Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Payam Tabibian has been on the run all his life. After fleeing Iran with his family more than 25 years ago, the entrepreneur has been moving from one small business to the next throughout his business career. Tabibian worked in fast-food chains throughout school and is now developing his own hamburger chain using knowledge gained from a variety of restaurant experiences.

QUESTIONS:

  1. In what ways does Payam Tabibian fit the profile of an entrepreneur? What personality traits and characteristics does he possess that are consistent with those of successful entrepreneurs?
  2. Do Tabibian’s ventures represent necessity-based entrepreneurship? Why or why not?
  3. The article describes Tabibian’s frequent entry into and exit from successful small businesses. Looking at the life cycles of entrepreneurial firms, what explanation(s) could you offer for this pattern of behavior?

SOURCE: T. Heath, “Burgers to Go, With Ambition on the Side,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/06/AR2009120602107.html)

Posted by & filed under Management.

Noted management guru Henry Mintzberg critiques the current system of bonuses for top-level managers. His contention is that bonuses do not accomplish what they exist to do – ensure sustained health of a company. Instead, Mintzberg argues that bonuses encourage CEOs to gamble away long-term performance for short-term gains that drive up compensation. His solution? Do away with bonuses completely. Never pay them. And use insistence on bonuses as a mechanism to screen out undesirable CEO candidates.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Are Mintzberg’s thoughts consistent with what the text says about organizational performance? Why do analysts rely so heavily on stock price and other financial measures to assess firm performance?
  2. What are the responsibilities of top managers? What is accountability? Are bonuses the best way to ensure CEO accountability?
  3. Now study the upside-down pyramid. What level of the organization is most directly responsible for company performance? What is the CEO’s role?

SOURCE: H. Mintzberg, “No More Executive Bonuses!” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703294004574511223494536570.html)

Related video clip:

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Hailed as country music’s top recording duo for nearly two decades, Brooks & Dunn are ending their collaboration after a 2010 farewell tour. Coming together was the brainchild of Arista accountant Tim DuBois. The singers’ styles and personalities are quite different and, ultimately, these differences helped them know when it was time to end the partnership. The two leave on good terms and some industry experts predict that they will reunite in years to come.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Look at the definitions for team and teamwork. In what ways do Brooks & Dunn meet these definitions?
  2. Consider how the duo of Brooks & Dunn moved through the stages of team development. Why does the adjourning stage matter and how are Brooks & Dunn handling this?
  3. How has cohesiveness influenced the team’s success and impending dissolution?

SOURCE: B. Mansfield, “You Can Call Brooks & Dunn Done & Done After Final Tour,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2009-12-04-brooksdunn04_CV_N.htm)

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Under the leadership of CEO Mark Parker, Nike is revamping its image and shifting its focus. Rather than ride its dominance in the athletic shoe market, Parker is following trends and repositioning Nike to capitalize on the digital age. Part of Parker’s strategy for Nike involves reducing staff and moving away from brand image. The use of celebrity endorsers continues, but Nike is being much more selective. These strategies are working. While the industry experienced a downturn in 2008, Nike’s market share increased slightly.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What model of change leadership is Nike utilizing? How does CEO Mark Parker fit into this strategy?
  2. Look at the organizational change pyramid. Where is Nike’s planned change? Is the change incremental or transformational? Why?
  3. Consider the shift from the Phil Knight way to the Mark Parker way. What are the targets for change?

SOURCE: B. Horovitz, “CEO Mark Parker Works on Keeping Nike Cool,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2009-12-07-nike07_CV_N.htm)

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

By the narrowest of margins, the U.S. Senate voted to bring President Obama’s health care reform bill to the floor for debate. The 60-39 vote ensures there will be no filibuster, but does not guarantee that the bill will pass. Key Democrats that voted to move the bill forward express serious reservations about the way the bill is currently crafted. Few believe the bill will pass in its current form.

QUESTIONS:

  1. The health care reform debate has been quite divisive. What conflict management approaches could be applied and how effective might they be? When two sides disagree, we often hear calls for compromise. What are the drawbacks to this conflict management style?
  2. Evaluate the handling of this debate in terms of the three criteria of effective negotiation.
  3. When Senate majority leader Harry Reid negotiated to get Senators Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln to vote in favor of moving the bill forward was it distributive or integrative negotiation?

SOURCE: J. Fritze, “Negotiations Begin Anew Over Health Bill,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-11-22-health-negotiations_N.htm)

Related video clip:

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Toledo-based Lott Industries employs developmentally-disabled workers to perform light assembly work. Most of their contracts are with the automotive industry. Lott workers excel, allowing employees to earn good incomes to support themselves and, sometimes, other family members. In fact, Lott was awarded the prestigious Q1 status (highest quality rating) by Ford. While the slumping economy has hurt the company, workers remain confident in their abilities and highly motivated.

QUESTIONS:

  1. The jobs at Lott Industries fall under what basic job design approach? Typically, how motivating are these kinds of jobs? Why do Lott workers excel?
  2. Why are Lott workers so motivated (consider Robert Ertle’s insistence on going back to work right after surgeries)? Use Self-Efficacy Theory to explain how Lott Industries’ approach produces highly motivated workers.
  3. Would you utilize the Job Characteristics Model at Lott Industries? Why or why not?

SOURCE: C. Ansberry, “Haven for Disabled Workers Feels Job Market’s Sting,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125918205048464519.html)

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The 2009 National Football League season is more than halfway completed. The Washington Redskins won their third game by defeating the Denver Broncos 27-17. The team has not had many reasons to celebrate and their coach, former NFL player Jim Zorn has been criticized and rumored to be on his way out. Yet for this one game, the Redskins looked like the champions Washington fans expect them to be.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Technically, the Washington Redskins are a team, but their 2009 record might suggest otherwise. Break down the definition for team and apply it to the Redskins. What elements might explain why this team is not performing well?
  2. Analyze the Redskins in terms of the three key aspects of effectiveness.
  3. In the game against Denver, it could be said that the Redskins were a high-performance team. How did the team fulfill the requirements of distributive leadership in order to achieve victory?

SOURCE: J. Reid, “Redskins Buck Up,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/15/AR2009111502002.html?hpid%3Dartslot&sub=AR)

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The new limited-release film “Precious” owes its existence to an unusual pair. Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness are no strangers to business success, but not in the film industry. Their unlikely partnership with film producer Lee Daniels is rocking movie-making status quo and providing capital for a script that had been shunned by Hollywood.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Why are Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness described as “angels?”
  2. As you read about the production of “Precious,” Ms. Siegel-Magness’ involvement suggests a different form of ownership (from her angel role). What form best fits and why?
  3. Discuss the Daniels-Magness relationship in terms of diversity and entrepreneurship issues.

SOURCE: L. A. E. Schuker, “Novice Film ‘Angels’ Took a Leap of Faith With ‘Precious,’” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704538404574537721627768260.html)

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

In the face of one of the toughest economic recessions in recent memory, many companies are increasing the amount of cash reserves they maintain. Even with claims that the economy is improving, companies continue to stockpile cash and increase these reserves. Stockpiling seems to be highest in the technology sector, but giants like Alcoa and Pepsico are following a similar strategy. Cash helps abate risk. Companies want to be sure they have access to cash without paying exorbitant fees to get it.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What are some of the benefits associated with holding extra cash reserves?
  2. What type of planning does this represent?
  3. The article reports a general trend reflecting what type of master strategy? Now look more closely. What type of strategy is Texas Instruments employing and what specific form does it take?

SOURCE: T. McGinty & C. Tuna, “Jittery Companies Stash Cash,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125712303877521763.html)

Posted by & filed under Management.

Disney’s newest animated film release, “The Princess and the Frog,” is a return to its roots of hand-animated films. Despite the success of Pixar computer-generated films vis-à-vis recent Disney hand-animated versions, Pixar co-founder John Lasseter believes “Princess” will work. Lasseter believes box office success is due more to plot and characters than animation techniques. The shift back to hand animation, after switching from that form to computer animation in 2003, has not been easy. Many of the hand animators employed by Disney were laid off and much of the equipment was in storage.

QUESTIONS:

  1. What issues of performance and change are associated with Disney’s decision to switch from hand animation to computer generation and then back to hand animation?
  2. What are possible reasons for Disney’s decision to lay off Ron Clements and John Musker?
  3. In terms of some of the general issues associated with work today, how would you describe the changes taking place at Disney over the last five years? Describe the changes in terms of talent, technology, and careers.

SOURCE: E. Smith, “For ‘Princess,’ Disney Returns to Traditional Animation Style,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704746304574508552919095862.html)