The recent release of secret government documents on the website WikiLeaks highlights a serious problem of doing business in the Information Age – it is tough to maintain total control of company data when it exists in electronic form. What is more, information that is transmitted via computer networks is subject to interception. Even if that were not the case, disgruntled employees can easy transport company information to outsiders.
We see in Chapter 1 that technology and ethics are key characteristics of working today. Talk about how these two factors intersect given what we learned through the WikiLeaks situation.
Examine Figure 6.1. Three information flows are represented. Intelligence information flows outside in. Internal information represents the flow within an organization. Public information flows inside out. How might the WikiLeaks affair fundamentally change these flows of information?
Many of the advantages of information technology are presented in the chapter. Change is a byproduct of the increased importance of technology. Discuss the pros and cons of storing information/decisions electronically versus in hard copy form (i.e., in a filing cabinet). How must IT functions be integrated into the overall management of a company?
The economic recession has been hard on many. While most of the reporting and statistics focus on able-bodied workers that are unemployed, another sector often goes unnoticed. For many laid off during the downturn, getting re-employed means taking jobs with pay and responsibilities much lower than what they previously held. A case study of four such individuals highlights the difficulties of getting back into the workforce.
Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the cases of Greg Corkett and Mike Sebastian. Maslow contends that movement through the hierarchy is always upward (i.e., satisfied needs no longer motivate). Both Messrs. Corkett and Sebastian achieved a measure of success in their careers. Arguably, they were both engaged by higher-order needs. Where (in the hierarchy) are they now? Does Hierarchy of Needs account for this? What about ERG Theory?
If acquired needs are developed over time, as McClelland contends, they do not go away overnight even with the loss of a job. Examine statements made by Messrs. Corkett and Sebastian and discuss how they adjusted these job-based needs.
Put yourself in the position of any of these four workers. Using Expectancy Theory, explain how you might be motivated despite holding a job with lesser status/pay and more menial tasks.
How does Self-Efficacy Theory apply to Greg Corkett, both in terms of what he is doing now and what he hopes to be doing in the future?
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is poised to make history by breaking the record for consecutive wins in collegiate basketball (currently 88 held by UCLA). Leading the way is senior Maya Moore, who established a new career scoring mark of 2,355 points when Connecticut beat Sacred Heart. Moore’s total eclipses a record set just last year by Tina Charles.
Review the quotes on teamwork that open the chapter. Discuss the ways each applies to the Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team.
Talk about it. How does a team like Connecticut continue to win (and win national championships) when there is so much parity in college sports?
Can a college sports team be self-managing? Explain.
Examine the open-systems model of team effectiveness. Which factors are controlled by the coaching staff at Connecticut? Which factors are under the control of the players? While task performance is evident, what are the other outcomes of effectiveness for this team and how are they realized?
The United States and South Korea reached a compromise agreement for the terms of a free-trade agreement originally negotiated back in 2007. President Barack Obama had hoped to reach a compromise agreement in time for the G-20 summit meetings in South Korea last month but the two sides were unable to strike a deal until this weekend. This regional economic integration agreement would represent the largest such agreement by trade volume value since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994. Bilateral trade between the countries was $69 billion last year and the agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade by $10 billion annually. The proposed agreement has the support of many American businesses which want to see the agreement and other such agreements finally enacted, but there is also a substantial amount of opposition to the agreement. Opposition to the agreement by the U.S. automotive industry or by the beef industry may still derail the agreement, which must obtain legislative approval in both countries. As part of the compromise agreement, South Korea agreed to some changes to allow U.S. automobile companies greater access to the South Korean market, a market which has historically been effectively closed to foreign competition, but South Korea did not offer additional concessions for American beef imports.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
Analyze the benefits and costs of the proposed free-trade agreement between the United States and South Korea. Identify the likely “winners” and “losers” of the agreement.
President Obama has said the agreement would support at least 70,000 American jobs. Analyze how this agreement would impact American jobs.
The proposed agreement needs legislative approval in the United States. Discuss the factors that will help or hinder the chances of this agreement obtaining congressional approval with the new Congress to take office in January.
At an investor conference earlier this week, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz stated that Starbucks will triple the number of locations it has in China. Starbucks currently has 406 stores in China and plans to have more than 1,500 by 2015. This expansion would make China the firm’s largest market outside of the United States. In contrast to the United States, Starbucks sells more products in the afternoon and evening in China, though the firm is trying to influence Chinese consumer consumption patterns to make coffee drinking a morning ritual. Although Starbucks plans to emphasize China, International President John Culver stated that the firm plans to promote its Via instant coffee and its customizable frappuccino drinks to promote sales in the firm’s 53 international markets. The firm will also offer the Starbucks rewards card in international markets.
Identify the core competencies or the strengths of Starbucks based on its U.S. operations and discuss how those competencies will assist the firm with its international expansion goals.
Discuss some of the challenges Starbucks is likely to face in achieving its strategic goals for expansion in China.
One market research study estimates that worldwide coffee consumers drink an average of 120 cups of coffee each year, while in China average coffee consumption is less than one cup per person per year, though it may be about five cups per person per year in urban areas. Develop a strategic action plan for Starbucks to convert more Chinese consumers to be coffee drinkers.
Starbucks has a strategic goal of sourcing more coffee from the Yunnan region of the country, an area which has long focused on growing tea due to the region’s mild temperatures. Discuss some of the challenges Starbucks may face in encouraging local farmers to switch from one crop to coffee.
Amazon, the giant online retailer, routinely experiences a surge in demand for its offerings during the Christmas holiday period. It is difficult to fill temporary holiday positions at its Campbellsville, Kentucky facility. Thus, the company turns to the new migrant workers – able-bodied individuals with recreational vehicles (RV) willing to travel the country in search of employment – to meet its need. In addition to modest-paying jobs, Amazon provides for RV parking either at a temporary lot near its facility or by paying for hookups in nearby parks. Workers fully understand their status with the company. Come Christmas Eve they will no longer be employed and many will be back on the road again.
1. Your text identifies six key categories that define working today. After reading the article, how well do the workers described fit this profile? Does the information presented suggest there might be one (or more) category(ies) that should be added?
2. Based on their work strategies, would you classify work campers as independent contractors or part-time temporaries? Why?
3. Clearly Amazon is an organization. Consider this organization with its 1,000+ full-time employees and up to 500 work campers. Is this a good strategy? Address productivity and performance effectiveness/efficiency (Figure 1.2 might be useful).
The finance ministers from the euro-zone countries met in Brussels today in an emergency meeting to approve the proposed financial bailout for Ireland and to discuss plans for dealing with future euro-zone financing crises. A joint loan from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been approved by the finance ministers and it is expected to be valued at €85 billion ($110 billion). The finance ministers also agreed in principle to a proposal favored by the leaders of France and Germany for how to deal with future crises. Under the proposal, private bond holders would be required to share the burden of a sovereign debt restructuring of a euro-zone country. Creditors of euro-zone countries that face insolvency after 2013 would have their bond holdings restructured by an extension of debt maturities, rescheduling of payments and/or a reduction in the value of their investments. Creditors could be forced to take losses so that the costs of a financial bailout of a euro-zone country would not fall completely on the shoulders of taxpayers. To date, the euro-zone bailouts have been the responsibility of taxpayers, which has triggered increasing public anger. Over the weekend, thousands of people in Dublin protested against the government’s proposed budget cuts. The Irish government has proposed an austerity budget designed to save 15 billion euros over four years by cutting the minimum wage, reducing welfare benefits, eliminating public sector jobs, and raising taxes.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal to force private creditors to share some of the burden of a sovereign debt restructuring of a euro-zone country. How would this proposal impact the cost of borrowing for weaker euro-zone countries?
Government officials in Ireland face increasing public backlash of their handling of the current financial crisis. Given that similar protests resulted in several deaths in Greece earlier this summer, how should the government of Ireland respond to the current protests?
The proposal under consideration for dealing with a future euro-zone bailout purportedly has the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Central Bank Chief Jean-Claude Trichet, but the proposal must be approved by the other EU countries. Given the way the euro-zone crisis has been handled up to this point, how likely is it that the current proposal will get universal support by the other EU countries?
Throughout his basketball playing career, Corliss Williamson was known as “Big Nasty.” The term described his style of play. He was known as a “bruiser,” a guy that would bump and bang down low. Now as a Division I college coach he is not distancing himself from his playing style. For the 2010-11 season, Coach Williamson takes over a University of Central Arkansas team that is completing its transition from Division II to Division I with limited success. Williamson aims to be a hands-on coach. He also hopes to use his reputation to boost the image of a fledgling program. [Note: Coach Williamson’s team started 1-2 in the 2010-11 season.]
1. Does (how does) growing up in Arkansas and playing collegiate basketball at the University of Arkansas help Corliss Williamson as a coach? What about playing in the National Basketball Association?
2. Williamson says he is an “Arkansan, through and through” and that he “didn’t want to have to leave the state of Arkansas” for a Division I head coaching position. In what way(s) does this sentiment reflect servant leadership (maybe of a different variety from that expressed in the text)?
3. Corliss Williamson hints that he plans to emulate his mentor, Nolan Richardson. That “big nasty” style of coaching is best expressed when he says, “Either you play defense or you sit down.” How would you describe his leadership style?
4. While we are at it, let’s talk about gender and coaching. We have numerous examples of successful female and male head coaches in women’s college basketball. There are also plenty of examples of successful male coaches in men’s college basketball, but no female coaches. What do you think about the possibility of a female head coach in men’s college basketball?
Nearly every top ten list of most common fears will contain the fear of flying. Yet commercial airplanes are one of the safest forms of travel (far safer than traveling by automobile). Vivid details of airplane crashes are embedded in most people’s memories and so airlines must constantly battle the perception that air travel can be dangerous and a hassle. Delta’s most recent incidents highlight this. While the article does not report how many total flights Delta made during the same timeframe, we can assume that these three flights represent a fraction of those that occurred. Still, Delta must address concerns about maintenance and the safety of its fleet.
1. When all airlines essentially offer the same thing, what can Delta do to create a competitive advantage? Think about your airline experiences (actual flight experiences or personal perceptions of airlines if you have never flown). Identify competitive advantages you associate with any of the major carriers.
2. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find a business that is purely service-oriented. Yet the airline industry interacts with its customers almost exclusively in a service role. What type of service technology does Delta utilize?
3. Discuss the significance of in-flight delays and on-time departure/arrival. Aside from being required to do so by the Federal Aviation Administration, why do airlines measure these things? How do today’s technologies (e.g., the World-Wide Web) help/hurt companies such as Delta in their customer relationship management efforts?
China, like many Asian countries, has been known as a source of cheap labor. The newest generation of Chinese workers differ from their parents in that, while they are still willing to work for wages much lower than the average American, they are more aware of what constitutes fair working conditions. Increasingly, the Chinese government, which controls many businesses and the one official labor union, is having to deal with issues related to working conditions.
1. Given what you know about the pool of available workers, do you believe it is easier or more difficult to attract a quality workforce in China than it is in the United States? State your reasons.
2. While the laws governing business in China create a different climate for human resource management, Chinese workers are really not much different from American workers in terms of what they want from their jobs. What are the demands identified in the article? How do these compare to the keys for maintaining a quality workforce listed in your text?
3. Discuss the differences between labor representation in the United States, where the government maintains an independent posture when it comes to business and unions, and China, where the government controls businesses and the union. Which system is most effective?