity, which lends itself so well to an old joke: the secret of success is authenticity; if you can fake that, you've got it made.

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