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NEWS23 July 2010

Anderson loses AMAI speaking gig in fallout from ISO row

Latin America North America

US/MEXICO— Former Esomar representative Tom Anderson’s opposition to the ISO research quality standard has cost him another gig – this time, a speaking engagement at Mexico’s annual research industry congress.

AMAI, the organisers of the event, withdrew the invitation this week in the wake of the row between Anderson and Esomar over his criticism of the ISO standard and the efforts of Casro, the Council of American Survey Research Organisations, to set up a committee to audit US companies who wished to adhere to the standard.

Anderson’s stance on the issue led Esomar to revoke his status as the organisation’s US East Coast Representative.

Following on from this, Anderson said he received “a very gracious, sympathetic and apologetic message from AMAI’s director general, Alejandro Garnica Andrade – who had originally asked me to speak [at the association’s congress in September] – informing me on behalf of their programme committee that they had decided to withdraw this invitation”.

Writing in a blog post, Anderson said: “The reasons behind their decision were stated in refreshingly explicit and honest terms: after consulting Mexico’s Esomar representative, it was due to my outspoken stance against ISO and a desire not to offend Casro or Esomar.”

Research contacted Andrade, who said that while it was true that AMAI had withdrawn the invitation, “it was not [done so] after consultation with any Esomar official”.

“AMAI was forced to take this sad decision for two reasons,” he said. “Firstly, our association is a firm believer in quality in research as reflected in an audited quality system we have had since the late 90s. On the other hand, AMAI believes and defends professional associations as the best way to foster self-regulation in the research industry.

“Considering the views of Tom are in conflict with these two beliefs, the organising committee of the AMAI congress retired the invitation.”

@RESEARCH LIVE

6 Comments

9 years ago

What an excellent way to promote your profession. Cancel good speakers from your conferences! Once again ISO is being used as a wedge issue. AMAI, CASRO and ESOMAR need to understand that for a variety of reasons a significant number of market researchers and market research organisations, while promoting professional standards do NOT want a bar of ISO. It is unpalatable for many. My understanding is that Tom, a first rate researcher, is a first rate speaker, and his topic was not anything to do with ISO; AMAI has belittled itself with its sad decision. Sad is the word. Perhaps, just as ESOMAR has experienced falling membership in North America, AMAI is choosing to skate onto the same thin ice.

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9 years ago

Brian, this is the second article you have posted regarding a conversation thread on a PRIVATE social networking group that was never intended for public consumption. Perhaps your coverage of this matter reflects the lack of anything else going on that's meaningful in the research world. But if you are going to rely on private conversations to report news, then why don't you mention other questions raised during the thread, such as the financial investment CASRO made in an ISO accrediation team and when professional ISO auditing companies declined, and whether this is a sound investment of their members' money. Or how a research client should differentiate between ISO accreditation, and ESOMAR/ CASRO/ MRS/ etc membership. Or even what relevance ESOMAR offers the research world... Declining numbers in North America suggest otherwise.

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9 years ago

Hi Gordon, Thanks very much for your comment. I have to take issue with it, however. You state: "This is the second article you have posted regarding a conversation thread on a PRIVATE social networking group that was never intended for public consumption." The AMAI story was based on a public posting on Tom's blog. http://www.tomhcanderson.com/2010/07/22/why-i-will-not-be-permitted-to-speak-in-mexico-in-september…/ I take it you are referring to the whole ISO debate in general. If so, it's more like four or five stories that have been written. Yes, there has been significant debate about it behind the walled garden that is the NGMR group on Linkedin - but Tom Anderson has not been shy about voicing his views publicly. Just check the comments thread on this story: http://www.research-live.com/casros-iso-push-begins-with-launch-of-certification-body/4002729.article Regards, Brian

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9 years ago

Brian, I would say that while you checked to hear Andrade's comments, your article doesn't convince me that you doubled checked, personally to hear Tom's account. You took a comment from his blog, but didn't, but judging by the lack of quotes apprarently did not speak to Tom directly when you prepared the article. There are no quotes from him. Indeed he may well have had comments for you that he did not share in his blog, and your article might have been the sharper for it. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but did you actually interview Tom for this article? Going back a step, it just seems crazy that AMAI should cancel a speaker (the topic was text analysis - hardly provocative) on the grounds that Tom disagree on OTHER issues unrelated to the Mexican conference. Elsewhere people have charged people in the wider ISO discussion of being peurile and immature. Might I suggest that it is the professional bodies that have been throwing the toys out of the sandpit. Dear me.

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9 years ago

Hi Duncan, I did speak with Tom seeking clarification on his blog comments, in light of what Alejandro had told me. Tom stood by his version of events; Alejandro his. Alejandro acknowledged that: "The Esomar representative in Mexico is a long standing associate of AMAI and a very good friend of many of us." "But," he said, "it is not correct to imply Esomar has to do [sic] with the AMAI decision before or after it was taken." I do not know if there have been any further conversations between Tom and Alejandro on this topic - certainly I have not been privy to them, and Tom has not come back to me to add anything further. Regards, Brian

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9 years ago

My apologies Brian. The lack of direct quotes made was the cause for my journalistic criticism - misplaced. That's a beer I owe you. However I'll stand by my criticism of Alejandro's spiteful decision to cancel a speaker simply because they disagree on an unrelated issue. Shame on AIMA and - if ESOMAR's ambassador to Mexico had any influence - then shame on them as well. What occurred was vindictive and small minded.

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