Representation "Of" and "For" - The Power of a Preposition

"Representative Of"

Elected leaders who view their role as ensuring that the views, beliefs, values and self-interests of the constituencies they know are at the table as part of the conversation, are “representative of”.  They ensure that others are informed of the views of the constituencies.  These elected leaders participate in a collective dialogue and deliberation based on the views of the constituencies and additional information.  After the discussions, these leaders understand the entire issue and make decisions based on the best interests of the organization.

"Representative For"

What does this look like in real life? A delegate asks for feedback from members on an issue.  Ten members provide similar positive feedback, 3 members provide negative feedback and 1 member provides feedback that is a new idea regarding the issue.  In the “representative for” model, the delegate only discusses the major opinion regarding the feedback and votes accordingly.  In this situation, the delegate is only thinking along the lines of the majority of feedback received.  In the “representative of” model, the delegate discusses the positive, the negative and the new idea with other delegates at the meeting.  In this situation, other delegates are interacting similarly and also presenting the positive, negative and any new idea, allowing all delegates to hear trends in positive and negative comments and to consider the new ideas.  The delegates then consider what they have learned in the discussion and may decide to vote for the new idea because of other information shared at the meeting.





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