For my first argument paper I decided to take on a topic that directly correlates with my future. A common topic in class discussion and nation wide is the recent government intervention in the financial sector regarding the “too big to fail” companies. I wanted to look further into the role of the SEC and policies such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Using Google Scholar, I was able to gather some more opinions surrounding these issues.
In searching about the Dodd-Frank Act, as it is abbreviated, I came across a piece that is very strongly against this act of government. The abstract, written by Arthur E. Wilmarth Jr at George Washington University Law School, recognizes some improvements from Dodd-Frank but says the root of the act has not brought an end to the “too big to fail” era. Specifically, the author insists that the act does not regulate mergers and acquisitions enough and this is the reason for companies becoming too big to fail.
Backtracking using the cited references, I came across a piece written by a Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, Brett H. McDonnell. In his piece, McDonnell explores the politics of the recent financial crisis and specifically with too big to fail institutions. Brett’s article delves into the politics of large financial institutions that have immense lobbying power and even goes onto speak about the prestige that comes with running an institution and those benefits (being hired as government regulators). In short the article divides the issue of TBTF into two sides; economics and politics. This is exactly the kind of information I am looking for to use in my paper.
If I can continue to find other sources regarding both the economics and politics of this amounting issue, I will hopefully be able to arrive at some sort of conclusion or clear approach to government in the role of financial institutions. This will be critical to the future success of our economy.
A short while ago, we read an article comparing the business practices of Cost-co and Walmart, and the differences between the two have stuck with me. The closest Cost-co to my home is almost 40 minutes, and as I wasn’t familiar with the membership-based warehouse club, I never paid much attention to Cost-co in the news. However, after we read that article, I was fascinated. An attitude of “nice guys finish last” seems to appear often in the business world, and it was refreshing to see a company that stuck to its core values so strongly and thoroughly do so well.
With that article in mind, I ventured off to the Web Of Knowledge, and searched for Edward Freeman’s Thesis on Stakeholder Theory. I have liked Freeman’s basis for morality in a company’s operations; almost everyone involved in the company is a stakeholder. Not just actual shareholders, but employees, community members, governments, maybe even competitors. It is not enough to just focus on profits anymore. So I was pleased to find Freeman cited in an article discussing the positive effects of labor-friendly policies, titled “Labor-friendly Corporate Practices: Is What is Good for Employees Good for Shareholders?“. Continue reading
For my paper, I was thinking about addressing the topic of increased polarization in American politics. My main goal is to find what is causing this polarization. Before I tackle that, I have to develop a thorough understanding of current events, and policy decisions. I have only become enamored with politics over the last couple years, but I have always been up to date on current events. Obviously, people have always disagreed over politics, but, from what I have witnessed and researched, this this has become an increasingly harmful problem.
Since I am an accounting major, I have gained a major interest in government policies that may affect my future. I also have enjoyed learning about many accounting frauds that have taken place (especially since some companies went to great lengths to cover up what they were doing, check out ZZZZ Best for example). One of the major policies that has been passed and we have discussed in class is the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. The article that we read for class analyzed the effects of the act shortly after it was implemented. As a result, I want to see if any results and analyses have changed.
SOX was implemented after the Enron and WorldCom scandals. It was the government’s quick response and solution to the mistrust the public was gaining of big corporations. SOX implemented many regulations on auditors and companies in order to make sure no more economic disasters would occur in the future (the financial crisis of 2008?). For my white paper, I want to explore the actual effects of SOX on society, companies, and auditing firms. Continue reading
One of the subjects that we have briefly touched on during our time in class is CEO compensation and income inequality. We read a brief by AG Lafley who argued that it is time for CEOs to take a stand. He acknowledges in the article that “amounts and forms” of CEO pay are “unacceptable and inappropriate.” He believes that failure to take action will ultimately result in governmental action. Lafley offers several suggestions. His four main points are “reward with equity, restore integrity to equity grants, eliminate post-employment provisions not pegged to performance, and implement more-detailed analyses.” Essentially, Lafley wants to increase CEO incentives to perform well, maintain CEO equity in the firm, remove forms of pay like automatic stock options, and value executive compensation appropriately, including all forms.
I was intrigued by this subject and wanted to research it more because it stands in stark contrast to what I am planning to write about for my final white paper. My first argument draft focused on poverty in America and its impact on children and minorities. I plan to combine this dialogue with a focus on the working poor as well. Eventually, I want to recommend suggestions to federal legislators to assist those who need the most help. Providing information in my paper about the wealthiest Americans would portray the alarming shift of wealth in our country by giving examples of those who are benefitting most.
I conducted some initial research through Google and discovered a Businessweek article which stated that in the 1980s, the CEO of a major corporation made 42 times the average hourly worker in the company. This number has skyrocketed to a remarkable 531 times the average hourly worker in recent years. Many questions have been raised about whether executive compensation is truly connected to the financial performance of their company. Recent social movements like Occupy Wall Street have shown that the general sentiment is that it is highly unlikely that all or most of the growth of a company is due to just one person. No reputable studies have connected high levels of CEO compensation to company performance. Nevertheless, it continues to increase the gap between CEOs and those front line employees who are heavily relied on to deliver growth. It is predicted that the current pattern will result in less employee motivation.
I conducted a cited reference search and came across an article titled “Exorbitant CEO compensation: just reward or grand theft?” which was written by David O. Friedrichs in October 2008. This article thoroughly discusses CEO compensation and provides a significant volume of data to back up its claims. It makes the argument that exorbitant CEO compensation should be considered a white collar criminal offense. It even goes so far as to evaluate what changes would be needed legally to criminalize excessive pay. While this article may represent an extreme side of the debate, it provides a good starting point for me as I begin to brainstorm federal legislative changes which need to be made in order to decrease the gap between executives and those who fall below the poverty line.
I wasn’t really sure what to write about for my first argument for the white paper, but I was browsing the channels and came across the show Whale Wars on Animal Planet. I’ve watched a couple episodes with my sister so I know the background of the show. Basically a conservation organization called the Sea Shepherd travels by boat to the Antarctic waters in search of the Japanese whaling fleet. Their goal is to disrupt the Japanese whaling fleet so that their whaling efforts are hindered to the point where they must return home.
I have decided to travel back in time to our first week of class, where we discussed C. Wright Mills’ idea of the sociological imagination. I had read excerpts of this work before while I studied abroad, and after reading it again this semester, decided to apply Mills’ social science ideas to my first BGS paper. Ever since my first reading of it, I was fascinated and captivated by its brilliance. However, I must admit that it took me a while to really grasp onto what Mills’ was communicating. At its most basic level, the sociological imagination is a quality of mind in which the intersection between biography and history is understood. Those who possess the sociological imagination are able to understand the individual in addition to how the individual fits into a larger historical and social context.
I preformed a cited reference search on Google Scholar for C. Wright Mills’ Sociological Imagination and came across an interesting article entitled “Michael Jordan Meet C. Wright Mills: Illustrating the Sociological Imagination with Objects from Everyday Life” written by Peter Kaufman. What caught my attention from this title was twofold: for starters, Michael Jordan is one of the most widely known global symbols for Nike, so I thought this article might have even more connection to our class beyond the sociological imagination connection. Furthermore, I was drawn to the title because it tells the reader that the sociological imagination is going to be explained with relevant and everyday life examples. Seeing as I struggled so much with comprehending Mills’ theory in the first place, I wanted to see what Kaufman’s article had to offer. Continue reading
When I originally applied to Bucknell it was through the biology program. I grew up with a mom that worked as a nurse and a dad that worked with pharmaceutical companies, so I always heard a lot about healthcare. One of the studies that my dad frequently talked about was stem cell research. He would always say how amazing it was, and how many lives it could save, but I did not know the extent of this or about the ethical dilemmas behind it until recently.
For anyone that does not know, stem cells are cells found in organisms that divide and differentiate into specialized cell types. They can self-renew to produce more stem cells as well. These stem cells can be extracted from bone marrow, lipid cells, or blood. By extracting these cells from the donor and inserting them into another person, scientists have found that they can act as a repair system for the body and fight diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Sounds great, right?
Stem cell research has raised ethical, legal, religious, and policy questions. The main reason is the derivation of embryonic stem cells from early human embryos and embryonic germ cells from aborted fetal tissues. Furthermore, the general concept of the potential of generating human organs is another debate.
The following video tells a true success story of stem cells:
On the ABI/INFORM search engine I found a report produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Institute for Civil Society that performed a study to contribute to the public discussion related to stem cell research and its applications. The document, which is 51 pages long, is their study in which they propose recommendations for conducting stem cell research. This report was from 1999, but I figure the history of the debate will be important to take a look at.
One of the recommendations provided by the report was,
“Embryonic stem cells should be obtained from embryos remaining from infertility procedures after the embryo’s progenitors have made a decision that they do not wish to preserve them. This decision should be explicitly renewed prior to securing the progenitors’ consent to use the embryos in ES cell research.”
I thought this recommendation clearly added to the ethical debate surrounding stem cell research, because much of what is up for discussion is the actual process of gaining consent from the donors. This recommendation provides a basis for the process by which a couple should be addressed that is considering embryo donation, consent for research donation, or consent for destruction of the embryos. The report made it clear that only after the couple has definitely decided not to have the child that they should be approached a second time to discuss the use of embryos in ES cell research.
Obviously this is a huge ethical issue today, and there are many more details that I still do not know about stem cell research. I do think, however, that this report gave me the perfect understanding and potential solutions to the dilemma that I would need to write about this ethical dilemma.
One of the topics in this class that I’m particularly interested in is the whole debate about whether or not Wal-Mart is helping or hurting our economy. “The Wal-Mart effect” has come up in a couple of my classes, and while I’ve read some material about the debate, I thought it would be interesting to dig deeper into the subject to see if I could find out more information.
First, I looked at the works cited page from the Wal-Mart case study we read (the one titled “Wal-Mart’s Business Environment”). Two authors, Nancy Cleeland and Abigail Goldman, were referenced several times in the works cited page. Before I performed the cited reference search, I figured it would be useful to Google these two authors to get some background information on them. When I typed in their names, I noticed that Cleeland and Goldman, along with a few other staff members at the LA Times, were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for the staff’s “engrossing examination of the tactics that have made Wal-Mart the largest company in the world with cascading effects across American towns and developing countries.”
After finding out that these two authors had written so much on Wal-Mart, I immediately I knew I was on the right track, and figured I would be able to find a bunch of quality articles dealing with this topic. One in particular, titled “An Empire Build on Bargains Remakes the Working World” looked like it might be helpful to me. Written by Cleeland and Goldman, the article focuses on the impact of Wal-Mart, on a personal level and on a broader level. For some people, like 26-year-old Chastity Ferguson, Wal-Mart is her favorite store because the prices can’t be beat anywhere else. For Ferguson, it’s a no brainer to shop at Wal-Mart since she only makes $400 a week and wants to save as much money as possible wherever she can. However, for others like Kelly Gray, who have lost their job because Wal-Mart has taken business away from the local stores, it is hard not to resent the store.
In a broader sense, Cleeland and Goldman discuss how Wal-Mart both gives and takes away. Although the company has grown tremendously and created jobs all over the world, it has come at a heavy price. By relentlessly cutting prices, Wal-Mart has helped hold down the inflation rate for the country, according to U.S. economists. Consumers are undoubtedly reaping the benefits, but what about the employees and local business owners trying to compete with this competitive business model?
This article is only one of the many written about this particular topic. Using the cited reference search allowed me to find trusted, quality sources that could help me dig deeper into this subject, and I look forward to reading stories from both ends of the spectrum.
For the second paper in our class, I will be focusing on the ethics surrounding false advertising. This issue is concerned with the rights of others compared to the rights of freedom of speech. In deciding how to go about pursuing such a topic, I thought it would be valuable to perform a cited reference search on Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory essay. This article discusses justice and inequality based on entitlement, thus I thought there may be some intriguing essays that reference his work using an entitlement perspective to discuss the ethics of advertising.
I utilized Google Scholar to perform a cited reference search on Nozick’s essay and over 10,000 articles were found. Performing a search within these results for “false advertising,” I discovered 18 articles that cited Nozick’s Entitlement Theory and discussed false advertising. Immediately, I found one article titled “Advertisements, stereotypes, and freedom of expression” that appeared to be exactly what I would want for my topic. Unfortunately, this article could not be obtained with Bucknell’s privileges, so I went back to the results and found another article entitled “The Value of Rights” that also focused on my aforementioned topic. Continue reading
In preparing for this weeks blog post, I decided to dig back in our archives to a post from one of our first weeks of the semester. Instead of researching a particular ethical theory we covered, I choose to look back at the prompt that asked us to find a fun and or interesting fact about one of our big thinkers. In my post, John Stuart Mils & Feminism, I discuss that although we usually associate JS Mills with his concept of utilitarianism, he actually was one of the earliest proponents of feminism and women’s rights. In his 1869 essay, The Subjection of Women, Mills stresses that the union between a man and a woman should be equal and that parity should be recognized within the home and in social settings. Mill’s support of women’s rights ultimately correlated with his ideas of utilitarianism, which preach that, “the best actions and policies are defined as those that promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people” (ABC-CLIO, 2012).
Despite the fact that I believe I wrote a pretty solid description of his points, I failed to really include those critics of his ideas. Although I do present how some of his ideas did not complement his general assertion of equality, I wanted to explore this point further. Therefore, I turned to Google Scholar to help me gain a better understanding of how other reacted to his writings.
In my search, I found an article entitled Martial Slavery and Friendship by Mary Lyndon Shanley. Unfortunately, I could not get access to the entire essay (I would have had to have paid nineteen dollars for it), but the preview provided me with a brief but straightforward synopsis of her intentions. When I initially researched Mills and feminism, most historians and scholars praised the philosopher for his belief in equality because for the time, they were radical statements. To support a woman’s progress within society, her desire to break from the shackles of domesticity and have equal opportunity in the public and private spheres was atypical for the era. When Shanley first presents is that, “Some contemporary feminist have denigrated the work, questioning the efficacy of merely striking down legal barriers against women as the way to establish equality between the sexes.” These critics go further to say that Mills does not extend his critique of inequality to within the home itself, that being the division of labor in the private sphere and how most women should choose marriage as a career.
What Shanley argues, which I did not initially conclude from my original research, is that The Subjection of Women was not just about asserting equality between men and women. Rather, it was about the corruption of the male-female relationship and the intent of creating a solid friendship through marriage. Furthermore, this friendship created through marriage was the essential tool to the progression of human society.
Often times, when I research or analyze feminist ideals, I often am blinded and rarely see the other side. Reading the article above allowed me to realize that when I’m doing research, I need to include all sides of the material. My blog posts would have been well rounded if I had included the other side to the point I was presenting. Using a cited reference search enabled me to come to this realization, as well as find materials I could use in my future endeavors.
I chose to explore Edwin Hartman’s article “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations” for this week’s cited reference search blog post. Just to recap, the article discusses Donaldson’s belief that certain fundamental human rights generate correlative duties for the corporation, including 1) the duty to avoid depriving people of their rights, 2) the duty to help protect people from such deprivation, and 3) the duty to aid those who are deprived. Hartman introduces a fourth category of duty to the list, which he refers to as the duty to avoid helping to deprive. He argues that the corporation is not obligated to contribute to protecting anyone from deprivation, but it needs to make sure that no action it takes helps the depriver succeed in depriving.
Since the article was published in 1991, I thought that it would be interesting to see what other publications have cited it since then. Using Google Scholar, I found that Hartman’s original article had only been cited by 3 other publications.
The one I chose to examine more closely is “La responsabilidad moral de la empresa. Una revisión de la teoría de Stakeholder desde la ética discursiva”/”The moral responsibility of the business. A review of the Stakeholder theory from discursive ethics”. It is a doctoral thesis presented by Elsa González Esteban and directed by Dr. Domingo Garcia-Marza of the Universitat Jaume I de Castellón. It was published in 2011, so it is rather recent information. In total, it has 576 pages and it is written in Spanish. Continue reading
For the blog posting this week I chose to use a “piece of knowledge” on Freeman. An optional reading for our session 4 class back in February was Edward Freeman’s Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation. Ever since taking Management 101 the concept of stakeholders has interested me: how to identify who is a stakeholder, are their various levels, how does one encapsulate the needs of stakeholders and somehow make that align or fit within what the mission of the overall corporation is, etc.
I searched Stakeholder Theory and Freeman within the Web of Knowledge database. Since Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation itself is within another piece of work, I browsed around a bit, checking out other pieces of work by Freeman regarding stakeholder theory. I spent some time searched within those for different terms, such as Wal-Mart, but did not come up with many results nor any I was particularly interested in. I eventually narrowed my focus onto Stakeholder Theory and “the corporate objective revisited” . This has been cited 76 times within the Web of Knowledge database! In settling on this document, I began sifting through the 76 items cited; I wasn’t really thrilled with this set of resources either. I eventually found an article that, from it’s abstract at least, appeared really interesting: Social Sustainability in Selecting Emerging Economy Suppliers by M. Ehrgott, F. Reimann, L. Kaufmann, and C.R. Carter. The source of the article is Journal of Business Ethics. I did a cited reference search on this article as well, but it has only been cited 3 times within Web of Knowledge.
The abstract provides great insight into what the study was about Continue reading
Milton Freidman’s article regarding the corporation’s social responsibility has been the most intriguing article I’ve read in this class all semester. I agree with it on many levels, but also keep finding good arguments against it, as we have discussed in class. I decided to dig a little deeper on Google Scholar, seeing which articles, specifically about sports, had cited Friedman. 367 articles had popped up as articles about or including sports that had also cited Freidman, but many past the first page only mentioned sports in passing and was not going to be useful. The second article that was listed was unavailable to view, so I clicked on a link that gave me related articles. After browsing for a few minutes, I came upon an article from the Journal of Business Ethics published by Hela Sheth and Kathy Babiak, called “Beyond the Game: Perceptions and Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Professional Sport Industry.” This was perfect, and it even cited both Friedman and Freeman. Continue reading
As I was constructing a list of business groups and associations for our research projects, I was looking at the US Chamber of Commerce’s website. The USCOC is almost always supportive of right-wing or Republican policies. I wanted to see what they had published or even researched about poverty for a student’s white paper argument draft.
Their search engine, ironically, asked me if I meant “property” instead of “poverty.”
Cited Reference Searches.
As Brody explained, the works cited of an article, case or book is a view BACKWARDS in time to what the author used.
A cited ref search is a look FORWARD. It can be a very powerful and targeted search based on what you know is a good source. The idea is to look at a piece of knowledge and see, from its point of publication, FORWARD, who else cited it.
Several tools can do this. All are reachable here at the LIT page for management.
ABI/INFORM is one.
Google Scholar is another.
Web of Knowledge is the third, and perhaps the most sophisticated.
The differences are primarily around which databases it searches for references. The second is the presence of BOOKS. Only Google Scholar does books.
FOR NEXT WEEK,
1) Take a “piece of knowledge” we have used or referenced and
2) Do a cited reference search on it to find a
3) New item that is useful to you.
4) Briefly describe the new item. Continue reading
It was an interesting point in time, that was for sure. South Africa was, quite literally, the midpoint of our voyage. My itinerary for last spring’s Semester at Sea voyage had us sail from the Bahamas, south to Brazil and up the Amazon River 600 miles, then back out and over to Ghana, before coming down to the southernmost tip of Africa, where I found myself a little over a year ago today. Everything about South Africa screamed different. It is (arguably but commonly viewed) the “most European” of the African countries, and I know after the culture shocks of Dominica, Brazil, and Ghana, we needed some comfort.
I remember that at the time, I was just ready to tackle another country. I had heard from SAS alumni that South Africa was one of the more fun ports, lots to see and do, plus it had a relatively familiar party scene. Certainly, it was safer than the middle of the Amazon rainforest. And it was supposed to be gorgeous. I had big plans and new best friends. Looking back, I realize now that it was the tipping point for when I really became a global traveler. South Africa was just familiar enough to help me realize how much I had already grown, yet just different enough to give me a sweet taste of something new. But after we left South Africa, it was onwards to India and another five countries across Asia – we could no longer hide from the culture shock. We were told to appreciate the familiarities of South Africa, because after we left, we’d be on our own. Continue reading
Some of my greatest memories come from the three weeks that I spent in South Africa. I was offered this wonderful opportunity my freshman year in high school. There were about 20 kids, freshmen to juniors, who were chosen to go during the first weeks of summer. The trip took a great deal of planning and fundraising before we even left for South Africa. We had a shoe and clothing drive, book drive, numerous bake sales and car washes, auctions, and many other fundraisers to raise money.
We planned on focusing on two different causes. First, we were going to visit a secondary school called Saint Brendan’s School. After a week and a half there, spent tutoring and doing manual labor, we decided to go to Kliptown, a township of Soweto. There, we would stay at a nearby hotel, and help around the town and in a youth center. Finally, we also planned on doing a safari for a day between travelling from St. Brandan’s to Kliptown, and spending a couple of days in Johannesburg before we left.
Finally arriving at Saint Brendan’s after so much planning and traveling was an amazing feeling. The first morning, there was an assembly, where the roughly 600 students welcomed us. Over the next week and a half, we spent time tutoring the kids (classes are taught in English there, so it was easy to communicate), re-painting a wall, doing yard work, organizing the library, and many other tasks. We all built strong bonds with the students there, and many of us kept in contact with kids long after we left. This was an uplifting experience, and even though there has to be a lot of progress in the area surrounding the school, I left St. Brendan’s with hope. It was so much easier to handle than what I was about to see in Kliptown.
Growing up, my mother has taken me with her on business trips around the world, but one place I have never been and would love to visit is Africa. I have studied Africa in school and heard stories from friends about how different it is from the US. Some people already talked about South Africa and I would love to go there some day, especially because of all the history associated with it. Ghana is another country in Africa that I would love to visit someday. One of my friends studied abroad there and looking through her pictures and talking about her experiences really made me want to travel there. I actually do not know much about Ghana except that it is located on the western coast of Africa and it was controlled by the British until the late 1950s. It was also named the Gold Coast by the Europeans due to its gold resources and more recently it is known to be part of the Ivory Coast.