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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: [Sigia-l] Ethnography - using actors

Re: [Sigia-l] Ethnography - using actors in fieldstudies

From: Ziya Oz <>
Date: Wed Nov 28 2007 - 00:08:30 EST

Jayson Elliot:

I've done a lot of work in this space.

> we can't do that at all

Are you sure?

> field studies on financial advisors

You have three entities to 'study.' FA, the client AND the interaction
between the two. (Remember, many/most Fast already work on a script. In
fact, many brokerage house would prefer and even go so far as to require
them to follow a general script, for various compliance and business
reasons. Also, there are many different types of Fast and compensation
schemes so how they pitch the client and maneuver the interaction depends on
where they make their margins.)

Having one of the entities scripted essentially corrupts at least 2/3 of the
'field study' process. So if I were a cynical person in addition to being
monopolizing, I'd say you'd be measuring the performing abilities of the

If you or your team is new to this industry I'd recommend talking in depth
to at least one fairly seasoned FA in each compensation category, first and
foremost, about what they do and see if you can't get sufficient
info/insight on how they work.

If, however, you simply want to identify and improve a *specific* process in
the interaction and there's already a narrow script, you might also get away
by prototyping a dynamic mini Q&A app which the FA could interact with in
your presence.

This is a multivariate analysis and with the actor you are introducing an
uncontrolled variable. There's quite a bit of emotional attachment and
'irrational' decision-making involved in personal finance. The way an actor
and a real client (whose own hard earned dollars are on the line) make
decisions or narrow down choices while planning financial matters can be
very different.

If the whole thing is general enough you can get away with it, but if your
client is on the hook for, say, $100MM wrt to your insight from this study,
I'd say, be careful. :-)

It depends.
If it didn't, you'd be out of a job.
IA Summit 2008: "Experiencing Information" 
April 10-14, 2008, Miami, Florida
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Received on Wed Nov 28 05:15:59 2007

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