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Standing On Our Own Two Feet


I have noticed that our generation has been deemed “spoiled” by more and more older generations and this is very alarming. If I can pinpoint one value that has led me to the success I have had in life thus far it is that of independence. I believe that all of us can truly benefit from taking greater strides of independence and better applying a “do it yourself” attitude. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should completely break free of our parents as this would not be beneficial. However, I am saying that we, our generation in particular, would absolutely benefit from fending for ourselves. I am a firm believer that this type of attitude leads to overall success in life as well as teaching life lessons. I have made it a habit since the closing years of high school to not relay on my parents for simple amenities such as cash but also scheduling housing, contacting administration, acquiring jobs/internships, etc. 

Overall, I would like our generation to have a serious makeover in terms of trying to break free from our parentals or authority figure and take the initiative to do things on our own. This sort of attitude will work to benefit our generation and generations to come as a work hard attitude of the 1950’s can be reinstated and erase the notions of a spoiled generation. 

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Turning Student Debt Into Opportunity


A college education is expensive.  And necessary for many careers.

Many students, facing faster-than-inflation cost increases and sluggish growth in government loans, take on more and more private debt to finance their education.  The average debt per borrower is now over $25,000 across all types of institutions, up from $19,000 ten years ago.  65% of students who entered Bachelor’s level-granting schools in 2008 graduated with debt.

Those indebted students forgo many of the choices and benefits of a broad education due to an obsession with “will it pay off” thinking.

Meanwhile, too many graduating students focus only on jobs with the highest salary for them to pay off their debts rather than careers that they are passionate about or that we need more of.  For example, there are dire shortages of nurses and teachers.  Many young entrepreneurs are unable to start a business due to debt obligations.

Three problems: 1) excessive debt; 2) obsession with “jobs” while choosing college courses; 3) misallocation of human capital into society’s labor needs.

One solution: student debt repayment should be based on ability to pay instead of absolute amount.

Pay what you can, not what you owe.

How would it work?  All qualified college loans would be repaid using a sliding scale formula.  If you make less than a threshold, depending on your family size, you pay nothing.  Once you are above the threshold (maybe 150% of poverty level), then you pay 10-15% of your income to your debts with a hard cap of around 20%.  Currently, the Obama administration started this for federal grants.  However, the private, for-profit sector still dominates.  Pay what you can plans should cover ALL loans.   Whatever losses it incurs can be absorbed by the federal government.  The upside will be more people finishing college, better educational choices while in college, better job fit after graduation, and all the economic and social benefits of these improvements.

Successful Value Chain Management


Onslaught of Green

Consumers are finding it more and more challenging to differentiate goods and services that are advertised as environmentally friendly. According to a 2010 study by TerraChoice, an independent testing and certification organization, there are 73% more green products on the market today than in 2009.1They also revealed that roughly 95% of green products are being greenwashed to some degree (based on their seven sins of greenwashing).1 While this study focused on home and family products, the purchasing power of greenwashing is evident across many industries. Greenwashing can be defined as the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.2 Additionally, Wikipedia defines green washing as a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote the perception that an organization’s policies or products are environmentally friendly.3,4 While most organizations do not outright greenwash, any exaggerated behavior is inappropriate: greenwashing is “an extremely serious matter…it is insidious, eroding consumer trust, contaminating the credibility of all sustainability-related marketing and hence inhibiting progress toward a sustainable economy,” stated in a report by Ogilvy & Mather, a huge advertising firm.5 The Federal Trade Commission does provide guidelines for environmental marketing claims, but these are not enforceable.6,7 It has been the responsibility of corporations to not jump on the green public image bandwagon, spend resources on environmentally sound practices, and inform the public about the truthful environmental impacts of buying and using their products.

Fundamentals

A helpful document for corporations is Ogilvy’s guide on brand management: “From Greenwash to Great: A Practical Guide to Great Green Marketing (without the Greenwash).” The guide presents a framework that speaks to an honest green story starting from inside the company, not from a marketing idea that is created and spun for consumers.8 A company that has started in an honest place is Levi Strauss & Co. The company was founded in San Francisco, California in 1853 and created the very first pair of blue jeans in 1873.9 The Levi’s brand has become one of the most widely recognized brands, positioned as the original and authentic jeans brand. It’s merchandising and marketing seeks to reflect the brand’s core attributes: original, definitive, honest, confident, and youthful. It is obvious the company is proud of its history and heritage: “People have worn our products during the seminal moments of social change over the past 150 years.”10 The company has a long lineage of corporate social responsibility: shorter work weeks were implemented to mitigate the massive lay-offs happening during the Great Depression; factories were racially integrated prior to the Civil Rights Act; was one of the first companies to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as remaining committed to the pandemic; established a set of Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines; and joined the Federal Labor Association (FLA) efforts to improve working conditions around the globe.11,12,13 According to Ogilvy’s brand management guide, environmental improvements and benefits need to be measurable, verified and significant to the product’s real footprint.14 Beyond their corporate social responsibility, Levi’s is considered a pioneer in sustainability, making efforts to minimize their environmental footprint in all levels of their operations. Continue reading

The Cost of Safety: Ethics and the Airline Industry


INTRODUCTION

Today, regional airline carriers account for more than half of all domestic flights in the United States, as major airlines have been outsourcing more of their flights.  According to the U.S. government Accountability Office, the regional airlines are responsible for the last six fatal commercial airline accidents (Dillingham).  Thus, their business operations, especially with respect to safety standards, implicate a variety of ethical dimensions and perspectives.

THE STORY OF THE REGIONAL CARRIERS IN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY

Over the past thirty years, a major transformation has been occurring in the United States airline industry.  It began in the late 1970s when the U.S. government deregulated the airline industry, which inevitably led to increased competition among the major airlines to offer lower airfares (Cunningham, et al).   In response, the airline companies created the regional industry and developed a new business operating strategy called the hub and spoke model as a way of lowering costs.  Basically, the major airlines created central hubs in large cities or metropolitan areas and began relying on small regional carriers or commuters to feed their domestic network system (Wei & Yanji).  (See Appendix A) Continue reading

Employers Creative Use of Facebook


Social media and social networking sites are becoming more and more popular in today’s world as a means of communication and marketing. The most used social media site that has emerged is Facebook which is used by all groups of society. Approximately 45% of employers (who the exact employers are is inaccessible due to confidentiality issues) are using Facebook as a means for screening potential job applicants (Rosen). Employers have recently started asking candidates for their username and passwords as part of the job hiring process (Castillo). If candidates say no, they are immediately eliminated from the job pool which is detrimental in a time when unemployment rates are relatively high. The process of employers viewing candidate’s profiles and now even requesting their user name and password has brought up ethical and legal questions concerning privacy rights. While employers “believe they have the right to obtain as much information as possible about applicants” by using social networking sites, many others feel it is an invasion of privacy (Byrnside, 458). The legality of the issue is being explored in the courts but the ethics of the employer is still in question. By utilizing Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory to understand the ethical issues that stem from this dilemma, I feel as though the employers are not entitled to access candidate’s Facebook profiles. Continue reading

Stakeholder Pressure Keeping You Up At Night?


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

A Family That Slays Together Stays Together


This week for the TV blog post prompt, I chose one of my favorite shows: Criminal Minds. It airs on CBS every Wednesday night at 9, and is currently in season 7. The show is made up of an elite group known as a subsection of the FBI: Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Sometimes referred to as the unit, the members include Rossi, Morgan, Garcia (computer whiz), Dr. Reid, JJ (communications), Prentiss and Hotch (head of team). Their base is located in Quantico, Virginia, but the unit is constantly called in by police departments and other agencies around the country to assist in crimes. These crimes the unit is called in to help solve typically have many layers and are extremely or disturbing cases. When the BAU is handed a new case, much of their job revolves around profiling and victimology. By piecing together the basic characteristics of the assailant(s) and analyzing them, the team can work in an effort to anticipate the next moves, and hopefully catch the unsub (unidentified subject) before it’s too late.

This past weeks’ episode is titled “A Family Affair.”  The Unit travels to Atlanta to investigate a string of murders. The victims have been prostitutes in the area who are stabbed to death in the same fashion. The Unit is called in because the frequency of these attacks continues to mount. The episode tells the story of dysfunctional family, the Collins. The Mother has been using pills, the Dad an alcoholic. They have one son, Jeffrey. Some years ago, there was a car accident. The Dad was drunk behind the wheel, the Mother in the front seat and Jeffrey in the back. Jeffrey is wheelchair-bound due to the accident, but blames his mother for what happened to him. Preview: criminal_minds_preview_a_family_affair_season_7_episode_16 Continue reading

Feeney Finds Out


The TV episode I chose to examine from a business, government, and society perspective is from the show Boy Meets World.  I am sure many of you are familiar with the sitcom comedy-drama, as it aired for seven seasons on ABC from 1993 through 2000, but for those of you who aren’t, I will sum it up.  Basically, the show chronicles the experiences and everyday life lessons in the world of Cory Matthews, your typical teenage boy from Philadelphia as he grows up from a young boy, through middle school, high school, college, and later married life.

Continue reading

A Jet Stream of Bullshit


If you’ve never seen the show Curb Your Enthusiasm before, you are missing out. This show stars Larry David, creator of Seinfeld, who plays himself in the most ridiculous situations. Larry always seems to find himself in some sort of predicament and attempts to talk his way out of it. I chose what I think is one of the funniest episodes out of all of the nine seasons, “The Weatherman” to talk about for the blog; Some issues that pop up are Larry’s plaque, the idea of rolling up a sleeve and ruining the elasticity of a shirt, and peeing sitting down and falling in the toilet (this is why he walks with a cane in the video clip). Of all the episodes, one of the most ridiculous theories he comes up with is that the weatherman predicts rain to get everyone off the golf course, in order to clear it for himself. You can watch a short clip of the episode here:

The Weatherman

The issue at hand is that Larry and his friend Jeff planned on going golfing, but Jeff cancels because of the weatherman’s report about thunderstorms. When Larry wakes up he sees that it is actually a beautiful day outside, and concludes that the weatherman predicted rain on purpose. Larry goes to the golf course and finds the weatherman playing golf, where Larry claims, “There is a jet stream of bullshit coming out of your mouth!”

While I realize that this is a very particular scenario in a comedic TV show, I think the general issue can be related to our class. This is a question of whether the weatherman’s report was honest, or if he deceived the public by giving a false report in order to gain something for himself. Is it ethical either way? I believe this raises the issue the rarity of honest business practices today.

Continue reading

Sluts and Feminism


You probably know all about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, and the media storm over his description of her as a “slut.”  Google it if you want.

Meanwhile, talking with my wife and her mother, I got on my soap box about this Bucknellian article about “Protection from Sexual Assault.”  Look, I am sure the author, Sarah Morris, is being practical and trying to be helpful.  Still, my reaction was that this is simply an update of the attitude that if women are sexually abused or misused, it is their fault. Like the recent comment in the media that in the old days, women’s I mean girl’s contraception was “an aspirin between the knees.”  Google it. Where are men individually or “manhood” as a category in her analysis?

My self-described feminist relations both said I was over reacting and that it just made sense, the article.

Fine.  I still think it is messed up that whatever amount of sexuality a women (or man) adopts somehow becomes sufficient for her to reasonably EXPECT to be coerced. I tried to rile them up by saying they are no better than the infamous women on rape jury trials who are MORE likely than men to say “she had it coming.” Look, women often enforce these gender stereotypes.  Ask most straight men: we could care less about 95% of make-up, clothes, and body type.  We are usually very simple creatures.

So, this morning, in regards the Sandra Fluke-Rush Limbaugh news, my ma-in-law sends me this article from Slate that had the argument that some activists want to reclaim slut as their own term so that they can have “sexuality without judgement.”

She said I was “ahead of the curve.”  Natch.  Score one for me.

¡Apréndete idiomas nuevos!


One thing you may not know about me is my passion for the Spanish language. I have taken Spanish courses since I was in eighth grade, and it is my second major here at Bucknell. Last spring I studied abroad in Granada, Spain, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. One of the things that attracted me to the Spanish language was how widely used it is, especially in the United States. In fact, Spanish is the second most used language in the U.S, and there are more Spanish speakers in the U.S. then there are speakers of Chinese, French, German, and Italian combined. I always thought that knowing a second language would be helpful, and I even considered learning Chinese (I’m pretty sure manicurists  talk about me the whole time I get my nails done- how cool would it be to know what they are saying?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This picture shows the percentage of people in each of the states that speak Spanish)

 

Going abroad was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have never felt so insignificant as I did when going to all of those amazing cities of cultural and historical importance. It is crazy to think about all of the different cultures there are in the world and how they are so drastically different from one another. Take Granada, for example. My host sister went to work at 9 am every morning and returned at 3 pm for lunch (the biggest meal of the day) and a siesta (nap) right afterwards. This is not to say that every working person has this same luxury, but I found it fascinating how slow the pace was in relation to the morning “rush hour” here in the U.S. It often bothered me how slow everything was there, but I learned that it is this way because Spanish people actually take the time to appreciate every encounter they have much more so than we do in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(La hermosa Alhambra de Granada)

Continue reading

Just Do – What?


I was a naïve freshman taking a multi-cultural literature class that was a bit over my head at the time. This wasn’t high school anymore. The books weren’t on SparkNotes. We read a book a week and one in particular sparked my interest – Sons and Other Flammable Objects written by Porochista Khakpour. I was absolutely mesmerized by it. Framed around the time of 9/11, the novel is about a cataclysmic fallout between an Iranian father and his Iranian-American son. Porochista herself is an Iranian immigrant who grew up in Los Angeles, and she often writes Op-Eds in the New York Times and short stories that deal with the identity crisis that is often associated with having a hyphenated name. What drew me into this piece wasn’t so much the plot, but more her masterful use of language.

I was pleasantly surprised when my English professor told us to prepare questions we had about the novel because Porochista was going to come to our class and answer them. My surprise heightened to mild obsession after I got to hear a reading by this author and interact with her in the classroom. She was young, edgy, and a mix of dark and hilarious. When I learned that Porochista herself was a visiting professor of creative writing on Bucknell’s campus, I had to get into her class. I did. And after about an hour in her workshop, I decided to minor in creative writing – something I now consider one of my deepest passions.

So there’s my saga. Now you might be wondering – how is Beth going to tie this into what Jordi wants us to talk about? Well here goes nothing. Continue reading

Like to travel? Wanderfly.


After skimming through many successful young entrepreneurs, Christy Liu caught my eye. According to Fast Company, Liu is one of eleven that is a part of the change generation. Liu is a cofounder of the travel site Wanderfly (check it out!). Traveling is something that I wished I had the time and money to do more often. After checking out the site, I was immediately interested in knowing more since the site offered me ways to budget the future traveling that I want to do.

Wanderfly is designed to plan travel for people that are on a budget. The site is very simple and organized, unlike many of its competitors, and allows a user to find a trip that meets many of their requirements. The user of the site will fill in where they want to leave from, where they want to go, what interests them (landmarks, nightlife, luxury, adventure, entertainment, family, watersports, eco, romance, shopping, outdoors, islands, beach, singles, history, food, art, and extreme), their budget per person, when they want to travel, and for how many days. After filling in their information, the traveler will be presented with multiple trip options. Each option includes a description of the place, pictures, things to do there, and hotels and flights that can be booked immediately. Continue reading

I Heart WordPress


I was on blogger for my own interests as far back as 2004.  And then by about 2008 or so, I started thinking about blogs in the context of teaching and writing.  I can’t remember how I found WordPress.com, but in those “dark ages” of social media, it was a life line.  See, Bucknell did not offer any good tools.  I was told that “Blackboard has a blog tool.” (Now, having nothing to do with me, Bucknell uses the open-source version, wordpres.org).

But I had seen what a good blog can do, both in function and design, and I knew that a tool embedded on a cookie-cutter course management system would not do.  It would be like telling students in a driver’s ed class, “we will drive real cars!” and then the first day they show up and see this:

WordPress.com was what I wanted:

  • Simple to start to use
  • Flexible
  • Good-looking
  • Plenty of ways to make more sophisticated
  • Has a “good vibe.”

So, I started using them.  Now, I know anything “free” is not, really.  If it is free, usually you can count on the fact that YOU are the product (Facebook anyone?  Traditional broadcast TV?).  Still, wordpress.com’s revenue model kicks in when you use lots of memory or buy a domain (like myname.com).  So, for me, for class, it was great product at zero cost.

So, what kind and kewl nerds made this gift from the cyber-heaven for me?

Automattic. Continue reading

Extra Resources on Enron, AIG


Planet Money Podcast where CDS are “invented” by JP Morgan, complete with fru-fru cocktails.  Newsweek article on same topic.

Fool’s Gold book.

History Timeline of Credit Defaults

More Enron Resources (on Pearltrees, an online sharing tool).

Even More (Kept on Diigo, a tool I used more and has more stuff, both good and random).

Enron, “Asshole,” and Research Process


“You appreciate it?” was Richard Grubman’s response to Jeff Skilling dodging his persistent questions about the financial health of Enron on April 17, 2001.

Next, Skilling called him an “asshole” on a conference call with investment managers and analysts. I had heard about this infamous and perhaps symptomatic of the problems with Enron moment for years.  I decided to see if I could actually hear it.

  1. First, I’ll say something about that the conversation.
  2. Then, I’ll discuss research process. Continue reading

Truth and Lies around the Pink Ribbons


As most of us know, the Susan G. Komen (who was she, by the way?) stepped into a maelstrom of a media and managerial controversy over it’s initial decision to amend its granting procedures in a way that would have ended its funding to Planned Parenthood and then its reversal of that decision.

In one of my favorite blogs by a management scholar, Authentic Organizations, CV Harquil takes the decision and how it was handled to enumerate a very good list of reasons that lying is a bad idea.  I mean, aside from what our Moms and Teachers told us.  Its worth a read.  Among them, my favorite is that lying insults the intelligence of your audiences or stakeholders. One side issue in my mind is whether managers or others speaking in public, like Skilling and others with Enron, think they are lying.  Or, do they really believe that politics had nothing to do with  defunding planned parenthood or that their company is financially healthy. Continue reading

BLOG INSTRUCTIONS

Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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