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Moe Stein is the second of three generations of Steins running Frank’s Sport Shop in Bronx, New York. Moe possesses a throwback style – a sharp wit and ready one-liners that he flings at any and all customers. In this day and age of big chain stores, Frank’s is nearing its 80th anniversary. Stein must be doing something right.

QUESTIONS:

1. This one may be a challenge. Describe Moe Stein using the Big Five Personality Dimensions. Arguably, Mr. Stein has been a business success. How do you explain this in terms of the dimensions? Does he possess a dimension that should be inconsistent with success?

2. Does Moe Stein experience job satisfaction? What do you believe contributes to this?

3. Does Moe Stein have emotional intelligence? What would Moe’s son say? Analyze Stein in terms of the four EI competencies. Does the fact that Frank’s Sport Shop is located in the Bronx matter?

4. Discounting son Ronald’s comment, does Mr. Stein experience job stress? If so, what kind?

SOURCE: S. Dolnick, “A Full Stock of Fishing Rods and One-Liners,” New York Times (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/nyregion/13joint.html?_r=1)

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Rosetta Stone, maker of software by the same name, has grown from a small, family-run business into a publicly-traded company under the leadership of CEO Tom Adams. Adams is multi-lingual and credits his experience learning languages beginning at age 10 with taking the company to the next level.

QUESTIONS:

1. In terms of talent, discuss what makes Tom Adams an effective CEO for Rosetta Stone.

2. What is the impact of globalization on a company like Rosetta Stone?

3. Identify the advantages Rosetta Stone has over conventional language acquisition training.

4. On an individual level, how would using a product like Rosetta Stone help your career? In what way does acquiring a new language make you a portfolio worker?

SOURCE: C. Jones, “Rosetta Stone CEO Wants to Teach the World to Talk,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/profile/2010-11-08-rosettaCEO08_CV_N.htm)

Related video clip:

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The United States imposes export controls on dual-use technology items. The term dual-use technology refers to items which can be used for both military and commercial applications. Dual-use technology is a concern for items which could be used for peaceful or for military purposes, such as building nuclear or biochemical weapons. The United States bars or heavily restricts the export of such dual-use technologies to any nation on its “entities” list; a list that includes countries such as Iran and China. President Obama traveled to India over the weekend to promote trade between the two countries. India would like to negotiate the removal of dual-use restrictions for its governmental agencies involved in defense, nuclear and space research. The United States sees India as a market for its aviation and defense industries.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. One of the justifications used for preventing dual-use exports is national security. Critique the extent to which this is an appropriate argument for India.
  2. The article and the related videos seem to suggest that trade between India and the United States can be a quid pro quo or “this or for that” arrangement. Analyze the tradeoffs for the United States of easing export controls to India.
  3. President Obama faces increasing domestic scrutiny for the continued high levels of unemployment. Discuss how Mr. Obama’s trip to India will complicate his goal of proving that his economic policies have produced jobs back home.

SOURCE: Sharma, A. (2010, November 5). On the agenda: Easing tech limits, touting deals. Wall Street Journal, p. A5. (Retrievable online at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704805204575594341708986102.html)

Related video clip available at: http://online.wsj.com/video/obama-boosts-indo-us-economic-ties/96DB801B-1B85-44FE-B9B2-0FD8BFC4A7FA.html

Related video clip available at: http://online.wsj.com/video/obama-india-sojourn/D5399722-04AE-4A50-9754-3B29CF2E3F29.html

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In a surprise move, the Canadian government provisionally rejected BHP’s $38.6 billion bid to buy the Canadian firm Potash. Potash, in the province of Saskatchewan, controls more than a fifth of the world’s reserves of potash, a key ingredient in fertilizer. After its initial review, the Canadian government was not convinced that the acquisition of Potash would provide a “net benefit” to Canadians when evaluated based on employment, production or investment targets. BHP now has 30 days to try to reverse the government’s initial ruling, but given the widespread domestic opposition to a Potash sale, BHP’s chances of a successful acquisition seem to be dimming. Canada has a reputation of being a free-trade champion, and since the nation eased foreign investment policies nearly two decades ago it has only twice before rejected a proposed foreign takeover. Canada’s rejection of BHP may have been unique because of domestic concerns about protection of valuable natural resources, but at least some are worried that Canada’s actions could be a sign of protectionist times ahead in the country.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. Allowing foreign firms to either build or acquire domestic companies often has both positive and negative implications for a country. Examine the potential advantages and disadvantages to Canada of BHP’s possible acquisition of Potash. Why would the government of Canada believe that this proposed acquisition would not provide a “net benefit” to Canada?
  2. An acquisition can be a quick way for a company to obtain valuable strategic assets, but can also create integration difficulties. Evaluate the potential gains and difficulties BHP might encounter if it is able to successfully acquire Potash.
  3. Academic research has shown that a considerable number of acquisitions do not create value for the stockholders of the acquiring firm. Acquisitions are a common entry mode strategy, despite the fact the performance results for many acquisitions are poor. Evaluate how the fact that BHP’s Chief Executive, Marius Kloppers, has already “let two big deals slip from his grasp” might impact his actions following Canada’s initial rejection decision.

SOURCE: Dvorak, P., & Das, A. (2010, November 4). Canada slaps down BHP’s Potash bid. Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, B4. (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703506904575592870406638644.html)

Related video clip available at: http://www.reuters.com/news/video/story?videoId=164017632

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Veteran radio executive Randy Michaels was not able to transfer his success to running the large, newspaper-based Tribune Company. While the financially struggling company appears ready to emerge from bankruptcy protection, Mr. Michaels was forced to resign following a meeting with the company’s board of directors. The often criticized culture installed by Michaels seemed to be his Achilles’ heel. NOTE: A longer and more sordid description of the culture at Tribune can be found in the original article written by the New York Times.

QUESTIONS:

1. What are the dynamic forces that are having a negative effect on a traditional media company like the Tribune? Discuss how these forces may have opened the way for the hiring of Randy Michaels.

2. While organizational effectiveness appears to be improving at Tribune, Mr. Michaels’ departure reflects more on the culture that developed behind his ascendancy as CEO. Examine the essential aspects of observable culture and talk about how Mr. Michaels got it wrong. What are the implications of observable culture for core culture in this case?

3. In terms of symbolic leadership, talk about why Mr. Michaels had to go (based on what little can be gleaned from the article).

SOURCE: R. Adams, “Michaels Weighs Comeback Plans,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304879604575582792136499462.html)

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Twitter is the latest in a short list of very successful dot com businesses. Still, it has had its share of problems. For one, there was an internal power struggle among the founders. In addition, the company has suffered from the lack of a clear strategy or a plan for dealing with growth pains. More recently, the individual responsible for guiding the company through a tremendous growth period, Evan Williams, had to pull back and allow someone with a bit more business savvy to take over as the company’s CEO.

QUESTIONS:

1. How does Evan Williams stack up against the attributes of entrepreneurs listed in your text? Based on the descriptions in the article, would you say he fits or does not fits the profile of a typical entrepreneur?

2. While Twitter is not a family business, it does exhibit some of the problems commonly associated with these companies. What are these problems? How well has Twitter handled them?

3. Although Twitter is arguably successful and not likely to fail, what are some of the characteristics under Mr. Williams’ leadership that had some outsiders saying it might “run out of steam?”

SOURCE: C. C. Miller, “Why Twitter’s CEO Demoted Himself,” New York Times (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/technology/31ev.html)

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Facebook recently disclosed that limited user data was sold to third-party firms by application developers. Facebook has a zero tolerance policy against data brokers and temporarily suspended the application developers.

QUESTIONS:

1. Given that Facebook was not directly involved in the sale of access to user data, what makes this an ethical issue for the company?

2. What alternate view of ethics does Facebook express by the actions it took?

3. Identify and discuss the forces that came to bear on Facebook’s ethical decision making.

4. Discuss how its code of ethics helps Facebook maintain high ethical standards in situations such as the one reported.

SOURCE: G. A. Fowler, & E. Steel, “Facebook Says User Data Sold to Broker,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704477904575586690450505642.html)

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In an effort to increase sales, a small but growing number of food chains are adding mobile food trucks as distribution channels. In contrast to local food-truck businesses which usually only operate as mobile units, some national chain eateries have added mobile units to supplement their brick-and-mortar locations. These chains are often using franchising as their expansion strategy for these mobile units. The mobile units may be franchised as stand-alone operations or used to supplement sales of franchised brick-and-mortar stores. The mobile units can serve as marketing tools for existing locations or to promote new locations. In addition to the risks inherent in franchising a business model, mobile units face unique risks such as the potential for damage as a result of traffic accidents and difficulties accessing the prime parking spots for attracting walk-by consumer traffic. Sales of mobile units may be particularly sensitive to inclement weather.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. Franchising is a common entry mode strategy used for rapid, low-cost expansion. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using franchising for expansion in the restaurant industry.
  2. Discuss the unique advantages and the special concerns created by using franchised mobile food trucks as distribution channels.
  3. Evaluate the extent to which some of the national chains profiled in the article would be able to use mobile units to pursue international expansion beyond the United States. To what extent would their business models have cross-cultural acceptance?

SOURCE: Needleman, S. E. (2010, October 28). Restaurant franchises try truckin’ as a way to grow. Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, B7. (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303341904575576760919368160.html)

Related video clip available at: http://online.wsj.com/video/new-york-food-trunk-frenzy/F9829868-B9EE-4B05-BE01-55A36B4A9F65.html

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The high value of the Japanese currency is contributing to a major restructuring of Japan’s economy. Japanese businesses are increasingly transferring more of their manufacturing abroad to offset the stronger yen, which makes Japanese goods more costly and less competitive in global markets. Toyota Motor Corporation will produce a record 57% of its output abroad this year, up from 48% five years ago. The company will begin for the first time mass-producing its Prius outside of Japan at a plant near Bangkok. Carlos Ghosn, Chief Executive of Nissan Motor Corporation, has previously stated that Japanese firms must respond to the surging yen by sourcing more products outside Japan in order to be competitive. Nissan will make a record 71% of its cars abroad this year, up from 66% last year. Nissan is also the first Japanese auto maker to mass-market a foreign-made car in Japan. This summer the company began importing a compact model it produces in Thailand. Sony Corporation’s television business showed a profit in the April-through-June quarter, partly because the firm has increased overseas production. Sony did 20% of its television manufacturing abroad last fiscal year and is aiming for 50% for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011. Although this production shift by Japanese manufacturers puts less pressure on the Japanese government to dampen the value of the yen, the loss of manufacturing jobs in Japan will hurt governmental efforts to combat deflation by getting the country’s consumers to spend.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. Explain why Japanese businesses are transferring more of their manufacturing abroad.
  2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to the economy of Japan that more of its domestic manufacturers are shifting manufacturing abroad.
  3. Identify structural reforms Japan could implement to create incentives for its manufacturing firms to increase investment in Japan.
  4. Discuss why the value of the South Korean won is becoming more important to Japan.

SOURCE: Sanchanta, M. (2010, October 25). Japan firms send work overseas. Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, B6. (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303864404575572221423014704.html)

Related video clip available at: http://jp.reuters.com/news/video?videoChannel=204&videoId=163947883

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In the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, relief money, workers, and equipment arrived from all over the world to assist Haiti. That included independent contractors like Randal Perkins of Florida who hoped to cash in on the need. Perkins has experience in natural disaster cleanup having been involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Katrina. Yet he found himself helpless to do much with the government paralyzed in future planning and not present realities.

QUESTIONS:

1. Based on what you read, did the Haitian government have a plan for cleanup? If yes, in what ways did they satisfy the basic elements of planning? If no, what should they be doing?

2. Due to world-wide interest and support for the relief effort, Haiti finds itself with plenty of money for reconstruction. However, money alone is not enough. Explain to Haitian government officials why good planning is necessary and its benefits.

3. The text discusses short- and long-range plans. In the context of Haiti, discuss why both are necessary.

SOURCE: D. Sontag, “Weary of Debris, Haiti Finally Sees Some Vanish,” New York Times (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/world/americas/18haiti.html)