ARTICLE SUMMARY: Four executives of Australian mining company Rio Tinto were arrested by the Chinese government and charged with bribery and corporate espionage. Chinese government officials claim the actions of the arrested gave Rio Tinto an unfair advantage in negotiating prices for the sale of iron ore. The case is causing many firms to rethink how they conduct business in China.
In what ways might Rio Tinto representatives be guilty of corruption?
Considering Rio Tinto, what does this say about the political risks that come with doing business in a foreign country? What is the best way to minimize these risks?
Thinking back, how does the Rio Tinto case underscore the cultural issues in ethical behavior?
ARTICLE SUMMARY: In June, Congress approved the “Cash for Clunkers” program. The program was so popular that funding ran out within one week and Congress had to approve an extension. Opponents contend, as with the stimulus package, that the Government acted too hastily putting the program in place. The White House countered by arguing the bill was needed to help restructure the automotive industry and to encourage consumers to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles.
What type of managerial decision does the “Cash for Clunkers” program represent? What factors did you use to make this determination?
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the program.
Evaluate the effectiveness of this program. Do you believe Government leaders considered the impact the program would have on the used car market and charities? Why or why not?
SUMMARY: On August 7, the United States Senate confirmed the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. She becomes the third woman and first Hispanic to serve in that capacity. Her nomination and swearing in offer an excellent opportunity to discuss diversity and multicultural organizations.
When President Obama hailed Sotomayor’s confirmation by saying it was “breaking yet another barrier,” what did he mean?
In what ways does Justice Sotomayor’s membership in the Supreme Court express the characteristics of a multicultural organization?
Opponents of Sotomayor’s nomination expressed concern about her comment that a “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” In what ways might this comment reflect ethnocentrism? Why might this be a concern?
SUMMARY: Urban Meyer, head football coach at the University of Florida, recently received a contract extension that will pay him $4 million per year. The coach of the current NCAA national champions will become the first coach at a Southeastern Conference school to earn that amount. The new contract extension highlights just how competitive the market for top-notch coaches is in college sports.
The average salary for major college coaches now tops $1 million per year. Salaries for professional athletes and collegiate coaches in major sports are skyrocketing. In what ways might these high salaries address the major responsibilities of human resource management?
In terms of merit pay, what factors might justify Coach Meyer’s high salary and contract extension?
What are the potential consequences if schools such as the University of Florida do not offer competitive salaries to their coaches?
SUMMARY: Christian Lacroix, famed Parisian designer of haute couture, has seen change. Eleven chief executive officers could not manage Lacroix’s creativity to a profit. After 22 years in the fashion industry, Lacroix’s future is in doubt. His company, part of the Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. conglomerate, filed for bankruptcy protection in May. Whether a buyer will emerge or not, one thing is certain – the “business as usual” mentality must go.
How well did LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A.) handle the strategic management of Christian Lacroix?
Identify the grand or master strategy employed by Christian Lacroix. How might this be a problem in the fashion industry?
Assume the company will emerge from bankruptcy. What strategic changes would you make if you were running this company? Why?
Summarize the differences between men and women managers that are presented in this article. Which do you agree with? Disagree with?
Do you believe there is any advantage or disadvantage to a firm with more managers of one gender than another? Explain your thinking.
What are the implications for team building in a firm?
Do you think any gender differences between men and women managers would be of greater importance for a profit-oriented organization – in comparison to say, not-for-profit or governmental organizations? Explain your thinking.
Organizations can grow through mergers with and the acquisitions of other organizations. This strategy works best when there is synergy between the two. Explain why IBM would choose to grow by acquiring the operations of SPSS.
Given this acquisition, what are the implications for management of both firms over the next five years in terms of organization structure, HR, etc.?
What other strategic growth opportunities do you think would work well for IBM?
Identify one opportunity which would not work well. Explain your thinking.
Many executives and business owners are gradually realizing that employee wellness programs that help workers lose weight or quit smoking, for instance, also create robust return-on-investments. Two speakers at an upcoming conference being held in DeKalb, Ill., believe these programs are not only good for workers; they are good for business, too.
Source: Illinois State Council for the Society for Human Resource Management