How Corporations Use Voyeurism to Create Entertainment Value
A growing number of businesses across a wide range of industries are successfully commercializing voyeurism, the practice of providing a glimpse into the private life of another person, to give audiences a revealing and entertaining experience.
A new paper forthcoming in the journal Academy of Management Review titled “Commercializing the practice of voyeurism: How organizations leverage authenticity and transgression to create value”, explores how companies use authenticity (a sneak peak into the real life of others) and transgression (viewing the forbidden) to generate a distinctive experience for audiences.
The paper is co-authored by Schulich’s Maxim Voronov, Professor of Organization Studies; Trish Ruebottom, an Associate Professor of Human Resources and Management at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business; Sean Buchanan, an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business; and Madeline Toubiana, an Assistant Professor of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management at the University of Alberta. Trish Ruebottom, Sean Buchanan and Madeline Toubiana are all Schulich PhD graduates.
“When it comes to leveraging voyeuristic practices, it’s often a very thin line between creating entertainment value and creating negative emotions, such as anxiety and guilt that disengage audiences,” says Voronov. “For example, left unchecked, reality TV could easily move beyond being a guilty pleasure toward becoming something that makes audience members feel too guilty to watch. It’s not simply authenticity or transgression that create value, but rather the audience’s emotional responses to these two dimensions.”